Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Great War's Largest Shipyard: Hog Island, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Shipways at Hog Island

The United States entered World War I in April 1917. Within days, the federal government created the Emergency Fleet Corporation (EFC) to construct a fleet of merchant ships. The EFC hired the American International Shipbuilding Corporation to build and operate the largest shipyard in the world, Hog Island, near Philadelphia.  The first ship (named SS Quistconck for the Lenape name for the site), was christened August 5, 1918 by Edith Bolling Wilson, wife of US president Woodrow Wilson. The shipbuilding process practiced on Hog Island was an early experiment in standardized construction of ships. The ships built there, known as "Hog Islanders" were considered ugly but well-built.

A "Hog Islander"
Troop Transport USS St. Mihiel Before WWII
At its peak, Hog Island employed some 30,000 workers and launched a vessel every 5.5 days. Its workers built 122 ships in four years, and although none saw service before the end of the war, many carried supplies during World War II. At Hog Island, the United States learned how to build large ships quickly on a grand scale from prefabricated parts. Henry J. Kaiser would adopt similar methods for his massive shipyards of the Second World War

From the Smithson Institution's "On the Water: Answering the Call, 1917-1945" exhibit and Wikipedia

1 comment:

  1. For students of the Great War, if you ever fly into the Philadelphia international Airport, it is built on Hog Island. After the war many of these "Hog Island" ships were sold to the Japanese; it is by a twist of irony that during WW 2 American submarines did a job on these.