1st US Revenue Cutter

History of the Massachusetts

The history of the US Coast Guard goes back more than two centuries. On April 23, 1790, Alexander Hamilton (known as the father of the Coast Guard) presented Congress with a bill calling for the establishment of the United States Revenue Marine Service. His bill requested an initial fleet of ten small cutters to protect the trade revenue and prevent smuggling.


The ten cutters were to be 36' to 40' long in keel, each having one captain, one lieutenant and six mariners and armed with swivels. The ten cutters were to patrol the coast from Massachusetts (which included Maine at that time) to Georgia. Two for the coast of Massachusetts and New Hampshire (Massachusetts and Scammel); one for Long Island Sound (Argus); one for New York (Viglant); one for the Bay of Deleware (General Green); two for the Chesapeake (Active and Virginia); one for North Carolina (Diligence); one for South Carolina (South Carolina); and one for Georgia (Eagle). The first revenue cutter to be built was the Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts was built by William Searle in Newburyport, Massachusetts, and launched into the Merrimack River on July 23, 1791. Although Congress only approved $1000 for the cost of each cutter the Massachusetts final approved cost was $1440.

As completed, she measured 50' on deck, 17' 8" beam, draft of 7' 3". Her armament was 6 light swivel guns. She was a two masted schooner with deep bulwark, long quarterdeck and a square stern. The Massachusetts was the largest and most heavily armed cutter compared to her nine sister cutters.

Our Model

The Massachusetts hull has been carefully carved from select basswood based on the lines of the original cutter. The hull has white and black topsides with a red bottom. The masts and spars are stained with white trim. The deck has detailed deck house, hatches, windlass, ships boat and 6 swivel guns. The base is mahogany with brass finished nameplates on each side of the name block.

Model Measurements

Length overall



15 1/2"

Width of main yard


How to Order

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