Staff Correspondent of a Leading Magazine.




.   .   .   FORE  RIVER   .   .   .



THE United States has, in the past few years, become a world power in the industrial as well as in the political sense. The foreign markets have been invaded so aggressively that the manufacturers across the seas fear that their own products will be neglected. American goods of all sorts, in ever increasing quantities, are being shipped to all parts of the world. With the enlarged demand for our manufactures has come a call for our own ships, this having been especially marked since the building of the new navy according to American plans in American yards. The rumored consolidation of steamship  lines under the control of American capital is another evidence of this. The revival of business in hitherto abandoned shipyards is an indication that American shippers are beginning to  

demand that their goods be transported in American bottoms, vessels constructed in home shipyards. A ship subsidy bill has already been proposed to Congress, and it will not be many years before Americans visiting foreign lands will be gladdened by  the sight of as many more vessels flying the stars and stripes as are now showing the colors of Great Britain or Germany.

The supremacy of the United States in steel production and the cheapness, rapidity of manufacture,  and high quality of that all-important metal are other factors that play a large part in American ship-building. It was demon started long ago that  iron ships are far ahead of wooden ones; and steel, by reason of its greater strength and consequent lighter weight, is vastly superior to iron; therefore, the new ships are built of steel. 



From every shipyard in the land comes the tattoo of the riveter's hammer, the clang of steel plates, and the dull thud of steam hammers on ingots of metal. America is coming into her own again as a ship-building and maritime nation.

In the old, elm-bowered town of Quincy, Mass., the birthplace of two of our Presidents, John Adams and John Quincy Adams, has sprung up almost magically a great ship-building plant. Almost within the shadow of the quaint, old-time houses is the cradle of a mighty infant, which, although still in its earliest youth, is representative of some of the great industrial achievements of our time. Here, surrounded by a hundred reminders of a noble past, is the home of this giant industry, combining in itself all the romance of the olden time and the accomplishment of the new age. So quietly and unobtrusively has this industry grown that when the FORE RIVER SHIP AND ENGINE 

COMPANY was awarded the contract for two great battleships, people asked, "Who are these men who have been given the contract for sister warships?"

Two years ago the banks of the Fore River sloped back to grassy meadows and fruitful orchards; to-day on this same plot of eighty acres more than a score of gigantic buildings stand, the embodiment of American enterprise. Five warships have been completed or are in course of construction, and a seven-masted steel schooner, the largest sailing vessel in the world, will be ready for launching soon after this appears in print. Contracts amounting to more than eight millions of dollars are being executed, and three of the largest ships of their class are here being constructed. The sister battleships, " New Jersey" and " Rhode Island,"14,948 tons each, the greatest of Uncle Sam's dogs of war, and the cruiser "Des Moines" are being built for the Government, and a seven - 

masted steel schooner 405 feet over all (11,000 tons displacement) will be launched within two months. Still, there is room for the con­struction of six more vessels in this immense yard.

If the two terms were not paradoxical, one might say that the FORE RIVER SHIP AND ENGINE COMPANY is a permanent mushroom growth. At one side of a vast enclosure is a series of gates that remind one of an exposition. These gates are the focusing point of the radiating lines along which the 1,000 work-people come from thirty-four different towns to the shipyard (showing what a central point Quincy is). Over the gates are painted letters, indicating the different departments. Each employee enters the gate of his own department. A num-



In the foreground is an ingot of steel, as well as several thrust-shafts for the cruiser and other ships. The largest hammer, which is in the background, may be contrasted with the one in the foreground, which was much nearer the camera.

bered brass check is handed each individual, who in turn gives it to the timekeeper of the proper department, and the time is then marked, — at the actual moment of beginning work.

Starting at the employees' entrance gate, the plant of the fore river ship and engine company is laid out progressively, all lines of effort leading to the towering ship house. All material for hull, engines, sails and rigging, or spar work, from the moment of its entrance as raw material, progresses toward the great ships of which it is to become  

a part. A great billet of steel, two feet square and ten feet long, of many tons weight, starts on its long journey near the forge shop; and on its way to its final resting-place in the ship, almost a mile away, it never once touches the ground; human hands do but direct it. Not once does any piece of ship machinery, fit­ting, or rigging retrace its steps; the march is always onward.

Towering like a great grain elevator or a modern Tower of Babel is the annealing plant, one of the first of the structures to be seen from a distance. It seems to stand guard




Showing the Crane which has a span of 150 feet, and travels up and down the yard, a distance of 800 feet. In this plate yard there is stored, at all times, from ten to fifteen thousand tons of steel.



In the middle foreground are shown the engines of the cruiser "Des Moines," now being erected.





Developing, approximately 8,000 H. P. at 350 revolutions. These marvelous engines run with the smoothness of a watch.



From a photograph by Stebbins, Boston. Taken on one of the "tuning up" trips at a speed of 27 knots.


over the  forge shop, from which comes the work that keeps its fiery digestion active.

The forge shop, broad and long, stands a little to the left of the annealing plant. Through its open doors a full-sized locomotive goes puffing in and out, dragging in at one end cars loaded with shapeless chunks of steel, and out at the other completed crank-shafts, propeller shafts, and gun forgings. Inside the great building, which has a floor space of 22,000 square feet, great eyes of white light stare out of the gloom from the open hearths of the flaming furnaces, and dim figures of men guide here and there great masses of glowing white hot metal.

Close to the main door stands, straddling a great anvil, the second one of the largest hammers in existence, a metallic steam-driven arm capable of striking a blow with the force of 250 tons (500,000 pounds), yet so completely under control that a walnut may be broken by it without smashing the kernel. A little to the right of this modern Colossus (for the great ham­mer reminds one strongly of a giant figure standing with feet braced ready to deliver a tremendous blow) is the furnace that heats the ingots of steel, a veritable cavern of heat, the light and glare being so intense that the naked eyes cannot bear to look upon it.

Distributed about the immense floor, large enough to accom­modate a national convention, are many furnaces and many hammers, some large enough to shape the crank-shaft of a battleship, and ranging down to a little machine which is used for fashioning bolts, and which strikes blows as rapid 

as a drummer. Each of these hammers is driven by steam, generated by the surplus heat from the furnaces, that would otherwise go to waste through the chimneys. A great electric crane swings along on overhead tracks, by means of which one man can direct the picking up of a 25-ton piece of metal, and run off with it as easily as a dog trots away with a bone. Each of the larger hammers is served by this or another crane, and a standard track runs through the building, so that the rough forged pieces of metal may be transported to the machine shop, where they are to take their final shapes.

The power house. Between the forge shop and the machine shop lies the source of the energizing power of the whole plant. From this point radiates the power that makes the electric bulbs glow in the office building at one end of the yard, and drives the compressed-air riveting machine in the cavernous depths of the cruiser " Des Moines " at the extreme outer edge. Here in a high, light room, shining with cleanliness, neat as a housewife's kitchen, are located the engines and dynamos of 1,200 horse capacity, and, also, two air compressors, one of 5,000 cubic foot capacity, and the other of 1,000 cubic feet. A battery of six boilers supplies the steam for all; and so carefully planned is this steam plant that a fire-room staff of but one man is needed. By the use of individual motors on each machine the power is delivered at the machine using it with the greatest convenience, cleanliness, and economy, both of space and money. It is estimated that one-third of the power required to run long lines of shafting and pulleys is saved.

A General View of the Plant.


The power equipment is one of the striking examples of the FORE RIVER SHIP AND ENGINE COMPANY'S good judgment and far-sighted economy. The first cost of so many electric motors was great, and there has been practically no precedent for such comprehensive use of electric power. The soundness of their judgment, however, already has been proven, for the difference in cost between individual motors and a system of shafting has already been saved by the economy of power, and, erelong, the cost of the motors will be wiped out.

The machine shop. Just beyond the power house stretches a great building, with tiers and tiers of windows, a titan workshop, light as the great outdoors. Clean and orderly, there is little to suggest the ordinary machine shop in this beautiful room. The perspective makes the room seem interminable, and the long lines of lathes add to this impression. Here the rough, rugged forgings are brought to be planed and smoothed down to the shining cranks, shafts, and piston rods that will later glide and smoothly revolve in the somber depths of great ships.

When the writer visited this immense shop, the crank-shaft of the "Des Moines" was being turned into its final shape, the great bulk of metal, much taller than a tall man, was being turned around and around as easily as one turns a pencil between the fingers. At each revolution a chip was taken off a projecting shoulder, and so gradually the whole was shaved down to its final form. Just beyond this lathe another stretched its great length of 115 feet along the granolithic floor, where a propeller shaft, 50 feet long, was 

being bored through longitudinally to lighten it. This is one of the few lathes in the world long enough to bore a 50-foot shaft from end to end without reversing. A little further down the room stands a big planer, capable of smoothing down a block of metal 12 feet square and 30 feet long. The room, which, by the way, contains about 1¾ acres of floor space (76,224 square feet), is full of lathes, planers, drills, boring lathes, and the hundred and one little machines that are almost lost in the general survey of this shop, but which play an important part in the work of ship-building, and which represent no inconsiderable portion of the investment of $350,000 which is charged to this building.

Here, again, is seen the economy of electric power, for each of the power-driven machines is served by an electric motor, which is in motion and drawing power only when the machine is in active operation. No enormous system of shafting is operated for the sake of the comparatively few machines that are run simultaneously.

The machine shop lies alongside the creek, dredged to a depth of 30 feet at low water, both sides of which are owned by the company, so placed by foresight that is akin to genius; for by reason of this proximity to the water, a heavy piece of machinery may be lowered by an electric crane into a pit below the floor, laid on a car, run over a track built for the purpose out under another crane, which handles it directly to the ship of which it is to become a part.

It has been found necessary to double the length of this huge machine shop, though it is hardly eighteen months since its original foundations were laid.



72 feet wide and 304 feet long. Here are laid down, FULL SIZE, the lines of the ship.


Annealing, to which reference has already been made, is the intermediate step in the manufacture of steel machinery. The great tower of the annealing plant contains a furnace and an oil tank each 50 feet high, the furnace fed by oil fuel, into which seething well of flame forged shafts, cranks, or gun jackets are lowered and heated to the required temperature. The expert who determines this is raised and lowered up and down the towers, and peeps through holes into the columns of flame, watching the color of the heated metal within. At the proper moment the shaft is withdrawn, plunged into a cooling well of oil, and the process of tempering completed.

The building of a ship is the most complex form of construction, and a battleship is the most intricate of all 

marine creations. A battleship is not only a vessel to float on the sea: she is also a fort, an arsenal, a hotel, capable of accommodating over a thousand men. Her equipment must include a refrigerating plant, a complete electric light and power station, telephones, and an enormous kitchen, besides the most powerful and perfect of engines. For every detail of this vast and intricate equipment, plans must be drawn, in duplicate, one set  

to be retained at the works for working drawings, the other to  be filed at Washington. The immensity of this task can hardly be realized. Several floors of the large office building are devoted to the draughtsmen, and a corps of young women are employed, whose sole duty is the copying of plans for Washington.

The plans for a ship are, of necessity, drawn in reduced scale; but in order to produce the exact designed curve of a frame or the sweep of a deck the lines must be plotted out full size. The mold loft of the FORE RIVER SHIP AND 


By means of this machine plates are bent at the edges so as to make a smoother surface on the outside of a ship.



The electric motor which drives this huge lathe is shown at the left.


ENGINE COMPANY, where the lines of all the ships built by them are laid out full size, is a room that makes the beholder exclaim involuntarily. Flooded with mellow, sunshiny, yellow light stretches a room half as long again as an ordinary city block (304 feet) and 72 feet wide. In all this 

vast space not a post obstructs the view, the sky-lighted roof being supported entirely by trusses from the walls. The floor, smooth and level as if made for dancing, forms a surface upon which are drawn, in pencil, the lines of the ship under construction. Every line and every curve of every frame and 



DISPLACEMENT, 3,200 tons.                SPEED, 16½ knots

BUNKER CAPACITY        .        .        .       .     700 tons

ARMOR: Deck, ½ inch on flat, 1 inch to 2 inches on slopes.

ARMAMENT: Ten 5-inch R. F.; eight 6-pounders; two

1-pounders; 4 Colts; one 3-inch field gun.




Beneath this structure the battleships "New Jersey" and "Rhode Island" are being built. At the left of the picture is to be seen the seven-masted schooner, now in course of construction


DISPLACEMENT    .    .    .   14,948 tons.              SPEED    .   .   .   .    19 knots.

BUNKER CAPACITY  .    .    .    .     .    1,900 tons.

ARMOR: Belt, 11 to 4 inches; turrets, 11 to 10 inches and 6½ to 6 inches; barbettes, 10
        inches and 6 inches; deck, flat, 1½ inch; slope, 3 inches.

ARMAMENT: Four 12-inch, 40-caliber B. L.; eight 8-inch 45 caliber B. L.; 

twelve 6-inch 50-caliber R. F.; twelve 3-inch R. F.; twelve 3-pounders; 
eight 1-pounders; two 3-inch field guns; six automatic guns; two machine  guns.

TORPEDO TUBES   .   .   .   2 submerged.         COMPLEMENT  .   .  .  705 men.


of each plate is here laid out full size. To the uninitiated it is a labyrinth of meaningless lines. The workmen, however, understand them thoroughly, and following each curve, lay out the thin boards which will later serve as patterns for the ship's plates and frames. A model of the vessel is close at hand for easy reference; this is a perfect copy in miniature, but exactly in proportion, having the position and size of each plate plainly marked, so that it is a simple matter to verify the lines laid out on the floor.

Below the mold loft pattern-makers were busy making exact models in wood of the parts that were to be cast in metal—iron, bronze, brass, or steel. In one corner stood a pattern for a set of triple-expansion engine cylinders, standing higher than a man could reach, while close at hand a man was piecing together with infinite care a pattern for a valve casting. The cleanliness and quiet was very noticeable. The same building that houses the mold loft and pattern shop is also roomy enough to contain the wood-working shop: here all the wood fittings of a ship are made—lockers, skylights, chests, companionway ladders, cabin tables, gratings, small boat gear, even roll top desks for the captain's cabin.

The FORE RIVER SHIP AND ENGINE COMPANY's yard is certainly a place of magnificent distances. Hardly a building is less than 100 feet long, and one of them is over 400 feet in length, yet each structure is so placed that it can be doubled in size and still leave plenty of room for the movement of material; in fact, many of the buildings are arranged in line so that they may be extended in such a way as to grow together, thus combining allied departments.

Next the pattern shop lies the plate yard, as it is technically called. Large enough to encamp a regiment comfortably, or contain the Madison Square Garden, New York, with 200 feet to spare, the plate yard now contains over 15,000 tons (30,000,000 pounds) of steel. From end to end, travels an electric crane that spans the width of the yard (150 feet), — a great lattice-like structure that seems gossamer-like in lightness, and yet is capable of picking up an inch-thick plate, 15 by 20 feet, and carrying it at a rate of 500 feet a minute. This traveling crane is controlled by one man, with the aid of a series of electric motors. A track is laid through the center of the plate yard, over which an ubiquitous locomotive draws the company's own flat cars over the company's transportation system.

The natural advantages of the FORE RIVER SHIP AND ENGINE COMPANY become more and more apparent as one studies the works. A creek or inlet of the salt Fore River makes inland and divides the property in two: on one side the present plant is built; on the other is a vast space on which will be constructed refitting piers, floating docks, and any buildings that may be found necessary. The creek is 30 feet deep and wide enough to float four or more battleships abreast. Into this inlet the ships will be floated when launched, and tied alongside the 1200-foot fitting-out pier, where armor, guns, turrets, and masts will be put in with the aid of a giant crane. By necessity or lack of foresight many ship-builders have gone to the expense of bringing the "mountain to Mahomet," but the designers of the FORE RIVER SHIP AND ENGINE COMPANY works believe that the


reverse is much easier and more economical. Following this line of reasoning, it was thought to be easier to move the crane carrying a heavy weight than to shift the position of a ship. The fitting-out crane, therefore, will be built on a track along the pier, upon which it will run as easily as a trolley car and may be used to transport a piece of machinery from the machine shop, lift it over the side of a vessel, and lower it into the exact place for which it is designed. One


Fore River has a powerful fire pump and a complete set of fire plugs as well as a well-organized fire department among its employees.

man perched in a little box, like the wheel house of a steamer, where he can see in every direction, controls each motion electrically with perfect ease and mathematical accuracy.

The general plan of the "works," which is progressive, was possible because nothing but plain open country existed, no permanent buildings hindered, no city boundaries interfered — the natural conditions were most favorable. A far-sighted, intelligent plan, courage, and capital were the only requisites necessary to build a perfect shipyard, and these conditions were all fulfilled marvelously.

Following the general trend, the ship tool house, where the plates and frames are made ready for the ship, is nearest the launching ways. One end of this dim shop is floored with steel and resembles a gigantic checker-board; small square holes at regular intervals mark it in every direction, and square plugs like cribbage pegs stick up in lines and curves. A row of glowing furnaces stand at one side. If one is fortunate enough to be on hand at the right moment, a snake-like strip of red-hot metal may be seen issuing from the mouth of one of the furnaces, whence it is dragged, twisting and spitting flaming sparks, round the pegs that determine its final shape. The faces of the workmen are brought out in clear relief by the glowing ruddy light, and the half gloom deepens by comparison. In the ship tool shop are located the mighty shears that clip inch plates into the shape marked on them with chalk as laid out by the patterns from 


the mold loft. A punch bites out the rivet holes as easily as if the plates were made of cheese, and a man with a machine that looks like a lawn mower, operated by an electric motor, runs over the plate as it lies on the ground and countersinks the holes. Another application of the "Mahomet to the mountain" principle – in other shipyards the heavy plates are carried to a countersinking machine. In this building is also located a giant punch, which with one bite is capable of cutting a hole 18 by 36 inches in a nickel steel plate an inch thick. By this machine alone over $1,200 was saved in the cost of one vessel now being constructed.

The ship house stands towering over the ship tool shop, great as it is (55,770 square feet floor space), – the focus of all the lines of effort, as it is the point towards which all eyes turn. Built of steel girders, narrow and slender, the splendid fabric standing against the sky looks like a huge spider web. Yet so strong is this great structure that eight electric cranes, each carrying heavy weights, may be operated at once. The operators perched on the cranes themselves are 100 feet from the ground. Four ships of the size of the battleships now building, each of which has a beam of 76 feet, may be built at once in this ship house without interfering with one another in the least. This towering building is but 300 square feet less in sectional area than the South Terminal Station of Boston, which in this dimension is the largest of the world. From the foundations made of Quincy granite, laid under the roof of this ship house, will be launched two of Uncle Sam's mightiest battleships, and from the fitting-out pier, close at 

hand, will these great dogs of war start out for the official trial course off Cape Ann. The Cape Ann course is but a four or five hours' run from the FORE RIVER SHIP AND ENGINE COMPANY's  yard, a thing of considerable importance when the cost of $2,500 per diem for wages and maintenance on trial trips is considered.

Uncle Sam is an exceedingly careful buyer, and unless the very highest qualifications are proved, his patience is of the shortest. Rarely before in the history of the navy has a contract been awarded to one company for two first-class battleships. The "Rhode Island" and "New Jersey" are the largest vessels ever ordered by the United States of any company, and the fact that sister ships were ordered at the 


Where accidents to any of the employees get the best of surgical attention.


same time, as well as a cruiser and two torpedo boat destroyers, proved that the FORE RIVER SHIP AND ENGINE COMPANY is considered fully qualified to undertake any government work, no matter how exacting and tremendous. The two boats already built for the navy, following designs drawn by the FORE RIVER COMPANY, have already proved their efficiency.

The "Macdonough" and "Lawrence," the two torpedo boat destroyers, are rated by Government as 98 and 99 respectively, completed, and will within the next few weeks have their trial trips and be delivered to the navy.

The natural advantages of the Fore River plant and the proximity to the official trial course far outweigh the difference in freight rates between shipyards lying nearer to the great steel mills of Pennsylvania.

The attitude of employees toward their "company" is a fair index of the spirit in which that company is run. The workmen at the Fore River Works are always busy; there is

a kind of hearty vim to their work that suggests interest; they appreciate the benefits of the restaurant provided for their use, where food may be bought at very small cost. The hospital where employees are cared for by the company's doctor, at the company's expense, is not the least of the privileges which the men enjoy. A beautiful piece of property sloping down to the water has been bought by some of the officers of the Fore River yards, that is to be divided into small plots and sold to the employees at very low and easy terms. "A contented employee is a valuable asset" is the motto of this thriving shipyard.

On the river edge of the old town of Quincy, in the State of Massachusetts, has grown a great shipyard. So quickly has it risen that people of nearby Boston hardly knew of its existence; but it is safe to say the FORE RIVER SHIP AND ENGINE COMPANY is destined to play a large part in the rebuilding of the United States Navy and the American Merchant marine.




Probably the quickest repair job of its kind ever made in this country was completed by the Fore River Ship and Engine Company. The British steamship "Isle of Kent," of 3,038 gross tons, was in collision with the Spanish steamship "Amesti," on Dec. 14, 1901, about 350 miles east of Boston Light. The "Amesti" was struck amidships on the starboard side, the "Isle of Kent" hitting her bow on, and so great was the force of the blow that she was practically cut in half and sank in about 15 minutes, the crew, however, being saved. The "Isle of Kent" carried a cargo of cotton for a European port, and the fact that her fore peak, forward of

Fore River Ship and Engine Company, $25,500, time, twenty days.

The twenty-five day proposition of the Fore River Ship and Engine Company was accepted, the contract exacting a demurrage of $250 per day for failure to complete within the time specified. Within three days after signing the contract the steel forging for the stem was completed, it being in one  piece, 62 ft. long and 10 by 2¾-in. section. Had it not been for the company's forge equipment, the obtaining of such a forging would have been attended with serious delays.

the collision bulkhead, was full of cotton probably saved the vessel, for the cotton, acting as a cushion,  prevented the damage from extending back of the bulkhead, and she was able to reach the port of Boston.

After discharging 800 bales of cotton from No. 1 hold, the vessel was placed in dry dock for survey, and the accompanying photograph shows the condition of the stem and adjoining plating, two plates having been taken off to enable the removal of cotton in the fore peak. The injuries were found to involve about thirty plates and five pairs of frames, and bids for permanent repairs were opened December 30, the bids being as follows: Bertelsen & Peterson, $18,950, time, fifty-five days; Lockwood Manufacturing Company, $24,985, time, forty days; Atlantic Works, $22,450, time, forty days; Fore River Ship and Engine Company, $23,250, time, twenty-five days;

Although the work was carried on at East Boston, some ten miles from the Fore River Plant, this disadvantage did not prevent the completion of the contract well within the time agreed upon. The floating machine shop was towed from Quincy to the dry dock, thus greatly facilitating much of the work, and the company's steam lighter was in service between the works and the ship.

Those familiar with such repair jobs in this and other countries expressed surprise at the despatch with which the work was carried on, and also their belief that it was a record job, the ship having been floated out of dock in nineteen and a half working days, the job fully completed in twenty-four days, and the cargo restowed and the vessel ready to leave port on the evening of the twenty-fifth day. — Marine Review.