29 May 2008



When George Steinbrenner purchased the Yankees in 1973 he said he would leave the Yankees in the hands of his baseball people and return to Cleveland to "do what I do best", build ships.

The AMERICAN SHIP BUILDING CO., a major designer and builder of vessels for Great Lakes shipping, was incorporated in New Jersey in 1899--a consolidation of 3 Cleveland firms: the Cleveland Ship Building Co., the Ship Owner's Dry Dock Co., the Globe Iron Works, and 5 other companies in the Great Lakes region. The Globe Iron Works began in 1869 and entered the shipbuilding industry by purchasing interest in a dry dock under construction. Soon Globe was building iron-hulled freighters for shipping on the lakes. In 1886 Globe founders, Robt. Wallace and Henry D. Coffinberry, expanded their shipbuilding interests by organizing the Cleveland Ship Building Co. In 1897 Globe took over the Ship Owner's Dry Dock Co., which had 2 docks in Cleveland.

Two years later, the new American Ship Building Co. established in Cleveland and prospered in the early 1900s with the steel industry's increased demand for new ore carriers. By 1952 the company was the largest shipbuilder on the Great Lakes, but as lake shipping declined during the next 10 years, the company began to diversify its operations. A new group of younger investors gained control of the company's Board of Directors, making George M. Steinbrenner, III, owner of the Kinsman Marine Co., the chief executive officer in 1967. After buying the Tampa Ship & Dry Docks Co. in 1972, the firm expanded its facilities there and moved its corporate headquarters from Cleveland to Tampa in 1979. Hit hard by the continuing decline in Great Lakes shipping and a strike that closed its shipyards in Lorain, Toledo, and Chicago in 1978-79, the company turned increasingly to defense contracts for its business and began to close its Great Lakes shipyards. It closed its Lorain shipyard in Dec. 1983. [source]

Tampa Bay Shipbuilding & Repair was formed in 1997, following the bankruptcy of George Steinbrenner's Tampa Shipyards, Inc., the last remnant of the once-great American Ship Building Company, and then also of its short-lived successor, Tampa Shipbuilding. The company is controlled by Tommy Bender, who also owns Bender Shipbuilding & Repair, in Mobile AL, with minority participation by Aaron Hendry, who also owns Gulf Marine Repair, in Tampa. The shipyard is primarily a repair facility, with four graving docks, but has much more fabrication capability than most repair yards and has begun to build tank barges.


M. Patel said...

That's interesting, I never knew that side of George's business ventures

mmafight said...

i agree. good write up.

UTP said...

history...hate it...unless its Baseball Statistics hehhe...

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