Stetson and Pinkham sits on quiet Route 32, just past the tiny settlement of Winslow Mills in Waldoboro. In one of the sturdy buildings on the site is a remarkable museum of outboard motors and related tools and artifacts, the product of Lincoln Davis’s abiding interest in small boat engines.
When he was a young man in the early 1960s Davis began hanging around the business Irvin Pinkham started in 1958. Davis had an old Mercury Mark 20 and to get it up and running, he needed parts. Pinkham took notice of Davis’s presence around the shop and soon gave him a job. It turned out that Davis had a natural flair for engines so Pinkham decided to send him to Mercury outboard mechanic school in Rhode Island. It was the 1960s, however, and before Davis could start work with Pinkham, he was drafted into the Vietnam War. After returning to Maine some years later, he attended the University of Maine. When Davis graduated he learned that Pinkham had put his company up for sale. In 1974, Davis bought it.
Starting a museum of outboard engines wasn’t the first thing on the new owner’s mind. One day, however, he was looking through a pile of old parts and scrap behind the buildings when he noticed a handle of an outboard buried within it. It was a corroded and battered 1927 Johnson K-35. With help from his father, Davis painstakingly brought the engine back to life. That was the beginning of a passion.
Over the years Davis built up the business and also his collection. In addition to running the company, he taught at the WoodenBoat School in Brooklin and at Mercury Marine’s Northeast certification and recertification program. He gained the title of “Boat Doctor” in Professional BoatBuilder magazine in 2005.
Old outboards as well as old boats themselves migrated to the shop. Eventually Davis arranged his four decades of engines and other material in a room next to the company’s office. In 2016, he opened the museum, which includes an old mechanic’s tool bench with vintage tools and an eye-dazzling array of old Mercury, Johnson, Evinrude, Champion, Chris-Craft and other motors.
Davis’s interest is not so much the engine but how it shows the changes that were taking place in outboard technology at the time. Time and tinkering led the manufacturers to better designs and more efficient motors, which are showcased in his extensive collection.
The Outboard Engine Museum is open when Stetson and Pinkham is open, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., year round. You can watch videos of Davis and the museum online at https://stetsonandpinkham.com/videos/.