Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Iron Ore Ships, Docks, and Unloaders (Hulett)

Update: NS/N&W Pier 6 is the largest coal transload facility in the Northern Hemisphere and the most technologically advanced in the world.

Maria Moskway posted
Thomas F Patton
Louis C Carl Ore boats & grain boats used to be tied up
along the Buffalo waterfront bow to stern
Maria Moskwa posted several pictures of Great Lakes ore ships belonging to Republic Steel. I assume they are representative of the ships used by the other steel manufactures along the south part of Lake Michigan and Lake Erie.

The Sault Ste. Marie Locks are bigger than the ones in the St. Lawrence Seaway so ships, called Lakers, would be built on the Great Lakes and they could sail only on the Great Lakes because they were too big to get to the ocean. They would carry ore, later pellets, from the rich iron deposits around Duluth, MN, and other areas around Lake Superior to the steel mills on the lower lakes that were closer to coal and limestone.

Maria Moskwa posted
Ready to load iron ore
[The Edmund Fitzgerald was owned by a
shipping company that specialized in
iron ores.]
Maria Moskwa posted
Troy Browning
Note that the loading dock had a chute for each bay in the boat and a bin for each chute. This allowed all of the bays in the boat to be quickly loaded in parallel to reduce the dwell time in the dock. The railroads would shove the iron-ore cars (jennies) up an incline to the top of the dock so that the cars could dump directly into the bins. Many of these docks, and the railroads that served them are gone now. Note that jennies are significantly shorter than coal cars because iron ore is more dense. (Update: CN still operates an ore (probably pellets) loading dock in Duluth, MN.)

Stan Sienicki posted a picture of "Duluth South Shore & Atlantic Oredock in Marquette, MI. Oct. 6, 2014." The railroad had been removed from the dock when it took the pictgure 2014. This dock is like some coaling towers --- a monument to the strength of well poured reinforced concrete. Ron Kaminen added "Built in 1932 this dock shipped 601,736 tons of iron ore in 1943 on the lake carriers."

Dave Rickaby posted
With a boat in the Marquette, MI harbor the dock job hurries to spot its loaded ore jennies. Soon, the rich iron ore will be falling down the chutes into the waiting vessel.
Iron ore docks are still in use in Duluth and Two Harbors (second photo), MN.
At the other end of the trip, they were unloaded with Huletts.

Steve OConnor commented
These were the Republic Steel Huletts on the Calumet River before salvaging.
Alexander Gerdow Last two standing I believe. There were two in Ohio but taken down as well. Really cool in action, the operator rode the bucket arm into the well of the ship.

Steve OConnor At one bucket of 10 tons unloaded every minute, these machines could remove 600 tons per hour.

Richard Mead Calumet Heritage

Steve OConnor They tried to save the Huletts but couldn't get the money.

Brian Weber On board conveyors made on shore offloading equipment obsolete.

I recently posted about a boat converted to self-unloading, the McKee Sons.

Ron Wood posted
Huletts coal unloaders at Whiskey Island,Cleveland Ohio. July,1992. These were used to unload coal and ore from lake boats . They became obsolete when the more modern lake boats arrived with self unloading features. I'm not sure if any of these remain but they were quite an impressive sight! I only wish I got to see them in action but alas when I visited there were no boats docked.
The group is public so please click the "posted" link because the comments are informative, including a video. The cab is mounted on top of the bucket and rides it down into the boat and then  back over to the hopper car it is going to dump in. At 6:57 it picks up a front loader to lower into the boat to shove the ore into a pile the clam-shell bucket can pick up. Then men get in with brooms!
Carl Venzke posted
Hulett machine unloading ore at Buffalo, N.Y c1908
Carl Venzke posted
Maumee River waterfront -- Toledo, O. Railroads represented on the coal cars: Hocking Valley, Kanawha and Michigan, Zanesville & Western, Toledo & Ohio Central. c1910
Carl Venzke posted
LSMS Iron ore docks, Ashtabula, Ohio c 1900Rick Fleischer This is 45 miles from my house. The docks were recently closed by NS. CSX also used them. Rumor is that they may reopen because Sandusky can't handle all the coal. The Pennsylvania RR. had their docks on the other side of the river. Back in steam days the PRR had a locomotive specially designed for coal and ore service on the E&A Division to the ports of Erie, Pa., Ashtabula, and Cleveland on the C&P. These were the N-1s class 2-10-2's which were design at Lines West - Fort Wayne Shops. The build orders were split between Baldwin and ALCO Brooks.
NYC/Lake Shore & Michigan Southern. I didn't realize the Fort Wayne shops were big enough to design steam locomotives.]
Carl Venzke posted
Anchor Line docks and Penna. R.R. coal & ore docks, Erie, Pennsylvania. c1900
C&O Railway Pere Marquette District Page posted
Big Fitz unloading at C&O docks in Toledo.
Mike Delaney The hullett unloaders in the pics unloaded the boat and they dumped the ore into RR cars that ran under the rigs. Both C&O and Lakefront dock had sets of Hulletts for unloading straight deckers as well as multiple coal loaders.Brian Cylkowski Are there any example s of Hullett unloaders still around?C&O Railway Pere Marquette District Page They are all goneErwin Rommell Now most freighters are self unloaders with a conveyor running under the cargo hold gates, and a conveyor boom that swings off the side of the ship. Most old turbine steamers such as the Fitzgerald have been converted.

[From the comments, Edmund Fitzgerald began service in 58-59. The station wagon on the left is a "1965 Rambler Classic Cross Country."]
Here you may see the marvellous Hulett automatic unloaders, which are nothing less than gigantic steel arms that thrust themselves into a vessel's depth and grasp a ten-ton handful of ore apiece. Each arm has not only a hand, but a wrist as well. The operator, standing on the wrist like an obstinate insect, goes up and down with the powerful arm, which he can guide in any necessary direction. The towering machine weighs more than an army of five thousand men, yet it obeys the slightest touch of its human master's hand as readily as if it were a bicycle. Six workmen and one machine can do the work that formerly required ninety shovellers. When the great hand of the machine is open, it covers eighteen feet of ore, and closes with a grip that is irresistible. Several times, in the holds of ore-vessels, the writer has seen steel girders that were bent and wrenched away by the grip of this mighty giant. [RodneyOhebsion]
Ray Saikus posted the following comment:
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Two were scrapped and two have been disassembled and are rusting away.
Frederick & Pennsylvania Line Railroad Museum, Inc posted six photos with the comment:
George H. Hulett of Conneaut, OH patented his new machine, the Hulett Iron-Ore Unloader in 1898. His machine revolutionized ore ship unloading by reducing the time needed to unload an entire bulk ship by almost 75% and it only required a crew of two to operate. Between 1898 and 1960, a total of 75 Hulett's were built. The first Hulett's were built by Webster, Camp & Lane Machine Akron OH. After 1903, all others were built by Cleveland's Wellman-Seaver-Morgan Co. The early Hulett's were steam powered with a bucket capacity of 10 tons and rated unloading capacity up to 275 tons per hour. Later models, after 1910, were electric powered (with several 75HP DC motors) with a bucket capacity up to 22 tons and rated at 475 tons per hour. Many of these machines operated for almost 90 years primarily in the Southern Great Lakes Region. All photos (except one) are from 1943 at the Cleveland and Pittsburgh (C&P) Ore Dock. This facility was designed and built by the Pennsylvania Railroad and put into service in 1912.New self unloading ships put the Hulett's out of work by 1992. In 2000 two of the C&P Hulett's were domolished while two were dismantled for future display and are currently stored at Cleveland/Cuyahoga County Port Authority’s C&P Ore Docks. All photos Library of Congress collection.






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I believe it is now pellets rather than raw iron ore that is loaded at the west end of Lake Superior.
David Schauer posted
A nice overview of the Algoma Spirit loading ore at No. 6 in West Duluth and the Century and Isadora in Superior. July 3, 2017.
Brent M Nelson posted nine photos with the comment:
Back in 1975 my Dad was working for American Bridge in Duluth Minnesota doing ore dock maintenance. The same storm that sank the Edmund Fitzgerald blew a 3900 off of one of the barges. Here are some photos of the recovery.
Randall Kyson Sirbaugh Man, he's got that sucker crawled up up to the edge.J. Mike Poupore Brent M Nelsonwhen your dad was making a maximum pick, he would have his oiler watch the rear of the track to count the number of bottom rollers that were up (not touching the bottom pads) as the rig was getting light. He would tease the oiler asking him if he count to seven, because that’s about the halfway point on a 4000.Ed Flores Had a 9299 on the edge tailing a load for a 4100 ringer on a barge. By the time I had my end in the air had water coming over the barge.



Brent M Nelson The boom went over the ore dock and snapped off. The equalizer is still hooked to the boom. The crane is on the bottom. The 4000 on the barge got a hold of it and the tug pushed it to the bank. Then the other 3900 on land hooked to it and they made a tandem pick. The 4000 couldn’t handle it once it got too far out of the water.

Robert Thiry Poseidon Unisuit w/ Cyklon regulator. 





Dock mounted unloaders such as the Huletts were made obsolete by self-unloaders.

Dave Ayers describes several generations of Hulett unloaders.

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