In early 1930, the Mystic Steamship Company sat down and had the firm of John C. Alden Naval Architects of Boston design them a pair of tugboats for their Boston Tow Boat operation. Built by M.M Davis & Sons Shipbuilding of Solomons, Maryland, they would be powered by the then growing in popularity – Diesel Electric Drive. While steel shipbuilding was gaining traction, the twins were both built out of wood.
The duo would go on to become flagship tugs for the company, and were used in a number of advertising for Winton, Cleveland Diesel and General Electric. By the late 1930’s, Boston Tow Boat would be reorganized as the Boston Towboat Co., now under parent company Eastern Gas & Fuel Associates, and ultimately falling under the Midland Enterprises banner, parent company to numerous inland tug and barge companies.
Luna and Venus are each powered by a pair of Winton 6 cylinder, 335HP/300RPM model 129 engines. Each engine drives a General Electric 213kW, 250V DC generator, with a 25kW exciter/generator mounted behind them on the same shaft. A single GE 516HP, 500V double armature (think of it as two 258HP motors together on a common shaft) electric propulsion motor would spin the prop at up to 125RPM. A battery bank was provided in the fidley to power the compressors and other auxiliary as needed. A major change bought on with Diesel Electric drive, now the Captain had full control of the propulsion right in the wheelhouse, and he did not have to rely on the engineer downstairs through a system of bells to control the engine. The Luna is often credited with being the first Diesel-Electric tug, however this is not true. That honor goes to the Pennsylvania Railroad #16, built in 1924. Luna may have been the first Diesel Electric tug in Boston, or even the first Diesel-Electric Ship Docking specific tug, but she was not the first overall.
The Luna and Venus, now painted in Boston Towboats deep red, with a silver stack band (its no varnished wood, but it was one of the authors favorite color schemes for a tug company) were working alongside the rest of the Boston Towboat fleet providing mainly ship docking work in the Boston area. Unfortunately, tugs grew quickly, so even by the 1950’s they were rather outdated and very under-powered. Luna and Venus were both retired in 1971 and languished around Boston for several years. Venus was owned by Bay State Cruise Co., and used as an office at Long Wharf. Luna was planned to become a reef. Boston Towboat itself would not be around much longer either, they would become part of Boston Fuel Transport in 1985.
By the early 1980’s, plans were in place to save the Luna. She was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. She and sister Venus were back together in the Charles River Basin, and Luna was being used as an office for the Terra/Marre Research & Education Society, her then owners. The Luna was under restoration and open for tours, and was still operational with one engine running, although she still sat unused. By the late 1980’s, the tug was now owned by/under control of the Metropolitan District Commission.
The inevitable finally caught up with the 60 year old tugs. Luna was beached and awash, with sister Venus next to her sunk by the bow. A plan was finally in place by the MDC, and Luna was raised in the summer of 1992 and towed to Jay Cashmans yard. Luna was being kept afloat with a 6″ pump running around the clock, and one night the pump ran out of fuel, and down she went at the dock.
Luna was finally raised, again and towed into the drydock at the former Bethlehem Shipyard in East Boston in December 1993. Fate would not be as kind to Venus, and she was broken up. Luna languished in the drydock until mid 1994 when the Luna Preservation Society was formed. The new group took over the project from the MDC, and was able to get the Luna stabilized by wrapping the hull in PVC roofing material, which kept her floating for the next 5 years. In 2000 the Luna was towed to Sample Shipyard in Maine, and underwent a 2 year long hull restoration.
Volunteers have since done an amazing job returning the Luna to her 1930’s appearance. The current plan is for her to become a new centerpiece at Pier 3, in the Boston Navy Yard. Unfortunately, having been submerged for so long, Luna will likely never run again. There were some plans to possibly install a small diesel engine in the back of the engine room so she could do some light cruising in the Harbor – Boy how I hope this does not happen. She serves her purpose well as a stationary vessel, a testament of 1930’s tugboat technology.
Here is hoping for a bright future for the Luna in her new home at the Navy Yard. Unfortunately the Luna Preservation Society’s website has not been updated in 17 years. http://www.tugboatluna.org/
Many thanks to Pat Folan and Will Van Dorp for use of their photos, and of course J. Boggess for scanning the Winton records and Cleveland booklets. Thanks to several of my Boston area tug friends for help with clearing up some details.
In 1948, the Lehigh Valley Railroad put in an order for a quartet of tugboats. The tugs, designed by TAMS Inc. Naval Architects under Richard Cook and Joseph Hack, were a typical 106’ harbor tug. I will get into this more in a future topic (or whenever I get my damn book finished!). The Diesel-Electric tugs were powered through a package put together by General Motors Diesel – Cleveland Diesel main engine, Detroit Diesel generators, Allis-Chalmers main generator, Westinghouse propulsion motor, and electrical gear provided by Lakeshore Electric. Construction of the tugs began in early 1949 at Jakobson Shipyard in Oyster Bay, Long Island. The tugs would be named the “Wilkes-Barre”, “Hazleton”, “Cornell”, and “Lehigh”. The 4 tugs were identical, with the exception that “Cornell” and “Lehigh” had wheelhouses slightly lower than the other pair for serving the isolated terminals on the Harlem River.
The tugs were powered by the typical Cleveland Diesel Navy Propulsion Package. A 16-278A engine, rated at 1655HP driving an Allis-Chalmers 1090kW DC generator, mounted on a common base. In turn, this powered a Westinghouse 1380HP propulsion motor, driving a 10’ propeller through a Farrel-Birmingham 4.132:1 reduction gear. At the time, WWII surplus equipment was vast. Cleveland Diesel was acquiring little used engines from various craft and giving them a complete rebuild to as new condition, complete with new serial numbers. The main generators and propulsion motors were both surplus Destroyer-Escort surplus equipment as well.
“Cornell” was launched on April 4th, 1950. After launching, diver Edward Christiansen went down to remove launching timbers. One of the large pieces of wood broke and not only pinned him against the tug, but also pinched off his airline. His son Norman led a rescue effort, and in 21 minutes were able to get him back up to the surface after using a yard crane to roll the tug slightly. Once on the surface, firefighters were able to revive Edward, and he was taken to the hospital.
Cleveland Diesel order #5782 consisted of the following engines:
“Wilkes Barre”– Original engine #55341, installed in US Navy “LSM-277”, shipped 9/5/1944. Engine removed upon decommissioning, factory rebuilt, and assigned new engine #55944 upon being shipped 5/13/1949 for use by LV.
“Hazleton”– Original engine #55342, installed in US Navy “LSM-277”, shipped 9/5/1944. Engine removed upon decommissioning, factory rebuilt, and assigned new engine #55945 upon being shipped 5/13/1949 for use by LV.
“Cornell”– Original engine #12001, installed in US Navy DE-526 “Inman”, shipped 10/15/1943. Engine removed upon decommissioning, factory rebuilt, and assigned new engine #55946 upon being shipped 8/29/1949 for use by LV. This engine was replaced 12/1950 with factory rebuilt engine #55956 (engine only, less base & generator, shipped 12/15/1950), originally from “LSM-184”, engine #55347, shipped 9/7/1944.
“Lehigh”– Original engine #55654, installed in US Navy “LSM-436”, shipped 1/23/1945. Engine removed upon decommissioning, factory rebuilt, and assigned new engine #55946 upon being shipped 3/21/1950 for use by LV. In the early 1990s, while owned by Moran Towing, the “Lehigh” (then called “Swan Point”) received the engine from the scrapped NY Cross Harbor tug “Brooklyn III”, the former New Haven tug “Cordelia”, which was a WWII surplus engine like all of the rest, originally in Navy DE-259 “William C. Miller”, which is ironic, as the Bethlehem below, also received one of her engines.
Lehigh Valley would return in 1951/53 for two more tugs of the same design, with some slight differences. These tugs were powered by the same propulsion package, of WWII surplus equipment.
Cleveland Diesel order #8112:
“Capmoore”– Original engine #11734, installed in US Navy DE-259 “Wm. C. Miller” , shipped 5/1/1943. Engine removed upon decommissioning, factory rebuilt, and assigned new engine #55964 upon being shipped 4/19/1951 for use by LV.
Cleveland Diesel order #314
“Bethlehem”– Original engine #11736, installed in US Navy DE-259 “Wm. C. Miller”, shipped 5/1/1943. Engine removed upon decommissioning, factory rebuilt, and assigned new engine #55966 upon being sold for commercial use. Original order canceled, reassigned engine #55991 upon being shipped 5/8/1953 for use by LV. “Bethlehem” was re-powered by an Alco 16-251 in the early 1990s, and is the only other surviving LVRR tug, now working in Guyana.
Naturally, with the downfall of the railroads maritime traffic, the railroad would start selling the tugs off starting in the early 1960s. “Cornell” would last until 1970, with Bethlehem being the final LV tug, sold off in 1976. As noted above, for an unknown reason, the engine in the “Cornell” failed almost immediately after delivery and the bare engine (no base or generator) was replaced by Cleveland.
The US Fleet Tug “USS Cabezon” – SS 334, slid down the ways of Electric Boat in Groton, CT on August 27th, 1944, sponsored by Mrs. T. Ross Cooley. “Cabezon” was on the tail end of WWII sub construction, specifically part of the 120 boat Balao class. Construction started with her keel laying on November 18th, 1943. She was placed into service on December 30th, 1944, and after training went on to Pearl Harbor in April of 1945, under the command of George W. Lautrup Jr., making this his 10 WWII patrol.
“Cabezon” was powered by 4 Cleveland Diesel, 1600HP 16-278A engines, driving 4 GE 1100kW DC generators, with 4 GE 1375HP propulsion motors, rated for 5400HP on the surface and 2740 submerged. She had a single Cleveland 8-268A 300kW auxiliary diesel, and 256 Exide VLA47B battery’s.
After arriving in Pearl, “Cabezon’s” crew underwent more training. During which an accident occurred. The 4 outer rear torpedo tube doors were opened, while 2 of the inner doors were open. The sub immediately began to flood. Reid Harrison Peach Jr., TM1c, William Cliffard Markland, TM1c and Brownie Walter Szozygiel, TM1c were each awarded the Navy Marine Corps medal for their action in saving the sub.
“Cabezon” went on her first WWII patrol starting May 25th, 1945, in the Okhotsk Sea and Kurile Islands, operating in attack task group 17.15 with subs “USS Apogon”, “USS Dace” and “USS Manta”. “Cabezon’s” war patrol report is fairly tame, being so late into the war. On June 1st, they spotted a floating mine, which they sunk with the .50 caliber machine gun. A second was spotted June 6th, which exploded after they hit it with the .50 cal. On June 18th, “Apogon” made contact with a Japanese convoy, attacked and sunk 3 ships by midnight. At 0130, another contact was made, in range of “Cabezon”. After 30 minutes of pursuit, she launched 3 Mk. 18-2 torpedoes from 2250 yards. Two hits were observed from the bridge, as well as 3 timed explosions, and the contact was reported sinking at 0223. June 29th – Another contact made at 2145, lasting until 0025, when it was discovered a shorting out heater was the cause. “Cabezon’s” war patrol ended July 10th, when she arrived at Midway.
“Cabezon” would be credited with sinking one unidentified Japanese escort (Later identified as the “Zaosan Maru”), rated at 4000 tons. 103,485 gallons of fuel were used during the trip, which covered 10,275 miles. She had 21 torpedoes, 32,510 gallons of fuel and provisions left for 15 days. “Cabezon” went on to Pearl for her refit period and left for Saipan on August 4th. Hours before leaving for her 2nd patrol, WWII ended. “Cabezon” stayed in the area, providing targeting practice for surface ships, before leaving for the Philippine Islands in early September to become part of the new Submarine Squadron 5, with subs “USS Chub”, “USS Brill”, “USS Bugara”, “USS Bumper”, “USS Sea Dog”, “USS Sea Devil” and “USS Sea Fox”. In December, Squadron 5 returned to Manilla, and joined up with the “USS Chanticleer” and Destroyer Escorts “Earl K. Olsen” and “Slater” (Now a fantastic museum ship in Albany) for training exercises. “Cabezon” would go on to do a short stint in San Diego, and later Pearl Harbor, doing trips for the Naval Reserve. In 1947, she took part in Operation Blue Nose, exploring under the Polar Ice Caps along with subs “USS Boarfish”, “USS Caiman” and tender “USS USS Nereus”. “Cabezons” final trips would be in two reconnaissance patrols, one in March-July of 1950, and the 2nd April-October of 1952 between Hokkaido Japan, and Sakhalin, USSR.
“Cabezon” would set out for Mare Island in April of 1953 where she was laid up in the Pacific Reserve Fleet. She was recommissioned in April of 1960 as a Naval Reserve Training boat in Tacoma Washington, and reclassed in 1962 as an Auxiliary Research Submarine, until being decommissioned in 1970. She was struck from the roster on May 15th, 1970, and sold for scrap to Zidell Explorations, of Portland Oregon in December of 1971, for $69,230.
While on Patrol, “Cabezon” had a unique engine failure, as outlined in her war patrol report below. #4 main engine, is one of the Portside engines on the sub, on the after end (#2 and #4 are Port, #1 and #3 Starboard). The port engines are both left hand rotation engines.
In 1970, Lehigh Valley sold the tug to Ross Towboat, of Boston Massachusetts, keeping her original name in the process. Ross was actively engaged in Ship Docking, as well as barge towing in Boston, as well as all New England. Ross would do some slight modifications to the tug, including adding an internal staircase to access the pilothouse, as well as add a full galley and staterooms to have a full-time crew on board, whereas the tug did only 8-hour day work for LVRR. In early 1972 the tug had a catastrophic main engine failure. Thanks to my friend Douglas Della Porta of Eastern Towboat, he recounted the story of what happened.
While transiting the Cape Cod Canal, the tug lost oil pressure. Unfortunately, they needed to keep moving, and thus at the end of the day, the engine was destroyed. Ross found an engine out West – Engine 14974, and installed it in the tug as a replacement – The 3rd engine in the “Cornell” (same exact model every time). This is the engine still in the “Cornell” today. Several years ago, my good friend J. Boggess presented me with the Cleveland records above, which is when we found out the engine in the “Cornell”, was actually from the “Cabezon”. There is a 50/50 shot that this is the engine that was almost destroyed while in the “Cabezon” as noted above.
This past July I embarked on a project I have been planning for some time – To repaint the engine finally. “Cornell” was a working boat – And shes a leaker (like all 278’s…EMD learned from this mistake, and put a box around them all!), thus painting was never a huge priority. Since being retired from towing service this year, and with some downtime, I got to it. The project commenced on the Starboard side, with 2 gallons of de-greaser, and lots of rags. I opted to paint her in Aluminum, the original color Cleveland Diesel painted all of their engines. Ill tell you – it was bright. Many years ago, one of the first things I painted on “Cornell” was the fuel lines on the block. Tugs typically have a good portion of the pipelines color coded for easy spotting of what they do – thus yellow for fuel. After repainting the fuel lines yellow, and the over speed trip line brown, I painted the hand hole knobs black, just to help break it up a bit, and give it a bit of her own character.
Something on my wish list for several years has been a Cleveland Diesel issued 278A manual, specifically for a submarine. I was able to track one down earlier this year, and best of all, it is specific to the engine in the Cornell.
“Cornell” spent the better part of the 1970’s for Ross, doing all kinds of odd jobs, including a long trip up to Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin to pick up the Boston Aquariums new barge. Not long after the engine was swapped, the main generator, quite literally let loose while towing a barge, and was also swapped out. She would go on to work for Boston Fuel Transport/Boston Towing until being sold privately in 2003, and ultimately to Lehigh Maritime Corp. in 2007.
Ill close this post out with a photo of the “Cornell” at work. Now I just need to paint the other side of the engine…and everything else down there…
This week, we have one of the many George Drake designed, Gulfport built 102’2″ tugs for the Navy. In the early 1940’s, Cleveland Diesel began building tugs on spec. for the upcoming war. The design was a simple harbor tug, with 4 state rooms, large crew fo’c’sle, central galley and a single head. Under the hood, the tugs had a Cleveland 12-278 engine driving an 800kW generator, powering a 1000HP propulsion motor. The design was later revised with a slightly different interior arrangement, and the wheelhouse raised up a bit. Quite a number of these tugs were built for the Navy as YT’s, and after the war, the design became one of Gulfport Shipbuildings “stock” designs. At some point TAMS Inc. acquired the design from George Drake, and kept it in the catalog so to speak. A large number of these tugs – essentially all the same, in cookie cutter fashion, were built for the commercial towing industry into the 1960’s.
The tug in the advertisement, is the YT 174 “Allaquippa”, built by Gulfport in 1941. She was struck from the Navy in 1969, and apparently sunk in the mid 1990s.
From “Diesel Electric Vessels Powered by Cleveland Diesel”
Ill start with a bit of prequel to this story with some history. The Tug Cornell is powered by a Cleveland Diesel “Navy Propulsion Package”, which consists of a Cleveland 16-278A and an Allis Chalmers 1090kW, 525V DC Generator, mounted on a common base. In turn, this provides power for a Westinghouse 1350HP electric propulsion motor, driving a Farrel-Birmingham single reduction gear. Except for the gear, all this equipment is reconditioned WWII surplus, Destroyer-Escort equipment. Lots more to come on this equipment in a future post.
Both ends of the main generator, as well as the forward end of the propulsion motor are supported by large, oil fed babbit pedestal bearings. The generator ones are fed by the main engine lube oil system, and the propulsion motor one is fed off the reduction gear oil system. The motor only has a single support bearing on the front, as the rear is supported by the reduction gear. In April of 2012, we burned up the aft support bearing on the generator; however, I will save that for later, as I documented this instance better.
In September of 2015, on a Sunday afternoon, we were just leaving with the tug to head down river, with another small tug (Pilot, Dave’s tug) alongside. The plan was to drop off the Pilot in Verplank, head to the city to pick up a barge, and then back to Kingston as we had training class days later in the week in Kingston. About 45 minutes out, just at the Esopus Meadows light just South of Kingston, I go down and do my engine room checks. I have my routine, I go down the stairs, around the front, back, around, back to the gear, and back up…so, coming around the front, I smell burning. The best way I can describe it is a burning electrical smell. I remembered the smell from when we burnt up the generator bearing. So, I kind of figured it was THAT bearing acting up again, I run around back looking for the thermal gun, and in the process put my hand on top of the motor bearing (part of my routine..), and yeah, at that point I knew what was really happening!
So, I get on the horn to the wheelhouse (we have a radio from
the engine room to the wheelhouse) to go all stop, GET THE PILOT RUNNING!, and
GET DOWN HERE!, I run for the hose to start getting water on the thing. (270
degrees on the shell right now). Dave starts steering, Don runs over and
gets Pilot running (This is after we drained the fuel tanks this week, leaving
only 50 gallons on the day tank…) Matt runs down and helps me start cooling
this thing down with just water and rags. By now, we are just hanging out
in one of the wider parts of the river. Pilot
is running and ready to go alongside and holding us. Me and Don start
tearing the oil lines apart to the bearing. We put air to it, and it shot
a solid slug of crap out…
Now, the forward support bearing, is pressure fed from the reduction gear. Its a very simple system. There is a suction line from the sump of the reduction gear with a check valve, this goes to the pump driven off the main pinion. From the pump, it goes through a cooler, strainer, then T’s off. One line goes up to the support bearing on the motor, and the other goes to the gearbox, for the top spray line, and the pinion and thrust bearings (which are SKF ROLLER BEARINGS!) in the gearbox. All the oil is crystal clear and looks fine. it was just that one slug of shit, in the lowest part of the system. The system is only supposed to run at 110 degrees, at 5-8 psi.
So, we get this thing cleaned out, Pilot is holding us so we don’t
drift all over the place ( Dave’s friend managed to see this from shore!) we
get it back together, but we can’t get the pump on the gearbox to reprime quick
enough to cool the bearing and get some oil to it. We thought we might
have caught it before it went nuclear, but when we turned the excitation on
(When you turn it on, the motor creeps sometimes), we got the nail on
Ok, Time to have Pilot turn us around, and tow us back to the dock. Nothing we are going to do out here now.
With the upper half of the pedestal removed, and the upper shell removed we saw the damage was done. All of the babbit melted out and then reset when it cooled off. What looks like scoring on the armature shaft, is actually just streaks of babbit.
In removing the lower half of the shell, we made the observation that this has happened once before. Notice on the upper lip where it has been built up with brazing from where the shaft dropped and wore out the shell. Note the two oil drain holes in the center. Also, note the heat distortion. This shell got to over 500 degrees to melt that babbit in that fashion. Luckily, the shell was not warped.
So, a few years ago our fellow engineer friend Tim Ivory built a centrifugal bearing machine, to re-pour the main bearings in the tug “Spooky Boat”s Fairbanks-Morse 35F10M engine. Well, it turned out we were the first to make use of it two years prior when we cooked that generator support bearing. Since then Tim has made several bearings for various projects.
The barge in the city can wait until next week, but the class days Wednesday, Thursday and Friday can’t be rescheduled. Sunday night we got the shell apart. It is only 4 cap bolts, 4 shell bolts, and a pipe fitting into the shell for the oil line. After we got the motor armature shaft supported, the lower shell just spins out.
We were not able to do anything Sunday night. It turned out, Tim already had the bearing machine off the storage rack, and had one of the small, 2″ bearings for Spooky boats 1 Cylinder FM generator mounted in it to re do. We took care of that on Sunday to get it out of the way.
Monday, Matt (Owner of Cornell), had to go to the city and take care of a few things. Great, we found a foundry down there that has the babbitt in stock (Belmont Metals), and we can pick it up. Next, we need gaskets, The bearing mounts to the table using 4 studs and a plate. The shell needs a gasket where it meets the mounting plate, or the hot liquid babbitt just pours out all over. It is a 4″, ring style flange gasket, rated for hi-temp, usually graphite based, 1/8th” thick. We can’t source them locally. I found a place in Brooklyn that has them, I call them, tell them exactly what I need. Ok, fine no problem, 6 in stock. While this is going on, we prep the shell. Simply, melting the old babbitt out.
The next issue at hand was that we needed a plug. On the after side of the bearing, the outer edge of the shell rides on the larger portion of the shaft forming a mechanical oil seal. Unlike the bearing on the generator which used a labyrinth cut into the babbit, this bearing just have a tight tolerance fit, and thus we need to keep this entire area clear of any babbit. Tim had the great idea to make a simple one out of the bottom of an old scuba tank!
After the bearing is cleaned out and tinned, the halves are bolted together with an aluminum shim plate, which is sealed with hi-temp silicone. The shims create a space so that the shell can be split apart after the babbit is cooled, and the babbit wont stick to the aluminum.
Now, Matt shows up with the gaskets Monday afternoon…totally wrong thing. Back to the drawing board. I managed to find a plumbing supply house about an hour away. We shoot down, and start telling them what we need, and comes the typical “What is the application..” Our response, “Can you just take us to where you keep them, and we will get what we need?” They take us to them, score! they had what we needed.
The shell itself is sandwiched into the machine using 4 studs attached to the bed plate, and a steel plate with the center cut out. After a few minutes getting the bearing centered and balanced, it is ready to go. Each of the 4 studs is wrapped in fiberglass insulation to help prevent the stud from stretching, and have stiff springs outside of the plate to take up and stretch while being heated, and even still they are periodically re-tightened. The gasket sits between the top plate and the shell.
Next up, rotating the assembly down 90 degrees and preheating the bearing using the roofing torch to around 500 degrees. In the background the babbit is being melted.
We melted 12 pounds of babbit and poured in about 9. After pouring, the shell is immediately hit with water to cool it. This is so the shell cools and shrinks from the outside, so the babbit does not crack.
With the new babbit poured, we went back and cleaned up the shaft. It had some very, very light scoring on it that we were able to polish out. We took a slew of measurements, and were now ready to machine it.
We put the thing back together about 11pm on Tuesday, figured out how to get the oil pump reprimed, cleaned all the lines out, and started the boat about 11:15. We spent the next hour running it, getting it scrapped in with a razor blade and bluing dye (run for 25m, take it out, scrape…repeat..). We used timesaver compound (an old timers trick for babbitt bearings, which alot of old manuals for big engines specifically say to use for this exact purpose), to help get it wore in.
The class days we took it easy, no more then 100 shaft rpm (so about 400 on the motor). We never seen more then 100 degrees on it. Here we are almost 4 years later, and the bearing runs perfectly fine, and stays right around that 110 degree mark. For all intensive purposes, we were able to turn this repair around in around 48 hours, completely in house.
Since this happened, not only have we managed to acquire a spare support bearing shell set, but I even managed to find an original Cleveland issue manual, that covered the Generators, Motor and the pedestal bearings for both, with complete spec sheets.
Farrel-Birmingham was yet another prominent WWII (and before) era manufacturer of reduction gears and the like. During WWII, Farrel-Birmingham would supply gears for hundreds of tugs, ships, ferrys and every many other pieces of floating plant. In the post war years, working with GM, thy would supply the reduction gears for almost every Diesel Electric tug powered by Cleveland Diesel right up until the 1960’s.
The setup shown above was originally used in the tug “Raymond Card”, a 95′ tug powered by a Cleveland 12-567, with a 615kW Generator. In turn, this powered the 750HP 600V DC propulsion motor, that fed the Farrel-Birmingham 3.75:1 reduction gear. This same setup would be used on other tugs of the same design later on.
Farrel-Birmingham would exit the gear market in the 1960’s. They still exist today as the Farrell Pomini company, specializing in plastic manufacturing equipment.
In 1952, the Great Lakes Towing Company would purchase the former Milwaukee Fireboat “M.F.D. #15”. Great Lakes Towing, looking to build a large lake tug, for doing offshore over lake towing chores, would purchase the fireboat, and strip it to its bare hull. Over the next 2 years, the fireboat was rebuilt into a tug, including its conversion to Diesel Electric drive. Now named the “Laurence C. Turner”, after the president of the company, she would become Great Lakes Towing’s largest tug. The tug was no youngster, built in 1903 by the Ship Owners Shipbuilding Co., in Chicago, and came in at 118’ long, 24’ wide and a 13’6” draft.
Coincidentally a few weeks ago I was browsing a 1949 issue of Marine News, and came across an ad for Boston Metals Company, advertising a slew of surplus WWII vintage equipment. Boston Metals was a rather prominent ship breaker and scrapped quite a bit of WWII era vessels such as Destroyer Escorts, Landing Crafts of all sizes, Liberty Ships and everything else you can think of.
Naturally, doing all of the Cleveland Diesel research lately – two engines caught my eye. While it was common to see these engines listed in the trade publications for sale, it was rare (as in, I have yet to see it anywhere other then this one ad) to see the actual engine serial numbers listed. So, off to the records…
Engines 11907 and 11909 were originally part of Cleveland Diesel order #4752, which covered a vast portion of Destroyer Escorts. These specific engines (and two others) would go into 1943 built DE-278, to be named the “USS Tisdale”. DE-278 was never commissioned in the US and went to Britain as part of WWII Lend-Lease and would be commissioned by the Royal Navy as the “HMS Keats”. She would receive partial credit for sinking German U-Boat U-1172 as well as U-285. After the war, the Royal Navy returned the “HMS Keats” to the US, where she would be sold for scrap in 1946. The other pair of 16-278A’s from the “HMS Keats” would wind up in Norway, in the “MS Rogaland”.
“HMS Keats” was powered by 4 “Navy Propulsion Diesel Generator” packages. These were a 1700HP Cleveland 16-278A engines, which drove an Allis-Chalmers 1200kW, 525V DC generator. In turn these provided power to 4 Westinghouse 1500HP DC motors, of which two in tandem drove each prop shaft. After the war, Cleveland Diesel would wind up purchasing back quite a number of engines, which in turn they rebuilt to new condition and resold. In some cases, new serial numbers were added, however some kept their original number. Cleveland would wind up with two engines from the “HMS Keats”. Each of these engines were put on a single base, with one of the Allis-Chalmers generators, as well as adding a belt driven 35kW generator mounted on top of the main generator. This power package (along with a single Westinghouse motor) would be a very common tug propulsion package, and we will dive into that more down the road in a future article.
Engine 11907 was rebuilt and sold to Tracy Towing Line in NYC, and used in the tug “Helen L. Tracy”, and 11909 would go to Great Lakes Towing Co., for use in the “Laurence C. Turner”. By now the “Laurence C. Turner” was totally rebuilt, and now looked like a tugboat, and not a fireboat. The tug would have provisions for a crew of 13, a large central galley, 7 state rooms, 2 heads, and an 18 person lifeboat. One interesting feature was the Almon-Johnson electric towing machine on the back deck.
In 1972, the “Laurence C. Turner” was renamed as the “Ohio” to fit in more with the fleets state class naming. In 1977, she was re-powered. Out came the electric drive, and in went a brand new, 2000HP EMD 16-645E6 engine with a Falk reverse-reduction gear and air clutches. All of this drives a 102″x72″ 5 bladed wheel.
The “Ohio” would be Great Lakes Towing’s main lake tug until being laid up in late 2014. 111 years of service, 60 of which as a tug – Not bad! But her life did not end there. In 2018, the Towing Company donated the “Ohio” to the National Museum of the Great Lakes, in Toledo, Ohio. The “Ohio” was moved into place at the Museum in October of 2018 and has been under restoration since. “Ohio” has been fully water blasted, repainted, and cleaned up. The Wheelhouse has been fully restored, and work is well underway by volunteers on the rest of the boat. “Ohio” will be dedicated this coming week as a museum ship, and alongside her will be the new tug “Ohio” getting christened at the same time as Great Lakes Towing’s newest tug. The “Ohio” will be an excellent addition to the museum and will be open for tours later this year.
In 1940, Moran Towing would order a 121’ tug, designed by Tams Inc., Naval Architects. The tug would be a decent sized ocean tug for its day (very small by today’s standards), named the “Edmond J. Moran”, after the nephew of Moran Towing’s then president Eugene F. Moran.
The “Edmond J. Moran” was built by Pennsylvania Shipyards, in Beaumont, Texas, with hull number 231 and was delivered in late 1940 to Moran. The tug was powered by engines supplied by Cleveland Diesel, who worked very closely with Tams Inc. The Diesel Electric tug had the first pair of production Cleveland 12-278 engines (NOT 278A engines), rated at 950HP/750RPM. Each engine drove a generator, which in turn powered a pair of electric motors that fed into a double input Farrell -Birmingham reduction gear, with a single output.
Edmond J. Moran took over Moran Towing as president in 1941, but it was short lived. With the onset of WWII, Edmond re-enlisted, and Eugene would return as interim president. During the war, Edmond would become a lieutenant commander in the Navy reserve. Later on, Edmond would wind up assembling a fleet of tugs that would help lead the charge in the invasion of Normandy. While Edmond J. Moran was doing this, the tug named for him was also doing war work. While the “Edmond J. Moran” was not outright requisitioned for the war, the tug was on a government charter.
During the war, the “Edmond J. Moran” had one hell of a record. She would log over 100,000 miles of service, literally all over the globe. The tug would tow dredges through the Panama Canal, rescue British sailors from a raft at sea, tow various torpedo victims including one specific incident: The tug was towing a British ship to the yard that was torpedoed. There were 91 people onboard. The ship under tow, wound up being attacked again by a German U boat. The tug, under Captain Hugo Kroll, would spend the next several hours playing chicken with the sub, while picking up the survivors. All 91 people were picked up by the tug and would ultimately make it to shore. The tug only had basic armor, a pair of 40mm guns, and the ability to drop a handful of depth charges after 1942.
The war exploits of the tug were well covered in an article published in Popular Science Monthly, September 1944 issue, which was reprinted by Cleveland Diesel in the December 1946 issue of Diesel Times, the company newsletter.
After the war, Edmond J. Moran would return to the states (after being promoted to Rear Admiral for his services at Normandy) and resume running Moran Towing in 1946, and became Chairman in 1964. He would retire in 1984, and ultimately passed away at age 96, in 1993.
The “Edmond J. Moran”, after returning from her war service, would join the Moran fleet and work as one of their main ocean tugs alongside a handful of former Army LT tugs for some years. The Edmond would live out her final days for Moran in Portland Maine, docking ships, now with a lowered stack and wheelhouse.
In 1976, Beltema Dock & Dredge bought the tug from Moran and bought her up to the Great Lakes. Before entering service, they had renowned Naval Architect Joe Hack and his firm Marine Design Inc., redesign and update the tug. Included was an all new wheelhouse and captains cabin, as well as a repower with a streamlined stack. Out came the Clevelands and electric drive, and a new EMD 16-567C and clutch package went in. The tug was then renamed the “Barbara Andrie”. Beltema would become Canonie Transportation in 1981, and ultimately Andrie, Inc. in 1988. The tugs main work has been moving an asphalt barge throughout the Great Lakes.
In 2015 the “Barbara Andrie” was removed from doing barge work, and semi-retired. The tug currently lives in Andrie’s yard in Muskegon, and does winter ice breaking work and the occasional assist job or ship tow.
I think every Tuesday I am going to try and post some sort of old advertising. I have so much of it, and its a great window into the past. Today we will feature the USS Sperry and Marquette Metal Products.
Marquette Metal Products was a manufacturer of many styles of hydraulic governors well into the 1960s. Marquette became a subsidiary of Curtiss-Wright in 1946, and unfortunately I can not find when they company was finally dissolved. Marquette governors are still fairly common, although not as much as Woodward’s these days. The governor on the ad is a model B102A7 Hydraulic Governor, which were very common on Cleveland and EMD engines.
The USS Sperry was a Fulton class Submarine tender, built in 1941, lasting in service until 1982, and finally scrapped in 2011. The Sperry was a Diesel-Electric drive ship, with 8x Cleveland 16-248 engines for propulsion and 3x 12-248 ship service generators and a single 6-248 engine for emergency use. 8 1,440 HP propulsion motors fed into two separate gear boxes, driving two 15′ propellers.