When the David B was first built in 1929, it was built with a three-cylinder Washington Iron Works engine. One wonders if the people who made the David B’s engine would have guessed that it would still be powering the boat today. We like to think of the Washington as working art. When you climb down the ladder into the engine room you feel as though you have stepped back in time. The engine stands about six-feet tall and from flywheel to reverse gear the engine measures almost twelve feet long. Each of the Washington’s three cylinders sit inline with rocker arms and tappets exposed. On the David B’s engine, you can trace with your fingers fuel and oil lines. When it’s running you can watch the intake and exhaust valve spring compress and release. The Washington has a unique sound that draws attention. Most times when the David B comes to a dock people stop to listen to the one-two-three waltz of the cylinders firing. People often shout out to us that it sounds like the African Queen from the Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn movie.

Engine Particulars:

Built By: Washington Iron Works – Seattle, Washington
Built For: the M/V David B owned by Libby, McNeill & Libby
Engine Number: 7202
Date Ordered: January 9, 1929
Date Delivered: March 30, 1929
Rated Horsepower: 100
Number of Cylinders: 3
Bore and Stroke: 10 x 12 1/2
Reverse Gear:Yes
Fuel: Diesel
Starting: Air


Listen to the David B’s starting:


Several years ago the David B was part of a workboat show that was held for the last remaining boats with Washington Iron Works engines. The audio clip below is a fun “Symphony” of engines, horns and whistles.

Download the David B ringtone

Contact us to experience the David B and its Washington Iron Works Engine for yourself!