Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 91.djvu/98

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Chasing Submarines with Motor-Boats

��By Prescott Lecky

��Boats for the purpose are built up in sections produced in immense quantities, like the parts of the low- priced, easily assembled automobile

���After the boats are assembled in the sheds they are launched directly into the St. Lawrence River

��WHEN England found the submarine was a menace that threatened to destroy her paramount position as a maritime power and a maritime nation she cast about her for a means of combating the underwater terror. One of her purchas- ing agents visited the New York office of Henry R. Sutphen, an official of a boat-build- ing company and a submarine company.

"Why don't you try motor-boats?" sug- gested Mr. Sutphen, and proceeded to out- line the sort of craft he had in mind. The conversation resulted in a provisional order for fifty boats, given subject to the approval of the British Admiralty. Not only was this order confirmed, but a short time afterwards it was increased to five hundred and fifty.

The boat called for was to be 80 ft. long, 123^2 ft. beam, 4^ ft. draft and of 32 tons displacement. Two standard motors of 220 horsepower were to drive her at a speed of fourteen knots for 850 nautical miles or nineteen knots for a distance of 700 nautical miles. The fuel capacity was to be 2100 gallons, and the gasoline was to be con- sumed at the rate of one pint per horse- power per hour. She was to carry a crew of ten men, including gunners to operate the 3-inch rifle mounted forward.

Applying Automobile Manufacturing Methods

Naturally it would have been impossible to construct so many boats of such a large

��size in so short a time by the usual methods. The methods of the automobile factory were adapted to the shipyard. First, "the master boat" was built and every part that went into its construction was carefully measured and recorded on templates or wooden patterns. The templates were then sent to the shops and five hundred duplicate pieces ordered. Every one of these pieces was lettered and numbered on its arrival at the plant. Three machine shops were kept busy turning out the motors. Most of the woodwork was done in Bayonne, N. J. More than eight and a half million feet of finished lumber, sawed and dressed to the required sizes, was turned out by this shop.

When arrangements had been made for the material, new yards on the St. Lawrence River in Canada were about completed. The plant consisted merely of half a dozen huge assembling sheds, and it was here that most of the ships were made.

As the keels arrived they were put in their places along the floor, and the delivery of the various ribs, beams and parts was so timed that no storage space was necessary. Every effort was made to simplify operations and to avoid handling and carting the material more than once. For instance, as soon as the engine, anchors and chains arrived they were distributed immediately, an anchor being laid in front of each keel.

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