Elco's beginings started with an order for 55 electric launches being awarded to an upstart General Electric Launch and Navigation Company for use at the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago. This was a comptetive and contentious bid whose spec's just said 55 boats capable of carrying 30 passengers each. Two steam powered launches were in the bid mix along with two electric versions. You have to keep in mind that explosive petroleum fueled engines are still in their infancy. At the time of the bid only two boats in the US were known to have them.