story of Tidewater Workshop begins around 1905 in a small shop along
the Inlet in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Our great-grandfather, A. Carl Adams, after a brief apprenticeship,
established Modern Boat Works and quickly
gained a reputation for outstanding naval design and unparalleled
craftsmanship. For most of the 20th century, four generations of
Adams designed, built and repaired cedar hulled skiffs, sport fishing
boats and yachts, as well as the infamous rumrunners used during
Prohibition. Frustrated by the powerful engines and aerodynamic
design of the Adams rumrunners, the Coast Guard finally persuaded
Modern Boat Works to design and build Coast Guard chasers that were
capable of overtaking the daredevil rumrunners. Luminaries from
the sports and entertainment world also commissioned the Adams to
build custom boats- baseball legend Babe Ruth often fished on the
Gypsy Queen off Marathon, FL.
Shortly after the outbreak of World War II, Carl Adams and our grandfather,
Alvin, were sent by President Roosevelt to the Cambridge, Maryland
Shipyards, to serve as Superintendent and Master Shipbuilder, respectively.
As a longtime contract boatbuilder for the U.S. Government, our
ancestors were well known to the President and he put them in charge
of one of the most important wartime projects- construction of Army
Aircraft Rescue ships- which were used to rescue downed American
and Allied Pilots and their crews.
During the War, the coastlines were darkened to obscure the shoreline
from potential enemy bombers. Unfortunately, this also created a
disorienting effect on Allied aircraft on patrol, often causing
Allied pilots to crash on approach. The Army Aircraft Rescue cruisers
were equipped with swift diesels and powerful winches, enabling
them to quickly reach the fallen crew and hoist (and salvage) the
At the end of the War, Carl and Alvin returned to Atlantic City.
With Carl’s daughter Vivian taking over the office and Alvin’s son
David joining the operation in 1955, construction began on Modern
Boat Works first real production boat - the 24 foot Jersey
The Adams Jersey skiff, also built to 21 foot, 26 foot and
30 foot lengths, became the model for many of the boat manufacturers
of the day. Our family members were close contemporaries of the
founders of Post Marine and Pacemaker (Egg Harbor) Yachts. The Adams’
modifications on oak ribbed, cedar lapstrake hulls and on long leaf
yellow pine aprons and keels were widely adapted. Peter Adams Caporilli
began his apprenticeship literally under David Adams in 1973, holding
an iron cylinder under each rivet on the underside of the boat hull,
“bucking-up” to provide backing while David, topside, drove a round
copper washer (burr) over the exposed nail, clinched off and then
peened the excess nail end.
By the mid-1980s the last of the wooden boat business had
begun to fade away for all but the purists, but a renaissance in
gardening and wood outdoor furnishings was just beginning. We decided
to put nearly a century’s worth of accumulated wisdom and passion
for wood craftsmanship to use in the manufacture of classically
styled wood garden and outdoor furnishings. Many of the same
employees and suppliers from the old Boat Works were reenergized
and with great enthusiasm we launched Tidewater Workshop.
For more than 30 years, we have been the international
best-selling marketer and manufacturer of wood outdoor furnishings.
The continuity between old and new is felt strongly here at Tidewater
Workshop, and can be seen in the faces, heard in the voices, and
experienced in the product we all join hands to proudly produce.
Please also see: Why You Should Do Business