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Old Oct 23, 2014, 08:09 PM
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Towboats from Hillman Barge Co

The Dumas "San Pedro" thread caused me to stumble across a boat "Drema G. Woods", currently owned by Amherst-Madison (previously Madison Coal). I found that Drema and several similar looking boats were built by Hillman Barge... and that Drema is almost 75 years old!

Hillman had a real arteest for a designer...


Old movie of M/V Charleston, another Hillman now owned by Amherst-Madison:

shearer & sons towboat onward 1947 (2 min 6 sec)
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Old Oct 23, 2014, 09:33 PM
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Beautiful boats... I see some printed keel coolers in your future........
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Old Oct 24, 2014, 09:23 AM
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Anyone have Towboat Joe's plans for "Solvay"? She's a sister to Charleston (the large towboat above).
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Old Oct 24, 2014, 06:35 PM
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I wondered a bit about WHO might have designed these pretty towboats. Sleuthed a bit, found a document at the HAER site about the Hillman facility, (the PDF file) at:
http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/pa2629/

In it, these words about the unique towboat design:

Towboats and Expanded Barge Facilities

It was Hillman's desire to employ the industry's foremost
architectural designer to construct a unique and distinctive
design for his towboats that would set them apart from others
already on the drawing board. By 1945, Hillman solicited Elmer L.
Easter of the Dravo Corporation to become his engineer and
architectural designer. Once in production, Easter's designs
distinguished Hillman towboats from all others on the river. In
the M.V. JAMES ZUBICf for instance, Easter designed uniquelydetailed
chamber decks, curved plating in housing, S-shaped
contours to the roof and hull lines, and midship engines.

Compared to traditional towboats, these elaborate features
substantially added to the design, labor, and material cost of
production. The ZUBIC took nearly a year to complete. Easter's
test designs in unique curves and contours in the steel hull
required cutting and fabrication techniques that only blacksmiths
could supply. The high cost of the smiths, and the continual
reworking of the cutters insured that the ZUBIC would be the
first, and only boat which utilized blacksmiths. In his next
vessel, Silliman replaced the smiths with acetylene torch cutters
and welders.21 Silliman had the steel plates that Easter
designed copied into wooden patterns. The patterns were
constructed by carpenters and designed as templates for the
acetylene torch cutters and welders of the second boat. Although
this new method was laborious, it reduced construction time to
slightly over six months per vessel.

Because acetylene torch plate cutting was expensive and time
consuming, Silliman quickly justified purchasing a semi-automated
torch cutting table.* Little information exists from either the
company or the union regarding the workers attitudes toward this
machine which required two to four operators. The number of
burners necessary for towboat fabrication was reduced, and the
classification of burner does not appear on any company records
after 1955.

Despite cost and production problems, new towboat design
continued. Today, many of these boats are still operating on the
Monongahela River. As evident in the M.V. SOLVAY (1947),
Easter's engineering and architectural innovations in towboat
design set Hillman's boats apart from traditional styles.
Contemporary trade journals such as The Waterways Journal, noted
that, "The Solvay was one of the standard towboats developed by
her builders, and is a distinct departure from previous industry
designs and methods. She is in the 1000-hp class and is 145 feet
long with a propulsion power supplied by 2-cycle, 6-cylinder
General Motors Model 6-278A Siedel engines with airflex clutchreverse-
reduction-gear units." Hillman Barge marketed these
towboats to local and national companies. (23)

(23) Hillman Barge and Construction Company, "Twin Screw Diesel
Boat," drawing number 4513-A. This drawing was used for the
following towboats: M.V. SOLVAY, M.V. LABELLE. and the M.V.
ONWARD. Richard Basci, Chief Engineer of HBC Barge, interview
with author, June 30, 1992, and August 20, 1992.

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Old Oct 24, 2014, 07:17 PM
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I still don't understand just how towboats' flanking rudders are used, but our designer friend Elmer Easter has a patent on using articulated rudders in this set up:
http://www.google.com/patents/US2996031

In it, a description of how flanking rudders are used, along with his improvement. And lots of images showing how they waggle this way and that.
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Old Oct 25, 2014, 09:25 AM
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And here's that first boat from Elmer, the James Zubik (found on shipspotting.com). I like the later designs better...
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Old Oct 25, 2014, 09:47 PM
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MV Charleston is sure familiar from my days growing up on the Ohio. I remember her distinctive fluid lines & had always thought her design must have been some art deco influence.

Here's an excellent site for those interested in river tows & barges, not to mention excellent photography. You can see my hometown in the March 16 photos of the Hannibal Locks & Dam.

http://www.wvtowboats.com/ramblings/
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Old Oct 26, 2014, 01:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patmat2350 View Post
I still don't understand just how towboats' flanking rudders are used, but our designer friend Elmer Easter has a patent on using articulated rudders in this set up
Cool design...looks like he was going for a "Becker" type rudder flap on the fore and aft ends of the rudders...I wonder if the design ever made it onto a boat?
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 02:12 PM
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Having some fun redrawing one of these handsome Hillman towboats from drawings dated 1948. The boat is the M/V Henry L. Hillman, 115 (or 118) feet.

First I'll do it all in 3D CAD, then create 2D line drawings from that. Needs to be done, as the original copy is too far gone for distribution. Lots of detail to add yet, but it's a fair start.

I think she still floats... latest incarnation as the Elizabeth Marie, with various modifications (repowered, raised pilot house, twin stacks, taller knees...).
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 07:54 PM
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I am Mr Henry Hillmans Yacht captain, I have been for the last 21 years, he is 96 years old , I believe his father started the barge company, and went to his son when he died. They do not own the barge company any more, haven't for a long time, but they have some wonderful models in the main office.
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 08:12 PM
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No kidding! And how neat. My regards to Mr. Hillman.

The Hillman facility is now Brownsville Marine, so I'm guessing that's the office that has any models. Would be neat to see them! Don't have any contacts there...

I've been poking at one of the execs at Amherst-Madison, who own three Hillman towboats, to get them documented at HAER... another work in progress...
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Old Feb 12, 2015, 10:11 PM
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Pat, nice job of researching . I may have one more lead for you. I note in the movie clip that the boat was owned by Oliver F. Shearer & Sons. One of the sons is a friend of mine. he is Ed Shearer, a naval architect who owns The Shearer Group in Houston.TX. I'll get in touch with him and see if he might have any plans or other data.
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Old Feb 13, 2015, 06:55 AM
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Models I was talking about are at the Hillman Co. in Pittsburgh, but it isn't open to the public. Maybe I can get a secretary or someone to take some pictures, or this summer I may get by, in which case I can take some then.
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Old Feb 13, 2015, 07:37 AM
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John & Erik- Wow, thanks for the leads!
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Old Feb 13, 2015, 08:16 AM
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I believe that flanking rudders are in effect when propellers are in reverse, when the propwash is going in the opposite direction to forward momentum, used in making turns to help swing the stern when you have 50 barges ahead of you, originated in paddlewheel towboats I believe.
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