TRANSPORTATION ON THE GREAT LAKES
is an especially important factor in the steel
industry, the development of which has been greatly promoted by the large-scale operations which put the ores of the Mesaba, Vermilion, Gogebic, Baraboo, and the other ranges of Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan into direct and most profitable connection with the great mills that make the Twentieth Century emphatically the Age of Steel.
In this feature of lake transportation there is no more prominent leader than Harry Coulby, who has made it a specialty for a third of a century. Mr. Coulby was born in England, but has resided in Cleveland, Ohio, from boyhood, and after acquiring a sound education preparing him for business life, served as secretary to Secretary of State Hayes, of Ohio, in 1884-1885. In 1886 he started business life with the famous pig iron firm of Pickands, Mather & Company as stenographer, and continued with that firm in all its departments, but particularly of transportation, until he was finally given supervision of that firm's fleet of vessels engaged in the transportation of iron ore and coal on the Great Lakes, becoming recognized as an expert in that branch of lake transportation. He served as president of the Great Lakes Towing Company for a year, 1903, and on January 1, 1904, was elected to the position which he now holds as president of the Pittsburgh Steamship Company.
This company, which is the lake steamship subsidiary of the United States Steel Corporation, takes the lead in the transportation of iron ore on the Great Lakes, principally from the port of Duluth, although large shipments are also made by the fleet of the Pittsburgh Steamship Company from Marquette and Ashland, on Lake Superior, and from Escanaba, on Lake Michigan. From these loading ports ore is conveyed on the vessels of this company to Gary, South Chicago, Cleveland, Ashtabula, Conneaut, Fairport and other Lake Erie points for distribution to the furnaces of the great iron and steel corporations. The wonderful modern development of steel industries has been due to the opening up of the large ore resources of Minnesota and Northern Wisconsin, and facilities for bringing these ores to market by lake carriers, and especially by the Pittsburgh Steamship Company.
This company operates seventy-two steamers and numerous other vessels on the Great Lakes. Especially noteworthy in this fleet are about a dozen of specially advanced type, over six hundred feet long, and with a carrying capacity of 12,000 tons of ore, for the carrying of which they were especially designed and built. As is well known, the iron ores of the Mesaba Range are soft and are scooped out by steam shovels at the rate of a ton of ore every two seconds. This ore is shipped by rail to Duluth, where the corporation's ore docks are located. The newest of these docks has a total length of a mile and a quarter, half a mile of which juts out into St. Louis Bay, with a steel and concrete structure elevated eighty feet above water level. The trains, loaded with ore, dump their contents into huge pockets on the docks—the new dock having 400 of these pockets, each of 300 tons capacity. From these the ore is discharged into the vessels through long chutes let down into their holds. Loading is therefore accomplished by the natural force of gravity. On a test a 12,000-ton ship has been filled in half an hour, although the normal time of loading is, of course, much longer.
The unloading methods at the other end of the trip are no less marvelous in the wonderful mechanical devices of various kinds that are used, including the Hulett machines, which dip down into the hold of a vessel, and in the large sizes bring up fifteen tons of ore at a clutch. Fully as spectacular as the handling of the ore cargoes is the method adopted for loading the ore boats with coal for the ore-mining regions. At Con-neaut, for instance, a car with fifty tons of coal is seized by the equipment, lifted and swung out over the vessel, emptied of its contents in a few seconds and returned to the tracks.
Of this great steamship company Mr. Coulby is the executive head, chosen for his exceptional efficiency and experience. He is a member and director of the Executive Committee of the Lake Carriers' Association.