• U.S.

Keel to Commission: 14 Days

2 minute read

Son Edgar Kaiser—who runs his father’s three shipyards at Portland, Ore.—last week slapped down another of his father’s yards. Month ago Henry Kaiser’s Richmond No. 2 on San Francisco Bay broke Son Edgar’s previous records by completing a 10,500-ton Liberty ship in 29 days—a world’s record.

Last week, just ten days after its keel was laid, Anna Roosevelt Boettiger smashed a bottle of California champagne on the nose of the Joseph N. Teal (named after an Oregon industrial pioneer), sent it down the ways 87% complete, with steam in its boilers. Three days, 23 hours, 30 minutes later the Joe Teal, fitted out, was delivered. Son Edgar had served notice that anyone who meant to take a record from him would have to hump, meaning hump.

Watching from Washington and smelling a stunt, Maritime Commission admirals did not know whether to spank the upstarts or praise them. With characteristic deftness, the Kaisers had delivered the Joe Teal, the 75th Liberty ship from Oregon Shipbuilding Co.’s yard, on the eve of the anniversary of the first Liberty launchings, a day set aside by President Roosevelt for a “Salute to the Victory Fleet.” The Kaisers swore nothing had been sacrificed in making their record. A stunt they had done, but not an impossible stunt with modern methods of shipbuilding in which the beginning is not really keel laying, in which the job done on the ways is not so much one of building as of assembling sections of ships prefabricated in great shops behind the ways. The Kaisers were able to point to ten other Liberty launchings at Oregon Ship in September, the best month so far. If Oregon Ship is able to keep up launching eleven ships a month from eleven ways, its standard time for completing a ship will be reduced to some five weeks.

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