Marine Link
Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company


AMONG the established plants which the l United States Shipping Board found al- ready equipped for efficient service in connection with the execution of its extensive shipbuilding program is that of the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company, of Manitowoc, Wis.

The company was incorporated in 1902 by Elias Gunnell, Charles C. West and Lynford E. Geer, bought the plant from H. B. & G. B. Burger at Manitowoc and developed it into a modern shipbuilding plant of especially effective equipment. The location is ideal, comprising a peninsula of 35 acres, connected with the mainland by a narrow isthmus 800 feet wide, and having 4,800 feet of river frontage entirely used for .rays, shops, and fitting-out purposes. The officers of the company are E. Gunnell, president; C. C. West, vice-president and general manager; and L. E. Geer, secretary and treasurer. The company are designers and builders of steel ships and marine engines and boilers, and, before the war, specialized in the construction of passenger steamers, hydraulic and other dredges, self-unloading cargo boats, tugs, and lighters, and the plant has now been enlarged so as to build vessels of like purpose adapted for ocean-going use. The company for several months has been engaged in the construction of cargo steamers for the United States Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation, and during the year 1919 will deliver twenty-four 4,200-t0n (deadweight) steamers, equipped with 1,550 I.IT.P. triple-expansion engines.

The shipbuilding plant includes six ways, and for lake service can build vessels up to 600 feet in length. The company has a modern marine engine building plant and one of the newest and largest boiler shops on the Great Lakes. They have a complete equipment for ship repairs, including two drydocks, one a steel floating dock and the other a graving dock. The company's operations are upon a large scale and include everything necessary to build and equip a vessel complete and ready for service. In addition to building hulls they design and construct in their own shops engines, boilers, and auxiliaries, and they employ a force of about 2,500 men.

The management is as efficient as the equipment is complete, Mr. Elias Gunnell, the president of the company, having been engaged in the shipbuilding business from boyhood on the Atlantic Coast and the Great Lakes. Before becoming president of the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company he was general superintendent in the Chicago Shipbuilding Company from 1890 to 1902. Mr. Gunnell was one of the original developers of the use of pneumatic tools in shipbuilding, and is the inventor of many improved tools and machines for use in connection with shipbuilding. He is one of the best-known American shipbuilders and is dean of the profession on the Great Lakes. Mr. Gunnell's associates as officers in the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company were both associated with him in the Chicago Shipbuilding Company until they left that service to organize the Manitowoc Company.

Mr. Charles C. West is a graduate naval architect from Cornell University, receiving the degree of M.E. in the class of 1900. Upon leaving the university he was with the Chicago Shipbuilding Company and worked in all the different depart-ments until the Manitowoc Company was formed.

Mr. Lynford E. Geer, secretary and treasurer, started in the shipbuilding business with Mr. Gunnell in the Chicago Shipbuilding Company in 1S90, and was assistant secretary of that company when he left in 1902 to take the present office with the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company.

Mr. Archibald P. Rankin, assistant general manager and chief engineer, comes from a family of engineers, having received his preliminary training and served his apprenticeship in the well- known marine engine building firm of Rankin and Blackmore, of Greenock, Scotland. He later came to this country, and for a long time occupied the position of chief engine designer and marine engineer for the American Shipbuilding Company of Cleveland, Ohio. Resigning in 1913, he opened offices as consulting engineer, but was shortly offered sufficient inducement to bring him to Manitowoc. Mr. Rankin is a thoroughly grounded engineer and his work is well and favorably known among the shipbuilding fraternity of the Great Lakes.