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Allaire Iron Works


Allaire Iron Works

Allaire Iron Works
Former type Private
Industry Engineering and shipbuilding
Founded 1816
Founder(s) James P. Allaire
Defunct 1869
Headquarters New York City, United States
Products Marine steam engines, metal castings
Total assets $300,000 (1842/1859)
Owner(s) James P. Allaire (1816-1850)
Cornelius Vanderbilt (1850-1869)
Employees 1859: 500
1863: 850[1]

The Allaire Iron Works was a leading 19th-century American marine engineering company based in New York City. Founded in 1816 by engineer and philanthropist James P. Allaire, the Allaire Works was one of the world's first companies dedicated to the construction of marine steam engines, supplying the engines for more than 50% of all the early steamships built in the United States.[2]

James P. Allaire retired from the company in 1850 when it was taken over by Cornelius Vanderbilt. During Vanderbilt's ownership, the Allaire Iron Works made a significant contribution to the Union cause during the American Civil War. Following the war, the Allaire Works, like many other American marine engineering companies, fell on hard times, and in 1869 it was wound up, whereupon its equipment was purchased by John Roach, who also hired its best employees for his own company, the Morgan Iron Works.

Amongst the many notable achievements of the Allaire Works, it supplied the engine cylinder for the first steamship to cross the Atlantic, Savannah, pioneered the use of the compound engine in steamships, and built the engines for two winners of the coveted Blue Riband. The company also supplied the engines for at least 17 U.S. Navy warships during the American Civil War.


James Peter Allaire founded his first company, a brass foundry, at 466 Cherry Street, New York, in 1804. In 1807, Allaire received an order from steamboat pioneer Robert Fulton for brass fittings for the North River Steamboat, the world's first commercially successful steam-powered vessel. Allaire and Fulton struck up a friendship, and Allaire provided fittings for later vessels built by Fulton.[3]

Following Fulton's death in 1815, Allaire leased his plant and equipment from the Fulton and Livingstone families, and entered a partnership with Fulton's chief engineer, Charles Stoudinger. Allaire and Stoudinger built the engine and boiler for the last steamboat contracted for by the Fulton shop, the Chancellor Livingstone, which was completed about a year later.[4]

Stoudinger himself died shortly after completion of Chancellor Livingstone, after which Allaire decided to move Fulton's equipment from its location in New Jersey to his brassworks at Cherry St., New York. With the consolidation of his business at the Cherry St. plant, Allaire renamed it the Allaire Iron Works.[3][4]

Allaire ownership, 1816-1850

Early period, 1816-1822

In 1817, the Allaire Iron Works supplied the engine cylinder for Savannah, the first steamship to make a transatlantic crossing. The cylinder, one of the largest then built, had a diameter of 40 inches, while the piston had a stroke of 5 feet.[5] Savannah was not a commercial success, and following her return voyage from Europe, her engine was removed and sold to Allaire.

In 1819, the Allaire Works supplied the engine for Robert Fulton, the first steamship to enter service along the United States coastline (as opposed to working the inland waterways). This engine had a 44-inch-diameter (1,100 mm) cylinder and a stroke of 5 feet. Robert Fulton helped to demonstrate that steamships were capable of reliable seagoing service. Other engines built in this period by the Allaire Works include those for United States—a 140-foot steamer said to be the first American steamboat to issue tickets (rather than "way-bills") to passengers[6]—and for James Kent, North Carolina, South Carolina and other Hudson River steamers.[4]

Howell Works

Main article: Howell Works

As Allaire's business grew, he found it increasingly difficult to source adequate amounts of quality pig iron from which to manufacture his engines. The best quality pig iron was imported from Britain, but high tariffs made it uneconomic to use. The pig iron industry in the United States was at this time still in its infancy, and producing neither the quality nor quantity of pig iron required.[7]

The only solution was for Allaire to become a manufacturer of pig iron himself. In 1822, in response to a recommendation from a friend, Allaire purchased 7,000 acres (28 km2) of land in Monmouth County, New Jersey, which contained a furnace used for manufacturing pig iron from the natural resource of bog iron. Allaire renamed the furnace the Howell Works, and over the next 20 years used it to source most of his pig iron, during which time Howell Works grew to be a substantial and largely self-sufficient community, complete with its own church, school, company store and farmland.[7]

Pioneering compound engines, 1820s

In 1824, the Allaire Works built the engine for Henry Eckford, the first steamship in the world fitted with a compound engine. The high-pressure cylinder was 12 inches in diameter and the low-pressure cylinder 24 inches, with both having a stroke of 4 feet. In the same year, the Allaire Works also supplied a compound engine for a 200-ton towboat called Post Boy,[8] and another for a small steamer, Linnaeus.[6]

Other vessels equipped with compound engines from the Allaire Works to 1828 included Sun, Commerce, Swiftsure and Pilot Boy.[4] The Allaire Works built compound engines decades before the advantages of such engines became widely recognized in the shipbuilding industry.

Growth and financial problems, 1830s-1850

In the 1830s, the Allaire business empire reached the peak of its expansion. The Howell Works in New Jersey was producing a surplus of pig iron, enabling Allaire to diversify into the manufacture of household goods in addition to his production of marine engines in New York. Ships supplied with Allaire-built engines in this period included Frank, New Haven, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Massachusetts, then the largest ship operating on Long Island Sound, was driven by a pair of beam engines.[9]

Allaire had also accumulated considerable interest in steamships by this time. In 1836, a ship in which Allaire was part-owner, William Gibbons, ran aground and was destroyed. In the same year, the Howell Works furnace blew out and production there temporarily ceased. The following year, the Panic of 1837 plunged America into a severe recession, and later that year, the steamboat Home, wholly owned by Allaire and largely uninsured, sank with the loss of 100 lives, damaging Allaire's reputation and leaving him short of capital.[10]

Allaire had up until this point in his career been able to borrow to meet cash shortfalls, but with the recession affecting demand for his products, he was obliged to look elsewhere for working capital. In 1842, he sold shares in the Allaire Iron Works, which was incorporated for the sum of $300,000.[4] Shipping magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt and Allaire's brother-in-law John Haggerty were thus able to eventually gain a controlling interest in the company.[2]

With the capital infusion from incorporation, the Allaire Iron Works remained productive through the 1840s. In this period, engines were supplied for steamboats such as Isaac Newton in 1846, C. Vanderbilt in 1847, and Commodore in 1848 (the names for the latter two reflecting Vanderbilt's growing influence in the company). Engines were also supplied for the sister ships Bay State and Empire State in 1846-47, the former of which was the fastest boat on Long Island Sound for some years. In 1849-50, the Allaire Works supplied the engines for two of the original four Collins Line steamers, Pacific and Baltic. The engines for these two vessels were of the side-lever type, with Pacific having a 95 inch cylinder and 9-foot stroke, and Baltic a 96-inch cylinder and 10 foot stroke.[11] Both ships were to become Blue Riband winners by setting speed records for transatlantic crossings.[12]

Vanderbilt ownership, 1850-1869

Vanderbilt takeover

In 1850, James P. Allaire retired from the Presidency of the Allaire Iron Works—according to one report, through the machinations of his brother-in-law John Haggerty, who may have been scandalized by the former's marriage to a young woman 26 his junior in 1846.[2] Cornelius Vanderbilt subsequently gained control of the company,[13] appointing T. F. Secor, former proprietor of the Morgan Iron Works, as its manager.[14]

After the Vanderbilt takeover, an increasing percentage of the company's contracts came from Vanderbilt himself, who from this point had most of his new steamboats and steamships engined there, just as most of his shipbuilding contracts went to the same firm, that of his trusted nephew, Jeremiah Simonson. Vanderbilt brought his own ideas to the field of marine steam engineering. Defying the prevailing wisdom, he began powering oceangoing steamships with American walking beam engines, believing that their relative lightness of construction, economy of operation and low maintenance requirements made them preferable to the low center-of-gravity, but more complex, British-designed side-lever and oscillating types.[15] Other American marine engine manufacturers quickly followed his example, and walking beams became the preferred engine type for oceangoing American sidewheel steamships until the introduction of the much more economical surface condensing compound engine in the early 1870s.[16]

During the 1850s, the Allaire Works supplied engines to such notable ships as Buckeye State in 1850—only the second ship on the Great Lakes to be fitted with a compound engine[17]—and the 3,360-ton Vanderbilt, whose twin 90-inch cylinder beam engines were believed to make her the fastest oceangoing ship operating from New York upon launch in 1856.[18] Other ships fitted with Allaire powerplants in this period include North Star (1853), a transatlantic ocean liner, St. Lawrence (1853), built for operation on the Great Lakes, and the Long Island Sound steamer Plymouth Rock (1854).[19]

American Civil War

The Allaire Iron Works made a substantial contribution to the Union cause during the American Civil War, providing the engines for at least seven warships, while at least another ten merchant ships with Allaire engines were purchased or chartered by the U.S. Navy and converted into warships.

In 1861, the Allaire Works built the engines for two of the 700 ton or "90-day" gunboats, USS Penobscot and USS Winona. The following year, the company supplied the engines for the 1,533-ton screw steamer USS Lackawanna, and for two of the 1,173-ton Sassacus class double-ended sidewheel gunboats, USS Mackinaw and USS Mattabesett.[20] In 1864, the Allaire Works supplied two 100-inch cylinder, 4-foot stroke vibrating-lever engines for the 4,912-ton monitor USS Puritan; however delays in supply of the ship's 20-inch Dahlgren smoothbore cannon prevented the vessel from seeing wartime service.[21]

The Allaire Works also supplied the engines in 1864 for the 4,215-ton Wampanoag class screw sloop USS Madawaska. Intended to be a very fast ship, Madawaska was fitted with experimental vibrating-lever engines designed by Navy architect John Ericsson. The engines proved a failure, delivering a cruising speed of only 12.73 knots, well under the specified speed of 15 knots, and they were later replaced with a more conventional power plant.[22]

In addition to the engines directly contracted for, the Navy also requisitioned a number of merchant steamships powered by Allaire engines and converted them into warships. Some of these vessels had been built prior to the war, while others were built during the war and requisitioned by the Navy as they entered service.

The largest and most impressive of these ships was the 3,360-ton oceangoing sidewheel steamer Vanderbilt, launched in 1856, and gifted to the U.S. Navy by Cornelius Vanderbilt in 1862. With her 14 knot speed and long operational range, Vanderbilt was an ideal candidate for a pursuit ship, and after being fitted out with a formidable battery of cannon, the newly commissioned USS Vanderbilt was employed in a year-long hunt for the notorious Confederate raider CSS Alabama, but without success. Other Allaire powered ships commissioned by the Navy included Harriet Lane, James Adger, Magnolia, Rhode Island, R. R. Cuyler and Western World, all built before the war, and Fort Jackson and the ferries Clifton and Shokokon, built during the war.[23]

The Allaire Works also continued to produce engines for commercial vessels during the conflict, such as City of New London, built in 1863, and St. John, which was built in 1864 and used as a hospital ship.[24]

Postwar slump and closure

Shortly after the end of hostilities, the U.S. government dumped more than a million tons of unwanted shipping onto the market, driving down prices and depriving the shipbuilding industry of new orders. The slump lasted several years, and many ship and marine engine builders were driven to bankruptcy in this period.[25]

By 1867, the Allaire Iron Works had only one engine and one boiler on its books. The company soldiered on until 1869 when Cornelius Vanderbilt sold its plant and equipment at auction, which were bought by John Roach at scrap metal prices. Vanderbilt was wealthy enough to survive the slump, but had apparently decided to move his assets into railroads by this time. After the auction, the property of the Allaire Works was divided into a tombstone factory and horse stables.[26]

Roach, one of the few marine entrepreneurs to survive and prosper in the postwar period, took the best of the Allaire Works tools, along with its best former workers, and employed them at his newly acquired plant on the East River, the Morgan Iron Works.[26]

Production, 1816-1867

Merchant ships

The following table lists merchant ships with engines supplied by the Allaire Iron Works from the company's inception in 1816 until its closure in 1867. Names in small print preceded or followed by an arrow in the "Name" column indicate that the engine either originated from or was later installed in the ship so named. This is an incomplete list.

Merchant ships powered by Allaire Iron Works engines, 1816-1867[27]
Ship Engine
Name Built Builder Ton. Deployment No. Cyl.
Chancellor Livingstone 1816 Henry Eckford 495 Hudson 1 44 5 C
Sophia 1817 A. S. Roberts 50 Great Lakes n/a n/a n/a n/a
Savannah 1818 Fickett & Crocker 320 Transatlantic 1 40 5 I/DA
Robert Fulton 1819 Henry Eckford 702 Atlantic coast 1 44 5 C
United States 1821 J. Williams 180 Hudson 1 44 5 C[28]
James Kent 1823 Blossom, Smith & Dimon 364 Hudson 1 44 5 C
Martha Ogden 1823 A. S. Roberts n/a Great Lakes 1 n/a n/a C
Augusta [29] 1824 Brown & Bell 206 Charleston, SC 38 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Henry Eckford 1824 Mowatt Brothers & Co 150 Hudson 1 12, 24 4 Cm/C
Linnaeus [6] 1824 Elijah Peck 92 Long Island Sound 1 n/a n/a C
Oliver Ellsworth [30] 1824 Isaac Webb 227 Long Island Sound 1 n/a n/a C
Post Boy 1824 n/a n/a n/a 1 n/a 6 Cm/B
Pilot Boy 1824 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a Cm
Thistle [31] 1824 n/a 202 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Chief Justice Marshall [32] 1825 Thorn & Williams 314 Hudson 1 n/a n/a C
Ontario 56
1825 Christian Bergh 371 Hudson 1 16, 30 4 Cm
Fanny [33] 1825 Lawrence & Sneeden 126 Long Island Sound 1 n/a n/a C
Swift Sure 1825 Christian Bergh 265 Hudson 1 16, 30 4 Cm
Sun 1825 n/a n/a Hudson 1 16, 30 4 Cm
Swan [31] 1826 James P. Allaire 353 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Benjamin Franklin [34] 1828 Brown & Bell 410 Long Island Sound 2 n/a n/a VB
Rufus W. King [35] 1828 Smith & Dimon n/a New York Harbor 1 34 4 C
Transport [36] 1828 n/a 73 Virginia 38 n/a n/a n/a n/a
President [37] 1829 Brown & Bell 518 Long Island Sound 2 48 7 VB
John Stoney [29] 1830 Brown & Bell 163 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Napoleon [38] 1830 Lawrence & Sneeden 136-169 NY-New Brunswick 1 51 6 C
Boston [39][40][41] 1831 Brown & Bell 380 Long Island Sound 2 40 7 VB
John Cooley [42] 1831 P. & T. Peck 35 Atlantic Coast? n/a n/a n/a n/a
Superior [43] 1831 Smith, Dimon & Comstock 194 Long Island Sound 1 36 8 C
Water Witch [44] 1831 Brown & Bell 207 Long Island Sound 1 36 8 C
William Seabrook [29] 1831 Lawrence & Sneeden 227 Atlantic Coast 38 n/a n/a n/a n/a
David Brown 1832 n/a 190[45] Atlantic coast 1 n/a n/a C
Flushing [46][47] 1832 Elijah Peck 107 NY–Norwich, CT 1 n/a n/a C
Splendid [48][49] 1832 Smith, Dimon & Comstock 209 New Haven 1 37 7 C
Daniel Webster [50][51] 1833 John Carrick 358 Great Lakes 1 n/a n/a C
William Gibbons [52] 1833 S. Sneden 294[45] Atlantic coast 1 n/a n/a C
Sudaver [53]
1834 Brown & Bell 385 Boston–Bangor 1 36 9 C
Fox [54][55] 1834 n/a 66 NYCLong Island 1 n/a n/a C
Sandusky [56] 1834 F. Church 377 Lake Erie 38 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Stonington [57] 1834 n/a 211 Rhode Island 38 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Thomas Jefferson 1834 S. Jenkins 428 Great Lakes 1 50 9 C
Columbia[58] 1835 n/a 423[45] Atlantic coast 1 56 6 C
Frank [59] 1835 Lawrence & Sneeden 175 Hudson River 1 30 6 C
New Haven 1835 Lawrence & Sneeden 342[48] New Haven 1 47 10 B
Pioneer (2nd) [60] 1835 n/a n/a Georgia n/a n/a n/a n/a
Portland [61][62] 1835 Nathan Dyer 445 Atlantic Coast 1 56 6 C
Cincinnati [29] 1836 James Poyas 211 Florida 38 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Home 1836 n/a n/a Atlantic coast 1 56 9 C
Massachusetts[63] 1836 Bell & Brown 676 Long Island 2 44 9 VB
New York [64] 1836 Lawrence & Sneeden 524 Long Island 1 52 10 C
Ochmulgee [60] 1836 W. Kirkwood 231 Georgia 38 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Pioneer (3rd) [60] 1836 n/a n/a Georgia 38 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Rhode Island [9][65] 1836 Brown & Bell 588 NY–Providence, RI 1 50 11 C
Buffalo [50][66] 1837 John Carrick 613 Great Lakes 1 54 9 C
Clifton [67] 1837 Vanderbilt 162 Atlantic Coast 38 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Illinois [68] 1837 W. H. Brown 349 Hudson River 1 n/a n/a C
Isis [69] 1837 n/a 130 Georgia 38 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Mud-machine [29] 1837 Charleston, SC 38 60 William Bird n/a n/a n/a n/a
Despatch [29] 1838 James Poyas 53 Florida 38 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Gov. Dudley [39] 1838 Bishop & Simpson 408 Atlantic Coast 38 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Illinois [70][71] 1838 B. S. Goodell 755 Great Lakes 1 56 10 n/a
Neptune 1838 Lawrence & Sneeden 745[29] Atlantic Coast 1 50 11½ n/a
Osiris [72] 1838 Bishop & Simonson 145 NY–Red Bank 1 n/a n/a C
USS General Taylor [73] 1840? n/a 150 n/a 1 25.3 6 C
Gipsey 66 [74]
1842 Bishop & Simonson 180 NY-Red Bank 2 n/a n/a VB
Lady Of The Lake
Queen City 53 [75]
1842 George S. Weeks 425 Great Lakes 1 n/a n/a C
John W. D. Pentz 63
Massachusetts 69 [76]
1842 Lawrence & Sneeden 308 Long Island Sound 1 n/a n/a C
Hero [77] 1844 H. Lawrence ~500 Hudson River 1 n/a n/a C
Hendrik Hudson 1845 George Collyer 1,170 Hudson 1 72 11 n/a
Traveler 54 [78]
1845 Bishop & Simonson? 584 Long Island Sound 1 52 11 VB
Bay State 1846 Sneeden 1,600 Long Island 1 76 12 B
L. Boardman 57
River Belle 80 [79]
1846 W. H. Brown 204 Hudson River 1 36 10 VB
Isaac Newton 1846 William Brown 1,332 Hudson 1 81 12 B
C. Vanderbilt 1847 Bishop & Simonson n/a Long Island 1 72 12 B
Commodore [80][81] 1848 Bishop & Simonson 984 Long Island Sound 1 65 11 VB
Panama[82] 1848 William H. Webb 1,087 Intercoastal 1 70 8.7 SL
Plymouth Rock
Empire State 48 [83]
1848 S. Sneeden 1,598 Long Island Sound 1 76 12 VB
State of Maine
San Pelayo 71 [84]
1848 Bishop & Simonson 806 Maine coast 1 54 11 VB
Canonicus [85] 1849 Lawrence & Sneeden 396 Long Island Sound 1 36 12 VB
Pacific 1849 Brown & Bell n/a Transatlantic 2 95 9 SL
America 185? n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Niagara 185? n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Baltic 1850 Brown & Bell n/a Transatlantic 2 96 10 SL
Buckeye State 1850 n/a 1,187[86] Great Lakes 1 37, 80 11 AC
Daniel Webster [87] 1851 William H. Brown 1,035 NY-Nicaragua 1 56 10 VB
Illinois[88] 1851 Smith & Dimon 2040 S. America 2 85 9 O
Northern Light [89] 1851 J. Simonson 1,768 NY-Nicaragua 2 60 10 VB
Union[90] 1851 n/a n/a S. America 2 60 7 SL
Black Warrior [91] 1852 W. Collyer 1,350 Atlantic coast 1 65 11 VB
San Juan
Star Of The West 52
CSS St. Philip 62 [92]
1852 J. Simonson 1,172 NY-Nicaragua 2 66 11 VB
California[93] 1852 S. Sneeden 480 Gulf of Mexico 1 40 10 VB
James Adger[94] 1852 William H. Webb 1152d Atlantic coast 1 n/a n/a SL
Uncle Sam[95] 1852 Perine, Patterson & Stack 1,800 Atlantic Coast[96] 1 66 11 B
North Star 1853 J. Simonson 2,000[97] Atlantic coast 2 66 10 VB
St. Lawrence [98] 1853 F. N. Jones 1,844 Great Lakes 1 81 12 VB
Yankee Blade [99] 1853 Perrine, Patterson & Stack 1,767 NY-Panama 1 76 12 SL
Cahawba[100] 1854 W. Collyer 1,643[101] Atlantic coast 1 75 11 VB
Magnolia[102] 1854 J. Simonson 1,500 California 1 75 11 VB[103]
Mercury[104] 1854 W. Collyer n/a N.Y. Harbor 1 n/a n/a n/a
Plymouth Rock
Plymouth Rock 64 [105]
1854 J. Englis 2,202 Great Lakes 1 81 12 VB
Plymouth Rock [106] 1854 J. Simonson 1,752 Long Island 1 76 12 VB
Western World
Fire Queen 64 [107]
1854 J. Englis 2,202 Great Lakes 1 81 12 VB
Ariel 1855 J. Simonson 1,850[102] Atlantic coast 1 75 11 VB
Granada [108] 1855 J. Simonson 1,059 Atlantic coast 1 65 10 VB
Leviathan [109] 1855 Eckford Webb 500 New York Harbor 1 60 10 VB
Vanderbilt 1856 J. Simonson n/a Transatlantic 2 90 12 VB
William H. Webb[110] 1856 William H. Webb n/a N.Y. Harbor? 2 44 10 B
USRC Harriet Lane 1857 William H. Webb 674d U.S. Coast Guard 2? n/a n/a I
Champion [111] 1859 Harlan & Hollingsworth 1490 Pacific Ocean 1 42 10 VB
Commodore Perry* [112] 1859 Thomas Stack 513 NY Harbor 1 38 9 VB
John Brooks[113][114] 1859 John Englis 900 Bridgeport 1 56 12 VB
Seth Grosvenor[115] 1859 Henry Steers 84 Liberia 1 28 3 St
Rhode Island[94][116] 1860 J. Westerwelt 2,000 Charleston 1 72½ 12 B
R. R. Cuyler 1860 S. Sneeden 1200d NY-Havana 1 70 4 VDA/G
Yankee[117] 1860 T. Collyer 376 NY Harbor 1 38 8⅔ C
USS Clifton[118][119] 1861 J. Simonson 977 Staten Island 1 50 10 VB
Kings County[119] 1861 Roosevelt & Joyce[120] 500[120] NY-Long Island 1 34 9 B
Suffolk County[119] 1861 Roosevelt & Joyce[120] 500[120] NY-Long Island 1 34 9 B
Thomas Freeborn[121] 1861 Lawrence & Foulks 306 Atlantic coast 1 40 8 VB
City of Norwich[122] 1862 John Englis 890 New Haven 1 52 10 VB
Eagle[122] 1862 J. Westervelt 1,561 NY–Havana 1 75 12 VB
USS Fort Jackson[123] 1862 J. Simonson 1850 n/a 1 n/a n/a VB
USS Shokokon[124] 1862 J. Simonson[125] 709d Staten Island 1 36 8 VB
Westfield[125][126] 1862 J. Simonson 960 Staten Island 1 36 8 VB
City of New London[1] 1863 J. Englis & Son 696-
New Haven 1 52[128] 10 B
Costa Rica
Genaki Maru [130]
1863 J. Simonson n/a n/a 1 80 12 B
Evening Star[1] 1863 n/a n/a NY-Havana 1 81 12 B
Hu Quang 1863 Henry Steers 1,570 China 1 76 12 VB
Katahdin [131] 1863 J. Englis & Son 1,234 Long Island Sound 1 56 11 VB
Kin Kiang[132] 1863 J. Englis & Son 1025 China 1 58 12 VB
Morning Star[1] 1863 Roosevelt & Joyce[133] n/a NY-Havana 1 81 12 B
Po Yang 1863 Roosevelt, Joyce 956 China 1 50 12 VB
Western World
Fire Queen
Kiangwae 77 [134]
1864 John Englis 3,801 China 1 81 12 VB
Moro Castle[135] 1864 J. A. Westervelt 1,987 NY-Havana 1 76 12 VB
New York[136] 1864 J. Simonson 3,200 n/a 1 90 12 B
Plymouth Rock 54
Plymouth Rock
Foong Shuey 64
Plymouth Rock 64
Kiangyuen 77 [137]
1864 Westervelt & Bro. 2,379 China 1 81 12 VB
St. John 1864 n/a n/a Hudson 1 85 15 n/a
Dean Richmond[138] 1865 J. Englis & Son 2,525 Hudson 1 75 14 VB
Favorita[139] 1865 J. Westervelt & Son 865 Pacific 1 56 n/a VB
Niagara [140][141] 1865 Westervelt & Son 1,100 NY-Richmond 1 60 11 VB
Old Colony [142] 1865 John Englis & Son n/a NY–Fall River, MA 1 80 12 VB
Orient [143] 1865 n/a n/a n/a 1 68 11 B
Rising Star[139] 1865 Roosevelt, Joyce & Waterbury 1,915 n/a 1 n/a n/a VB
Saratoga [140][144] 1865 Westervelt & Son 1,100 NY-Richmond 1 60 11 VB
Drew 1866 John Englis 2,902 Hudson 1 81 14 VB
Oregonian [145] 1866 Lawrence & Foulks 2,200 California coast 1 82 12 VB

Legend: n/a=information not available; Built=year built; Ton.=gross tonnage; Deployment=original location of operation. Where the original deployment is not known, the location is followed by a number, which represents the last two digits of the year in which the vessel is known to have operated at the given location; No.=number of engines; Cyl.=diameter of engine cylinder(s) in inches; Str.=engine stroke in feet; Type=engine type. Types of engine include: AC=annular compound; B=beam; C=compound; CB=compound beam; C=crosshead. Crosshead engines built by this company are almost certainly all of the American "square" type, rather than the Steeple type; DA=direct-acting; DS=double screw; GS=geared screw; HBA=horizontal back-acting; I=inclined; O=oscillating; S=screw; St=steeple; SL=side-lever; V=vertical; VB=vertical beam; VL=vibrating-lever.


The following table lists warships powered by Allaire Iron Works engines. This list is confined to vessels that were designed and built as warships, and does not include merchant ships commissioned into the Navy.

Warships powered by Allaire Iron Works engines (1861–65)
Ship Engine
Name Type Built Builder Disp. No. Cyl. (ins) Str. (ft) Type
USS Penobscot G 1861 C. P. Carter 691 2 30 HBA/S
USS Winona G 1861 C. & R. Poillon 691 2 30 HBA/S
USS Lackawanna[146] SS 1862 New York Navy Yard 2,526 2 42 HBA/S
USS Mackinaw[147] DEG 1863 New York Navy Yard 1,173 1 58 I/DA
USS Mattabesett[148] DEG 1863 New York Navy Yard 1,173 1 58 I/DA
USS Puritan[149] M 1864 Continental Iron Works 4,192 2 100 4 VL/DS
USS Madawaska[150] SF 1865 New York Navy Yard 4,105 2 100 4 VL/S

Legend: Type=ship type. Types include - G=gunboat; SS=screw sloop; DEG=double-ended gunboat; M=monitor; SF=screw frigate. Built=Year of ship launch, or completion where launch date is unknown; Builder=Name of ship builder; Disp.=displacement in tons; No.=number of engines; Cyl.=diameter of engine cylinder(s) in inches; Str.=engine stroke in feet; Type=engine type. Types of engine include: DA=direct acting; DS=double screw; HBA=horizontal back-acting; I=inverted; S=screw; VL=vibrating-lever. See marine steam engine for explanation of various engine types.

See also




  • Bauer, Karl Jack and Roberts, Stephen S. (1991): Register of Ships of the U.S. Navy, 1775-1990: Major Combatants, Greenwood Publishing Group, ISBN 978-0-313-26202-9.
  • Baughman, James P. (1968): Charles Morgan and the Development of Southern Transportation, pp. 242-245, Vanderbilt University Press.
  • Emmons, Lieut. George F., USN (1853): The Navy Of The United States, From The Commencement, 1775 To 1853, Gideon & Co., Washington.
  • Dayton, Fred Erving (1925): Steamboat Days, Frederick A. Stokes Company, New York, reproduced in part here.
  • Frazer, John F. (ed.) (1859): Journal of the Franklin Institute, pp. 62, 345-46, 3rd Series, Volume 38, Whole No. Volume 68, Franklin Institute, Philadelphia.
  • Frazer, John F. (ed.) (1861): Journal of the Franklin Institute, Volume 71, Franklin Institute, Philadelphia.
  • Heyl, Erik (1953–67): Early American Steamers, Volumes 1-5, Erik Heyl, Buffalo, New York.
  • Main, Thomas (1893): The Progress of Marine Engineering, From the time of Watt until the present day, The Trade Publishing Co., New York.
  • Morrison, John Harrison: History Of American Steam Navigation reprinted in 2008 by READ BOOKS, ISBN 978-1-4086-8144-2.
  • Morrison, John Harrison (1909): History of New York Shipyards, Wm. F. Sametz & Co., New York.
  • Stanton, Samuel Ward (1859): American Steam Vessels, Smith & Stanton, New York.
  • Swann, Leonard Alexander Jr. (1965): John Roach, Maritime Entrepreneur: the Years as Naval Contractor 1862–1886 — United States Naval Institute (reprinted 1980 by Ayer Publishing, ISBN 978-0-405-13078-6).
  • U.S. Treasury Department (1838): "Steam Engines", Document No. 21, U.S. Treasury Department.
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