View Full Version : H. A. Calahan

Alan D. Hyde
05-25-2001, 09:30 AM
Discussion of rot (in a chair) in another thread made me think of vintage "Yachting" magazine columnist H. A. Calahan and his "Calignum" product.

And of course, "Chilled Varnish."

Never used either, but saw them advertised plenty. Any good stories about these products, or about Calahan himself?


Ian McColgin
05-25-2001, 11:51 AM
Used the chilled as a kid. Great fun.

I still have the copy of "Yachtsman's Ommnibus" which Mother won when she way young and which I now have. Mother considers Calahan the last word in all things sailing, but then she still thinks that the stem christie was the finest development in skiing. She does ride astride.

Mike Field
05-25-2001, 09:50 PM
Here's a story about Calahan, by himself, from the Foreword to "Rigging," published by Macmillan in 1940.

He mentions how a reviewer had earlier referred to him as "prolific."

His excuse was that he had promised himself to write ten books on sailing in ten years. Having got as far as "Rigging," he'd then completed eight of the ten, so I suppose "prolific" was not an unreasonable epithet.

He also makes no apology for repeating himself a bit along the way.

Whether he completed the whole ten I'm not sure, but he wrote at least nine that I'm aware of -- or ten if you include one in conjunction with another writer.


Another "prolific" writer about sailing who comes to my mind is Francis Cooke, a couple of decades earlier. I'm not quite sure how many books he wrote, but it must have been at least six or seven.

Cooke also repeats himself along the way -- unfortunately quite blatantly at times, by copying whole slabs of text verbatim from earlier books (and even including the same illustrations.) I always thought that was cheating, but I suppose he thought that, being on to a good thing, he'd better stick to it....

06-11-2001, 04:34 PM
I didn't know "Dirty Harry" was into boats.

07-06-2001, 10:09 AM
Used to use both their "chilled" and "chiltered" varnish. Was disappointed when they stopped making it in the early '80's.

07-07-2001, 07:47 PM
Regarding Calahan's output: my copy of the "Yachtsman's Omnibus" (7th printing, 1964) lists 10 books, the last of which is called "Hurrah's Nest". This post really took me back, as I hadn't blown the dust off this volume in 30 years.