|A Place Called
New York Ship in 1948--A Professional Assessment
Page created 07 July 2006
Page revised 26 December 2007
Three "standard shipyards" are profiled in a chapter titled "Shipyard Layout" in The Shipbuilding Business in the United States of America, a 1948 publication of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers. The three are Bethlehem Steel (Quincy), Newport News Shipbuilding, and New York Shipbuilding. Here is that assessment:
The yard was built on the present site in 1989 to 1900, the general layout being based on the ideas which the first president, Henry G. Morse, had developed as a result of his extensive structural steel and fabricating experience. He was responsible for the general application of the loft template system to hull construction and for pre-fabrication of large structural assemblies. Provision for the latter was made through including an unusually complete system of high-capacity overhead cranes in the original layout. At a time when 5- to 10- ton cranes over building berths were the accepted practice, he provided, in addition, 100-ton bridge cranes capable of operating over ways and wet slip by means of a travelling crane transfer table operating on elevated transverse tracks. This transfer table was capable of handling the 100-ton crane including its load over any of the berths or the wet slip.
Among the yard's first contract were the large freight and passenger ships Mongolia and Manchuria, delivered in 1904. The first naval contract was the United States cruiser Washington, delivered in 1906. This yard also build main engines and boilers and other equipment in extensive manufacturing ships which were provided in the original yard layout, and have since been greatly expanded to meet the loads imposed by World Wars I and II.
This yard now occupies 219 acres. There are at present ten building berths, five of which are the original ways of the North Yard and which, including the adjacent wet basin, are under permanent roof that is a continuation on a higher level of the roof over the main group of manufacturing shops of the North Yard. Four of these covered ways will take vessels up to 840 feet and the fifth up to 900 feet. These are inclined ways with steel dam gates at the river end, removable for launching. There are five open ways in the Middle Yard which will take care of ships up to 650 feet in length. Provision is made, however, for extending the two double ways to take ships of over 1000 feet in length if required.
The five covered North Yard ways, including the wet slip, are served by half-span 10- and 15-tons overhead bridge cranes, the center tracks being supported from roof trusses. Below the half-span tracks on the columns are the tracks for the two 150-ton bridge cranes, either or both of which can be operated over any of the five berths, the wet slips, and the armor and gun bay on the south end, and can be transferred singly, including load, from one to the other by means of the transfer table. This transfer table is also provided with tracks for transferring any of the half-span cranes from any service position to another of this group except the armor and gun bay. This bay is an elevated steel structure equivalent to a shorter section of the adjacent berths with corresponding tracks for the heavy cranes, across the end of which the elevated tacks for the transfer table extend. Thus provision is made for lifts of 300 tons by means of two 150-ton cranes over this bay or the transfer of one 150-ton crane with its load from the armor bay to any of the five adjacent berths or to the wet slip. The original transfer table after over forty years' service was replaced in 1945 with a new and heavier unit to utilize the increased capacity resulting from the addition of two 150-ton cranes to the original 100-ton crane.
The five Middle Yard ways are served with eight 40-ton tower whirlers. The open piers are served with 35-ton gantries and 40-ton tower whirlers. The heavy installations such as turrets, etc., are made in the wet slip, which has a crane capacity for 300-ton lifts required for the installation of large turrets. The large turret shop is on the south side of Newton Creek, the mouth of which has been made a deep basin with piers accommodating large ships. Heavy turrets are moved on short ways from turret shop to barge at the adjacent Newton Creek pier and towed to the end of the North Yard wet slip under its heavy cranes. There is provided an unusually extensive yard materiel-handling system of railway and hard surfaced roads served by rail cars, road and gantry cranes, trailers, and trucks.
The manufacturing shops are of permanent steel and brick construction and generally are arranged in large groups under the same roof with an interconnecting overhead crane system. These shops have a total floor space under permanent cover of 3,279,978 square feet, of which 1,041,305 square feet is the area of the North Yard wet slip and five covered ways.
The layout of this plant and its extensions has been facilitated because of the original acquirement of the tract paralleling the yard proper on the east of Broadway, which is the main street forming the main yard boundary. The main offices and drafting rooms are on this eastern part of the property, the remainder of which has been developed into fenced and surfaced parking lots capable of accommodating 5,000 employee cars. The east portion bordering on Newton Creek was also used for heavy plate and shape storage during the war emergency.
Total Areas of Buildings and Ways
North Yard Buildings
1,635,706 sq ft
The New York Shipbuilding Corporation plant lies in a district which is noted for its foundry industry, and therefore it has never operated a plant foundry.
[Of these three yards,] the New York Shipbuilding Corporation yard is the only one with a part of the building berths for large ships under roof, which was a provision made when the yard was originally built. The covered ways have certain inherent advantages during severe storms, particularly in winter sleet and snow storms. In the welding of ships' structures it has been found that the shielding of all part of the hull from direct sunlight reduces trouble in regulating erection. On the other hand, maintenance of these large roof areas is an additional expense, and by comparison with similar building operations carried out simultaneously on the yard's open ways, the covered ways do not appear to offer basic advantages sufficient to warrant their increased cost, for operations in the Middle Atlantic Coast climate.
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