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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Liberty Shipbuilding & Transportation Company


THE imperative necessity for the rapid building of vessels of many kinds created by the needs of the United States and the Allied Powers furnished the opportunity for putting into practical use many ideas in shipbuilding which had not before passed the experimental stage.

One of the most important of these new departures was in the larger and practical application of the idea of using reinforced concrete as a material for the construction of water craft. The pioneer and leading enterprise engaged in the building of vessels of that material is The Liberty Shipbuilding & Transportation Company, which has its yard at Cleveland, Ohio. The company was originally organized with the design of building power workboats with the use of cement, and work on the yard was begun early in May, 1918. In July the company was awarded a contract by the Quartermaster's Department of the United States Army for the building of six barges of reinforced concrete intended for use as car- floats in American harbors.

The barges built under this contract are 265 feet long, 37 feet 2 inches beam, and n feet 3 inches deep. They have a draft of 5 feet 3 inches when light. These barges are designed to carry sixteen freight cars as a maximum load. Their draft will be 9 feet 3 inches when loaded. They have two longitudinal and four transverse bulk-heads. The bottom and decks of the barges are inches thick. The sides and bulkheads are 3^4 inches thick.

In connection with the building of concrete craft The Liberty Shipbuilding & Transportation Company took under consideration the solving of various problems in connection with methods of construction which have greatly exercised those engaged in the concrete ship industry. One of the problems was that of the removal of the outer mold in which the vessel is poured. The early vessel practice was to build the vessel upside down, in which case the mold was readily removed. It is, however, not always practicable to launch vessels in this position. Another method, that of launching the vessel with the outer mold still in place, was followed in some cases, and under that method the mold was removed and recovered after launching. The Liberty Shipbuilding & Transportation Company's engineers, however, devised a plan by which the outer forms are made in three sections, comprising two sides running to a point just under the curve of the bilges and three bottom sections. Each of these sections, in turn, is composed of units approximately six feet square. After the vessel is poured and dried the side forms are moved back four feet and left standing. The part of the bottom forms directly above the launching ways are also removed and a launching cradle is built up from the ways. The remainder of the forms are then removed and the entire hull can be inspected as the float is standing on the ways ready for launching.

The advantage of this method is that the sections that compose the molds can be used over and over again with minor repairs, thus effecting a large saving in the material used. The plan contemplated their use at least three times. There is also a saving in time by the fact that the putting together of these frames can be quickly done, for their subsequent use after first being built.

The company has made plans for building car- floats, barges, and similar small craft in short time, and it is calculated that the car-floats can be built in about two months. The company is intimately associated with The Cleveland Builders' Supply Company, The Kelley Island Lime & Transport Company and The Watson Engineer-ing Company.

The officers are John A. Kling, president, of The Kelly Island Lime & Transport Company, of Cleveland; Kermode F. Gill, of The John Gill Sons Company, Cleveland, first vice-president; W. T. Duggan, second vice-president and contract manager; W. T. Rossiter, vice-president of The Cleveland Builders' Supply Company, is secretary; H. Schmitt, treasurer; John Mahony, of The Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company, is general manager and purchasing agent, and Wilbur J. Watson, of The Watson Engineering Company, is the chief engineer. All of these men are of practical experience in the handling of construction problems. The company's work is of value not only for the vessels it builds, but also as a demonstration of concrete as a vessel material-

Maritime Reporter Magazine Cover Dec 2017 - The Great Ships of 2017

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