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Daily press. (Newport News, Va.) 1896-current, March 24, 1898, Image 10

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Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045830/1898-03-24/ed-1/seq-10/

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What It Has Contributed to Our Navy and
Merchant Marine.
History ol tlie Soutn's Greatest Industrial Institution
from Its Inception to tlie Present Day.
capital i
in this
porta.nt consldenyt
luring plant's?I he
fuel, iron and lu:i
in immense quant
of West Virgin;.!
-M r.
George Clark. 'Superintend, nt of Con?
Collis I*. 'Huntington, the founder of
Newport 'News, derided to establish at
this port the greatest shipbuildlngpiant
in the world.
Just a decade ago the Newport News
Shipbuilding and Dry lice!; Company
was organized. .Mr. ('. 1'.. Orcutt was
selected to take the active management
of .the details connected with this vast
undertaking. Under Irs immediate di?
rection as president tie- enterprise con?
ceived In the mind of Its founder uns
completed two vears later. In October.
3S9J. Mr. SommeivN.'S'm.ithbeeanie gen?
eral Superintendent of t'he works, com?
ing to this city from Philadelphia. His
wide experience as a ship Ibuilder
'brought success p. the plant and since j
then tihe industry has grown until to?
day it is the greatest shipyard on this
continent, probably in the worid.
An examination of the yard shows ;
that its orrnngi menl lias been the re?
sult of a most carefully perfected plan
to have all the work on ., ship, from its
inception to its completion, a.bsulutely
progressive. The material enters at one
place, and. as it is handled, moves stea?
dily forward to its final destination
without in any case retracing its steps.
S?^ IF
iv.th lad?
der ib or
lS to 10S
M. V. D. Doughty. Superintendent of
Hull 'Department.
Hammers varying from GOO to fi.000
pounds, a. screw cutting It
inch swing, a mammoth
ing machine, capable of b
inches in diameter, a planer with a t .
pacity for planing verticalliy 222 inches
i>y horizontally feet, and a 24-inc'h
slotting machine, riveters exerting a
.pressure of ISO tons on the head of a
rivet, immense hydraulic Hangers and
rolls, and hydraulic traveling ?cranes,
running on a specially constructed rail?
way overhead, which carry the massive
dilates from t-hop to a ship, are among
the ingenious tools which complete an
equipment for work of the largest size
known to modern shipbuilding.
The yard is divided into depir; meats
over which there are superintendents.
(Next in authority to General Sup. rin
tendeint 'Smith is 'Mr.George Clark, sup?
erintendent of construction. Mr. Clark
was 'born in Scotland, but lias lived in
America the greater part of his life.
For twenty-four years be -wa.- connect?
ed with the 'International Navigation
Company, and when he resigned '."
come to 'Newport 'News, 'he was the as?
sistant superintendent. Mr. Clark's
.practical knowledge of machinery and
mechanics lenders bi.m a most valuable
man in a shipbuilding plant.
James Ttowbottotn. General Superin?
tendent of iMachlnis Shop.
Mr. 11. V. D. Doughty is the super?
intendent of the hull d. parun. nt. j
has been a shipbuilder from boyho
and ha-; probably superintended" the
launching of more ships than .my other
man in Ame-rlca. Tire vessels suc.e:
fiillly launched this morning increas
itlwi number to 67.
Iprobathly tSie youngest superintend?
ent in the yard ,.- M r. J unes 11 wwbol -
torn, who has charge of tip. macbim
shop. He has 'been with the company
since it was founded, having resigned
a. similar position in Cramp's yard in
Philadelphia. Mr. HoWbvMom was
eeitt to England by Prcsid nt Orcutt
tto visit the various shipbuilding plants
.?here, and obtain modern Ideas of ma?
chinery. When he returned Mr. Row
tbottom designed the shop, which is the
most complete In the World, lie was
S*orn a mechanic and his genius assert?
ed itself in early youth, emaiiHrng him
to forge ahead and reach the high posi?
tion he now fills.
ai Mr. I Inn: iust-.n's .-xp.-:ise. Nf.tr the
Shipyard is ?the .school building, weil
equipped -and rurnished. There was .in
incident connected with the 'building of
the gunboats W-ilimlnton, Helena and
Na.-iiviiile. which serves to shew the
feeling Mr. Huntington hears It)ward
his employees. During the financial
depression of 1X93. when factories were
elosed down, the fires in furnaces went
out, and men -were crying for work.
Mr. Huntington authorized that the hid
for building the gunboats lie made at
$?0.000 tinder the actual cost of con?
struction, in order that the workingmen
here might not lie thrown out of em?
ployment. At thai time no contracts
were being let for merchant vessels.
Tile 'hid was made anil the Company
was awarded the contract 'by the gov
ment, thus keeping the men at work
1 driving the wollt from their doors.
Th,' Company lost nothing on the war?
ft', dl. Quigley. Foreman Ship Fitters'
I Department;
ship-', is they earned handsome 'bonuses
that made up the deficit.
Since the estab'lfc'hnient of 'the plant
fifteen seagoing craft have ibeen turned
Unit. This includes tugs, pMotboats, fust
I freigibt and passenger vessels and war?
Tile first conltnwt signed by the cotn
pianry was for the building for two tug
boats?the Dorothy, Pur the New York
and Nor: hern Railway, and 'the El
Torn for t he Pacific Improvement Com?
pany. They were sister tshlps. each Ik
ing n.inie.ty feet long, 19 feel wide and 10
feet deep land propelled by tandem com
',...uii..i engines. They were launched in
.1:;liu.i r-v. 1891. 'tend went into service the
f, wing April.
til Su.l?the 'South?was the next shin
built. Siie went down the -ways 'March
10, 1892, 'Miss Grace Armstrong acting
ais her sponsor. '.El Sud i? a Just
fieighter awl was designed) for the
coastwise trade'between New York and
N. w Orleans for'the Morgan 'line. She
i:- a large ship, 'being 405 feet 'long. 4S
!" et wide and 93 feet deep. Her dis
piacemi nt is 7,400 tons. 'Her machinery
i nsists of triple expansion engines,
wii'tfn an 'indicated ihoi-sc power of 3,800.
.1. A. Williams, Foreman Outfitting
Tin- gross tonnage of 151 Sud is 4,659,
and she 'has four masts. On her trial
trip I'M Sud made fifteen knots.
I Following KI Sud was 101 -Norte?the
N-.TV.1-1--a sist.rt ship. Ei N.rtj was
launched on June 14. 1S92. and was
christened- by Miss Mary Oreuitt, daugh?
ter of the president of the ?hlpbui'lding
company. This ship was also built for
the Morgan Dine.
Ftor the uame line El Rio?The River?
Was bu'ilt. She was a duplicate of the
??tihtT ships -with the exception of het
toasts. Fl Rio has but two. This Ves?
sel glided into the James .May 31,
1893. Miss Ijaurn Rraxton. of this city,
acted as sponsor for 'Fl <RJ?. and Miss
H.enrlelta Young, niece of General Su
I p.-rillten lent Sommers 'N. Sniiiih, be
| name responsible for the future good
.behavior of El Cid. These two vessels
hire sist. i- ships.
I Willi the exception of El Cid the
steamers are plying between New York
I and New Orleans. During an Insurrec?
tion in Brazil several years ago El Cid
was sold to than government. She was
fitted up with dynamite guni< and her
naimo changed to "Nictheroy."
John I?!wery. Foreman Joiner Shop.
While these ship,* were being con?
structed the company received a oon
ti'act 'Per 'btfi'IdOng three gunboats'? the
Nashville. Wilmington and Helena.
The contract was signed Jantmry 23,
181*4, and 'work was begun itnmedlately.
At this time the country was passing
thivaig'h a financial ptimCc and no mer?
chantmen were being built anywhere.
The Nashville was the first Of the three
ships 1? be launchtd. She went over on
October 19, 1890. and was christened by
M'i'.-i; Tb..Mip?-..n. daughter of the mayor
.f the city for wh.-.-h the gunboat was
named. The Nas'hvi'lle wc.-.t out on'her
rial trip on May 11. 1897, making a
? td of HJ.29 knots, lit r eintrat t speed
was bOI knots. Ac-coi-dlng tv> the terms
af 'the vontiuft the government allowed
.i bonus of $20,000 for every knot made
in excess of tii" c'-if.r.ii t speed, and
rite hoa't earned 'her builders the sum
-if $55.04)0. This wat-sh-ip is 220 fet long.
38 feet w'ale and has it displacement of
1.3711 t,.r--. With la draft of 11 feet. She
received her armament at the Brooklyn
navy yard, and went into coim'niissi'jcm
lij3t"slimmer. At present the vessel is
at. i 'led to the North Atlantic Squad
roil, '-i'n'd is d'oin-s 'service at Key West.
The gunboats Helena and Wilmington
are sister ships and designed for river
service. They are 251 feet long. 40 fee*
wide, 17.8 -feet deep and have a displace?
ment of 1.330 tons each. Their actual
i-ipeed was 13 kn its. The Wilmington
was launched October 19. 1895. and
christened by Mists Gray, daughter of
the Senator from Delaware. The Hele?
na teak her Inapt ivmal plunge January
?\V. C. Foley, Chief Draughtsman.
30, lSlifi, her spon'sior being the daughter
of the mayor of the capital of 'Montana.
In 'March. 18117, the ships tirade their of
cial trial trips on Long Island Sound,
the \Vi-l'iiiin-pton -going out on the 27th
and the Helena two days later. On her
trip the Wilmington made 15.13 knots
ami the Helena 15.85. each earning a
handsome bonus. The Wilmington left
the yard -he-re on 'May 8. going to Ges?
tielt wavy yard, leaving there for -New
York on Miaiy 22. Both of these ships
are in < onrm-isi-lon -and they are num?
bered among Uncle Sam's best gun?
The next contract received -by the com?
pany were two engines?a di'agonia'l -in?
clined engine for -the ferry boat Twin
Cities, which 'plays between Norfolk
und Portsmouth, and a triple expan?
sion engine for the Cromwell line
steamer Lou is iu na.
FW the Savannah 'Pilot Association
the steam pilot boat John H. 'Bsti.l-1 was
built 'Piil-s last boat 'Was contracted
for Aipril 17. 1894. and was launched a
few month- later. Miss Helen Thomp?
son, of Savannah, being her sponsor.
'No. 13 was tlie tug boat A. T. Dewey.
which took the name of her owner, of
Ptrnta Gorda, Pia. She was contracted
G. H. Dunn. Soliciting tVgent.
for In October, 189-1. and launched Jan?
uary 31, 1895. M.'.ss Louise Parker, of
this city,christened the tug as she was
about to make her initial plunge. The
A. P. Dewey is a swift boat and at pre?
sent she is running between Key West
and 'Havana, e-at-ryvn-g dispatches for
til,- New York Herald.
The next vessel built was the New?
port News, of'the WasfttotgHVm and Nor?
folk line The contract was signed -in
November. 1894, and she 'was launched
in the 'following April, the daughter of
the vice-president of the lime becoming
her sponsor. On Friday. June 18. the
Newport -News steaimed out of this port
to intake her first trip to the National
Capital. Since that rime she has been
making regular trips land If now con?
sidered the fastest boat on the bay.
She is a freight and passenger boat
combined andi isi elegantly furnished.
The Newport News is 274 feet long, 4ti
feet wide and lfi.fi feet deep. She has
attained a speed o-f 21 miles an hour.
Next comes the Plant Liner La
Grande Duehesse. She -was contracted
for in April. 1895, and launched on Jan?
uary 30. 189G. sliding off the ways
with the gunboat Helena. .Miss
Eldridge. of Boston, christened CLa
Grande Duehesse. This vessel was de?
signed for coastwise truffle. Tiimning be
J. F. Hughes. Shop Foreman, Ship
Fitters' Department.
t'ween Savannah ami New York, carry?
ing both freight and .passengers. She
is 404 feet long, 47 feet wide and 3G.G
feet deep. She is palatially furnished
ship and is second to none 'on the At?
lantic coast. She is an auxiliary cruis?
er, her decks being so constructed
that she mhy be armed with rifles in
event of hostilities. At the present La
Grande Duehesse is at the shipyard
having 'her Bab-ock boilers replaced
by steam producers of the Seoteh pat?
tern. Already she holds the record for
fast running between) Savannah and
New York, and it is expected that when
the new Millers are put in sine -will
break her own record.
One of the most successful vessels
built here was the (.'reale, tor the Crom?
well line, which runs between New Or?
leans and New York. She -was launch?
ed August 8. 1S96. Miss 'Bd*th Fitzger?
ald becomling rei-poins'ihle for her fu?
ture- good conduct. The Creole is a
fast freighter with a gross ton-nu-re of
3.*>J ,0*he,1s 375 "'<?? 'S??. ? feet wide
and 33.6 feet deep. She left the yard
Sunday, November G, 1890.
o^fk. 17 w"a? tlhe tu? Sommers N.
Smith, named for the general superin
tendent of the yard, which sprang into
notoriety ass a litibuster in the last year.
She -wo? 'built for the 'Pilots' Benevolent
ABeocfattton, of Pensucola, and is 115
James "Wilkie, Foreman Blacksmith
feet long, and 21 ifee't wide. The tug
was launched May 30, 1S?6. and was
christened by Mrs. H. B. Plant.
The first side wheeler built here was
the 'Margaret, 'Which wus launched a;
the same time the Sommers X. Smith
took her plunge. Mrs. Plant Ms) chris?
tened this vessel, 'having 'the honor to
be the only lady to christen two ships
in one day. Tile 'Margaret was con?
structed for the 'Pliant Line. During
the winter months she plys in Southern
waters and in the summer her home
port is New'Haven. She is 182 feet long,
41 feet Wide over the guards and 8 feet
The next ship? contracted for were
the Kearsarge and Kentucky. Xos. IS
and and 19, the papers being signed
January 2, 1S96. These vessels are ful?
ly described' in another column.
Ott October 5, 1S9G, the contract for
buOldinir the Illinois was signed, and the
keel was laid February 11. 1S97. All of
these vessels are of the first-Class.
The yard covers an urea of 200 acres
and is probably the largest sShipbu'ild
ing plant in die world, certainly in
America. 'Several! months since Mr.
Collis P. Huntington purchased a tract
of land adjoining the yard, making the
frontage on James river an even mile.
The mammotbdry dry d>>ck. the modern
brick structures and the improved ma?
chinery represent an investment of $s.
L>. S. Davis, 'Foreman Lumber Depart?
000,0000. 'Nowhere can be found a plant
with superior faici'li'lies for repairing
and building ships. Here inventive
genius has had full sway, and every
machine from 'the rolling mill down to
the smallest lu'the iis of the latest pat?
The main offle? of the plant is situ?
ated midway of the grounds and fronts
on Washington avenue. This is a three
story brick building 40x200 feet in di?
The first floor & utilized for the hard?
ware department of the store room.
The second floor, southern half. Is used
for clerical purposes and 'as offices for
the engineering and accounting staff of
the company, while the northern half
of this floor is for the use of govern?
ment officials and the drawing depart?
ment. On this floor is where brain
work is done, for here the ships are de?
signed and' the plans down to minute
detail worked out. Probably the
busiest man on iliis floor is General
Superintended: Sommers '>>". Smith,
who is at the be-a'd of these .great
works. Great is the responsibility 'that
rests on Mm and well does he discharge
his onerous duties. America, has few.
if any. better shipbuilder-. The third
floor is the drawing room of the shire
building company, where about sixty
C. G. Willis, Foreman Carpenter Shop,
draughtsmen are employed under two
chief 'heads of departments, one for the
hull and another for the machinery. To
the extreme left of the main office is
the immense lumber department, where
nearly 40.000,000 feetoflumbairarestored.
This quantity of 'lumber consists of all
vatities used in shipbuilding, ranging
in price from S10 to SHOO per 1.000 feet.
On the right of the 'lumber department
is the joiner and wood working build?
ing, a brick two story structure 00x300
Adjoining this? is the immense ma?
chine shop, the pride of the works, lOOx
500 feet in dimensions, with a gallery
extending tiliroughout the whole length
of the building on either side.
'Phis model rnachine shop is fitted up
with the most expensive modern tools
J. F. Dohetty, Foreman Coppersmith
known to tin- trade, including a wall
planer, said to be the largest fin the
world, a 26 foot crank shaft lathe, capa?
ble of swinging the largest crank shaft
of any marine engine, two traveiiiimg
cranes (one of sixty tons and the other
of fifty tons capacity), ail operated by
The building of six 6.000 horse p.... .
engines for the 'battleshilps Kearsarge,
Kentucky arid Illinois is now in pro?
gress. This department is in charge .if
Mr. James Kawbotom. For conveni?
ence, equipment and variety of tools
the machine shop is said to be the finest
connected with any marine establish?
ment in this country.
Near the shop is the boiler depart?
ment building, a brick and iron struct?
ure 100x1500 feet and as high us any
building on the premises. This build?
ing is equipped with ail the modern
conveniences of a 'boiler shop, such as
annealing furn ices. Hanging tools, riv?
eters, etc. Besides a 15-ton an'd a 40
ton traveling crane, it has also an elec?
tric crane of 100 tons capacity. The
floor of this department is now covered
with the hf-avv work for the battle
ps. Mr. Ja'ines Gallagher is foreman
of tills shop.
Adjoining the boiler shop is the -black?
smith department. Thto is also a brick
structure 100x300 feet in dimensions. It
is lilted up with heavy steam hammers,
netting furnaces and all 'Uber neces?
sary machinery for modern biack
" next building is the fitting up
built of brick and iron. On feet
:',2n long and two stories in height.
I A. Shankland, Foreman of Itivete.rs.
The second floor is utilized 11s .1 mold
I loft and is the largest in the United
Statt*. The lower floor is equipped
with every modern tool required in this
in the world, being 32 feet long in the
clear and so arranged that 850 tons
dead pressure can be exerted downward
on tile top roll. .Mi of the cranes and
witn 1111
eleetric generators,
team engines, hydra lie pumps, blow
rs and iremend cos compressed air ma
hinery, a model of its kind without a
uperior anywhere.
The .mammoth dry dock of the cmi
isny is on a 'par with every other de?
partment of the establishhii nt. I; is
he largest basin of its kind in the Uni
ed States connected with any shipyard.
W. T. Hopkins. Chief Engineer of
and the scene of the docking of the
great ocean greyhounds, the Paris, St.
Paul and New York.
The dimensions of the dock are as
Length on top .GOO feet
Width on top .130
Width on bottom . 50
Width at entrance . 03
Draught of water over sill . 115
Although this is the largest private
dry dock on tin- Atlantic coast, this
yard will have the largest basin in
America; "Not Long since Mr. Hunt?
ington stated that he would build nn
oih. r dock at a cost of $1.000.000 and
now civil engineers are working on the
plans of the ba.-.in. which is to. be 900
.Vet long and 160 feet wide.large enough
to accommodate two first class battle
ships at one time. As. soon as the plans
are completed work will be commenced
on the new dock.
The next addition to the plant will
be an ordnance factory. For the last
two years negotiations have been pend?
ing between Mr. Huntington and Sir
William Armstrong, of London, looking
to the establishment in this city of an
ardnanee and armor plate factory, and
it is thought tliat the deal will yet be
The first shop south of the dry dock
? an outfitting -machine shop, where
ail the miscellaneous fittings and pi-pe
work is done in Utting out the ships.
Immediately south of this structure
is the "paint shop." built entirely of
brick, containing varnish rooms, drying
rooms and preparing rooms as complete
as any in the country.
Just east of this building is a great
dry kiln, built of brick, with a capacity
of over 200.0U0 feet and equipped for the
drying of lumber used in construction
of -ships.
The yard 'has several 'miles of railroad
track, over whi'e-h it operates its own
locomotive 'for the handling of all the
material and the cars which enter the
In -addition to the locomotive for
moving the great quantities of material
used, the company utilizes a yard surf?
ace cantilever crane that covers a space
130 feet wide 'by 1.000 feet long, besides
other smaller cranes tha t are continual?
ly used In handling heavy iron plates.
Besides the large store rooms, the com?
pany has great it-en racks for the
storage of the steel plates and shapes
that are worked into ships. At times
there are 5.000 tons of material in these
Stored in the south end of the yard
at present are over 3.000 tons of -heavy
Harveyized armor lying on large 'Wood?
en skids, which 'is intended for the bat?
tleships Keursarge and Kentucky. Some
of these plates weigh 10 tons and east
nearly $20.000 each.
The yard also contains :\ grevt num?
ber of piers, one of them '.inn feet long,
giving it facilities for the a-vo.-n-modu
tion of a huge numbi r of ships.
C. D. "WEST.
Barrett & West,
Hi?mi?ui innen.
IRe<liatale Companies!. Liberal Con?
tract's. Farm 'Lands a Specialty. All
lines of Insurance Respectfully So?
?pt'niiU of London; Magdeburg of Ger
muny: Orient of irartfordt Travelers'
Accident of Hartford!; Union Central
?Life of Cincinnati.
REFERENCE:?Citizens and Marine
Olasical, Scientific, English and Com
im-rciul Cources.
&S'mBLlc5H&D IN 1?89
We Launched our Business Craft
in the above year by square dealing and the
furnishing of reliable qualities in
We are the acknowledged Leaders in
these lines to-day.
Strictly Up-to-Date.
The Reliable
Clothier. Shoer and
J. L. PATTON <& CO..
Customs Brokers,
Ship Agents.
insurance \r\ All Its FJr&ncHes
2503 Washington Avenue,
Capital - - $100,000
Surplus and Undivided Profits 30,000
V>\ A. POST, President. J. I:. SWIXERTON, Vice-PiresMent.
J. A. WILDE TT, C.ishier. I . i i
Tlie ineerests of our customers are promptly and in?
telligently attedded to.
G. B. WEST, President, D. S. JONES, Vice-President. W. E. VEST, Cashier.
Citizens and Marine Bank
A general banking- business. Every facility offered for oafe and prompt
transaction of business on favorable termj. The accounts of Corporations,
Firms and Individuals solicited. Special attention given ,?o collections. Drafts
drawn on all parts of the world.
G. B. West, H. E. Parker, T. M. Benson, J. (B. Jennings, D. P. Stearnes,
E. T. Ivy, D. S. Jones, A. C. Oarrett. J. M. Curtis.

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