In 1914 W.J. Johnston Jr. (Young Billy), while working as manager of his Uncle’s Port Sandfield Rowboat Livery, was introduced to the concept of the disappearing propeller by a local engineer. Young Billy saw how the idea could be used in a rowboat with a newly available, light weight, gasoline engine. The critical “Device” allowed the propeller to be cranked up into a housing in the bottom of the boat out of danger from rocks or deadheads.
In 1915 the first Disappearing Propeller Boat was constructed in Uncle Billy’s boat shop in Port Carling. The boat was promoted as “The greatest little motor boat afloat”. The little boat commonly known as Dispro or Dippy attracted investors in a new corporation and by 1920 they were selling quickly from Sales Offices in Toronto and Buffalo for $325.00 f.o.b. Port Carling. Dippys were shipped to England, Ireland, France and Brazil.