The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI), 9 Jun 1903

Full Text

(aerial-view drawing of the facility as it will appear when finished)

The shipbuilding plant of the Great Lakes Engineering Co. will be the largest on the lakes. Work is being pushed on it and a greater portion of it will be completed before August 1. The plant occupies a tract of eighty-five acres on the river front, below Smith's coal dock, the old Hall brickyard property being the nucleus around which the balance has been purchased in small parcels. The ground has frontage of 1,400 feet on the river. The Michigan Central and Detroit Southern roads will both have trackage into the yards.

There will be four shipbuilding berths, 600 feet in length, so that the yard will be equipped to build at the same time four of the largest vessels ever planned for the lakes. Between these berths are to be two slips for side launching ships; one of them 600 feet long by 125 feet wide and 14 feet deep, with the other 600 feet long by 150 feet wide and 30 feet deep.

Beside each building berth will run a traveling crane operated by electricity, that will carry from the plate, angle and machine shops, to their exact locations, all the components of the ship.

In addition to these electric cranes there will be two ten-ton steam locomotive cranes, which will run on tracks to all parts of the yard, lifting, hauling and carrying all sorts of supplies and material.

So far as is possible electricity will be used in operating machinery. There will be two large air compressors, each capable of furnishing 3,000 cubic feet of air per minute, at a pressure of 160 pounds to the square inch. This power will run all drilling, chipping, riveting and caulking tools. Plate tools, shears and punches will be operated by electricity, and electric overhead cranes will serve each shop. A 100-ton pair of shears will handle boilers and engines to and from the ships.

In addition to the above there will be a floating dry dock , the first of its kind on the lakes, which will be large enough to handle any vessel that floats on the inland waters.

The floating dock will be operated in the 150-foot slip that has a depth of 20 feet, and will not in any way interfere with building operations. At such times as the ship is needed for launching, the floating dock will be towed out into the river. The buildings of the company are entirely of steel, and their dimensions in feet are as follows:

Boiler shop150x300
Plate and shape building150x300
Plate and shape stock building150x300
Mold loft50x250
Joiner shop50x250
Tools and rivets shop40x80
Repair machine shop 40x60
Blacksmith shop 40x60
Sheet metal shop40x60
Pipe shop40x60
Offices and drawing room 40x90
Riggers' shop25x60

The company is a reorganization of Great Lakes Engineering Co. The capital stock is $1,500,000. Antonio C. Pessano is president and general manager; George H. Russel, vice-president, and John R. Russel, secretary and treasurer.

The stockholders are: Antonio C. Pessano; H. W. Hoyt, vice-president, Allis-Chalmers Co., Chicago; H. C. Potter, Jr., Detroit, vice-president State Savings bank; C. L. Freer, Detroit, capitalist; H. B. Ledyard, Detroit, president, Michigan Central railroad; George H. Russel, Detroit, president, State Savings bank; H. M. Campbell, Detroit, of Russell & Campbell; W. G. Mather, Cleveland, president, Cleveland Cliffs Co.; Henry Russel, Detroit, general attorney, Michigan Central Railroad; John A. Penton, Detroit; John H. Avery, Detroit, Belle Isle & Windsor Ferry Co.; Henry Ledyard, Detroit, attorney; W. S. Russel, Detroit, vice-president, Russel Wheel & Foundry Co.; J. A. Ubell, Jr., Detroit, naval architect; Henry Penton, Detroit, marine engineer; W. J. Wickes of Wickes Bros., Saginaw, Mich.; I. W. Frank, Pittsburg, president, United Engineering & Foundry Co.; O. P. Letchworth, Buffalo, President Pratt, Letchworth & Co.; W. D. Sargent, New York, president American Brake Shoe & Foundry Co.; J. R. Russel, Detroit, secretary and treasurer, Russel Wheel & Foundry Co. and Great Lakes Engineering works.

Several of the buildings are under roof and the machinery for the various parts of the plant is rapidly arriving.

President Pessano says the company has already booked a large amount of business.

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9 Jun 1903
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Dave Swayze
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI), 9 Jun 1903