Records (1899-2006, undated) of Pt. Pleasant, West Virginia shipbuilding company, including engineering drawings, blueprints, photographs, and negatives, correspondence, contracts, reports, personnel files. Production files, etc.
M.M.C., the initials for the Marietta Manufacturing Company, also stood for its slogan, "Made Mechanically Correct". This slogan resounded for generations, particularly with those associated with trade on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Marietta began in1852 as a partnership known as W.F. Robertson & Sons Company in Beverly, Ohio. Robertson & Sons built stoves, capstans, boiler feed pumps and other steamboat equipment.
Following a devastating fire in the 1870s, Robertson & Sons moved to Marietta, Ohio in 1881, and resumed their business. In 1892, the Robertson family sold their interest in the company. That same year the Marietta Manufacturing Company was officially formed with an Ohio charter by Alla Windsor, J.D. Lashley and James H. McConnell as organizers and stockholders. Windsor would be the first of three generations of his namesake that would serve as president of Marietta and influence the history of the company greatly.
Alla Windsor served as president of the company until his death in 1911, after which his son, Walter A. Windsor, would take over his position at the tender age of twenty-seven. In future years, Marietta would become one of the major inland shipyards in the country. Much of the rapid growth and expansion of the company during the early twentieth century can be attributed to a combination of increasing demand for all types of watercraft and the company's willingness to cater to this demand. Walter A. Windsor is credited for much of the leadership, experience and foresight that would make this possible.
Marietta continued its production of steamboat equipment until 1913, when its facilities were virtually wiped out by a major flood of the Ohio River. Soon after, the citizens of Point Pleasant, West Virginia (also devastated by the flood) set out to attract new industry to the area. Lured by a location situated on higher ground and near the junction of the Ohio and Kanawha rivers (excellent for serving river transportation), as well as incentives by city officials, the company was officially moved to Point Pleasant under a West Virginia charter in 1915. At this time, Marietta's main concern of operation was related to steam engines, much of which consisted of work done for the U.S. government during World War I.
Following the war, demand for river boats began to increase significantly. Marietta's first contract for the complete construction of a towboat came in 1918. The many types of river and ocean-going vessels and equipment produced by Marietta for both U.S. and foreign markets included crane barges, packet boats, towboats, barges, dry docks (used for boat repair), pontoons, wharf boats, ferry flats, derrick boats (used for digging sand and gravel and placing pilings), dredge boats (used to make river channels wider and deeper for improved navigation and flood control), tug boats and survey ships. Military vessels included landing craft utilities, landing tugs, mine planters, net tenders, and patrol boats. The company also produced steering and capstan engines and offered a wide variety of work and repair on watercraft.
Among Marietta's major customers were Imperial Oil Company of Colombia, South America, American Barge Lines, Ashland Oil Refining Company, Vesta Coal Company, Island Creek Coal Company, Union Barge Line Corporation, the U.S government's Federal Barge Line, Esso Standard Oil Co. (Standard Oil), Iron City Sand and Gravel Company and Marquette Cement Manufacturing Company.
Marietta was not only involved in the construction of watercraft and equipment; they also produced carbon black plants (the first prefabricated commercial plants for Channeltype method of producing carbon black, and the first carbon black equipment sent to Russia), natural gasoline plants and coal mining machines.
Walter A. Windsor died in 1929 at the age of forty-one. Windsor's widow, Mrs. Ann Park Windsor, was soon elected as Vice-President. She would become quite involved in the upcoming conversion of the shipyard for war-time production. The position of president was filled by Charles O. Weissenburger. After Weissenburger's death in 1944, Windsor's brother, Dewey A. Windsor, became president of Marietta.
During World War II, Marietta employed up to 2500 workers at its peak period. The company constructed four net tenders and sixteen mine planters for the U.S. Navy, fifty-three steam tugs for the U.S. Army and two towboats for the Defense Plant Corporation. The U.S. Army ended up buying only forty-seven of the ordered steam tugs and the remaining six were sold by Marietta to Russia. In addition, the U.S Navy originally ordered forty tank landing craft from Marietta, only to cancel the contract later. These forty cancelled tank landing craft were only part of a total of one-hundred originally to be constructed by Marietta and six other shipbuilders. Of the seven, Marietta was the only company to have the complete order cancelled.
Regardless of these few problems, Marietta had an overall great working relationship with the U.S. government. In 1944, the company received the Army-Navy "E" award for exceptional service in war-time production. Other vessels built for the U.S. Government by Marietta included six dredges for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers between 1932 and 1934, three patrol boats for the U.S. Coast Guard in 1934, ten landing craft utility for the U.S. Government between 1953 and 1954, two berthing and messing craft for the U.S. Navy in 1956, two survey ships for the U.S. Department of Commerce in 1963 and three survey ships for the U.S. Navy between 1964 and 1965.
One tragic event that stands out in Marietta's history occurred on the morning of December 22, 1953. On this day an empty gasoline barge exploded at the company's boat dock. This accident claimed the lives of six workers who were cleaning the barge at the time it exploded. The workers were Raymond Beller, Chester Elliot, Sherman Randolph, John Wheeler, William Fletcher and Harry "Tad" Bonecutter.
Dewey A. Windsor served as president of Marietta until 1953, when the position was taken over by H.R. Cole. Cole served until Elmer W. Easter took his place in 1957. Easter served as president for only one year. In 1958 the position of president at Marietta was filled by Walter M. Windsor (Walter A. Windsor's other son), the youngest president of a major shipbuilding firm in the world at that time. In 1960, the company opened a second shipyard in Mound City, Illinois.
Due to economic conditions, Marietta formally ceased operation in February 1970. In the years leading up to its closure, the company primarily served as a vessel repair facility. Later that year, the plant was purchased at auction from Travelers Indemnity Company by Amherst Industries, Inc., a subsidiary of the Amherst Coal Company of Charleston, WV.
In 1972, the company became active once again under Amherst Industries, Inc. as Point Pleasant Marine Company. The company continued to offer repair services and, within a few years, began building vessels again. However, this was not to last. In 1984, after labor trouble and a strike by employees, the company closed its doors for good.
The following list represents the known vessels that Marietta built or had contracted out to be built during its production history.
Captain Charles H. Stone (compiler), The History of Marietta Manufacturing Co., Point Pleasant, West Virginia (Point Pleasant, WV: C.H. Stone, 2000).
HD 9727 W4 S76 2000 Joyner Special Collections Reference
HD 9727 W4 S76 2000 Joyner Stacks
The records of the Marietta Manufacturing Company document the organization through correspondence, reports, production files, personnel files, legal documents, financial records, engineering drawings and photographic images. Much of the records include documentation of everyday operation on an administrative and productive level. While not all periods are covered equally for each subject and type of material, a good overall portion of the company's long history is reflected in the records. The records are separated into the following fourteen series: Personnel Department, Photographic Materials, Windsor Family, Legal Documents, Central Files, Financial Records, Production Department, Sales Department, Printed Materials, Product Working Files, Oversized Items (Boxes), Oversized Items (Folders), and Additional Accession.
(Note: At present drawings within the Marietta records are on a limited access status, and only a relatively small portion of the drawings have been identified. Additionally, current drawing location resources we possess are internal and not available online, so please consult with staff regarding any drawing searches. For further details, see the Engineering Department series description)
Series 1: The Personnel Department series contains detailed individual employee records. These records span from the 1930s to the late 1960s. Due to the presence of sensitive information, the bulk of these files are closed until 2046. Among the open records are joint committee minutes which document union negotiations of pay, vacation and insurance. Also included are employee manuals, correspondence, timesheet reports and employee directories. Though covering only the 1940s through 1960s, these materials offer a good look into the existing work atmosphere and culture of that period. (Note: For general office communications related to personnel matters see also Central Files. For other personnel records specific to product built see the Product Working Files series)
Series 2: Photographic Materials is a large collection of images in both print and negative format, and covers an extended time period of the company. Some of the negatives are accompanied by prints for viewing, while others are not. Most all types of products produced by Marietta can be found in these materials. The majority of these are ships, but other Marietta-built products such as carbon black plants and coal mining machines are also documented. These images are arranged further into sub series by product type and subject. Also included are images of the factory, employees and local areas of interest, though many of these do not have specific identification. A small portion of this series includes glass negatives, most of which have limited access due to damage and fragility. While the inventory offers an adequate overall description of what exists in this series, in some cases researchers will still need to rely on internal departmental resources. For more information please contact staff.
Series 3: Windsor Family offers a personal look at the family that played such a major role in the long history of Marietta. The bulk of these materials concern Walter M. Windsor and are represented by correspondence and financial records. A small portion of these are restricted until 2046 due to their recent activity and sensitive nature. Also included are materials documenting the life of Walter M. Windsor's father, Walter A. Windsor. Among these are several graduate diplomas and a scrapbook. The scrapbook is of particular interest as it contains clippings highlighting Windsor's life and career as well as many sympathy letters and cards from friends and acquaintances sent to his widow following his death in 1929. Also included are clippings documenting local news and events. Among these is the opening of the Silver Bridge in 1928. This 2,235 foot bridge connected Point Pleasant, West Virginia and Kanauga, Ohio and was both the first aluminum painted bridge and the first eye-bar suspension bridge of its type in the country. Tragically, in 1967 the bridge collapsed. Forty-six people were killed in this accident. (Note: For general office communications related to the Windsor Family see also Central Files.)
Series 4: Legal Documents consists of contracts, by-laws and financial records. Many of these materials, particularly the contracts, represent some of the earliest documentation of the company. Some of the earliest materials document specifics of Marietta's move from its original location in Ohio to West Virginia following a devastating flood. The contracts deal with a variety of business deals including those related to land, materials and other similar matters. (Note: For general office communications related to legal matters see also Central Files. For other legal records specific to product built see the Product Working Files series)
Series 5: Central Files contains the everyday working correspondence of the company at a departmental level. Though the bulk of the time period covered is the 1950s through 1960s, this series does offer an excellent look at the company's business style and procedural operation of the period. These materials also offers insight into the types of customers the company was serving, as well as an inside look at operations on the departmental level. These materials were filed in the current manner by the company and this filing system was retained. In most cases these files consist of general office communication that was filtered to the central office. For this reason one may find related and sometimes duplicated materials in other series. There is a very small amount of legal materials that have been restricted until 2046 due to their recent activity and sensitive nature. (Note: For other records specific to company department or product built see appropriate series)
Series 6: Financial Records include a broad range of reports documenting the finances of the company over a long period. These reports are of a general nature and mostly reflect the company's finances on a large scale. Stockholder Reports and tax returns offer a look into Marietta's from its early years in West Virginia into the 1960s. (Note: For general office communications related to legal business see also Central Files. For other financial records specific to product built see the Product Working Files series)
Series 7: Production Department contains a broad range of reports documenting the productive activity of the company over a long period. In addition to production, these records also refer to equipment repair and renovation, an activity Marietta was also heavily involved in. Early production invoices are arranged alphabetically by customer name. Also included are labor distribution reports and inventories of equipment, as well as reports for the Mound City, Illinois shipyard. (Note: For general office communications related to production see also Central Files. For other production records specific to product built see the Product Working Files series)
Series 8: Sales Department contains materials related to sales activity of a general nature at the company. The sales manual includes lists of customers as well as national maps depicting regions to target, however it appears this publication was never officially put into use. Other material consists of sales reports. (Note: For general office communications related to sales see also Central Files. For other sales records specific to product built see the Product Working Files series)
Series 9: Printed Materials consists mostly of publications from the 1950s and 1960s related to the shipping industry, along with a few business and financial publications of a more general nature. Included are several issues of the American Waterways Operators Inc. newsletter. Among the industry publications are several issues of Waterways Journal, a weekly shipping industry publication in which several large page advertisements of Marietta can be found. Unfortunately, within the industry publications there are only a few issues of Marietta Log, a small newsletter of company news published by Marietta. Of particular interest are several printing plates that were apparently used in past company advertising.
Series 10: Engineering Department contains materials related to engineering activity at the company. Several engineering manuals are included, most of which appear to have been assembled by individual engineers throughout the years and passed down for future reference. Correspondence generally concerns specific projects and references to the related drawings. (Note: For general office communications related to engineering activities see also Central Files. For other engineering records specific to product built see the Product Working Files series)
The collection includes an estimated 35,000 drawings dating as early as 1918, when the company started building ships. Blueprints consist of all phases of construction including components, engines, mechanical and electrical schematics, and capstans. Drawings for carbon plants, buildings, and the company grounds are included. The drawings are stored in 67 drawers and 196 boxes.
Also included are many drawing indexes in both ledger and card form. The drawings listed do not necessarily reflect drawings that are in the collection. Also present are a few boxes of small drawings arranged numerically. At present all drawings are on a limited access status. This is due in part to the large number of drawings, limited space for housing and limited staff to process and identify. 2049 are identified in a spreadsheet found at this link:
Marietta Blueprint Drawing Inventory (MS Excel file).
The drawings are organized by sequential drawing number. The information on each document was not always consistent. Therefore, if listed the information includes the date created, ship size, title, the type of vessel, name of vessel, hull number, the purchaser(s), the Marietta list number, the Marietta order number, the company that created the drawing, and any additional notes. The paper stock used was the cyanotype process on paper, linen, and thin tracing paper. Note: A small amount of drawings can also be found in Series 12-14.
Other things to consider when requesting drawings is the complicated nature of their creation. Many drawings may have several duplicates made of the same or different paper, such as a "blueprint" copy and a "linen" copy or several of each. Many times these duplicate copies have been marked void or may have inscribed revisions. Of these, they may or may not have alternate numbers attached to the main Marietta number. Furthermore, Marietta also used drawings from other companies. Sometimes the company would produce the drawing but still use a Marietta number, while others have their own company's number. Usually these drawings relate to an accessory of the product that is nonstructural, such as the radio, gyroscopes or heating parts on a ship. There were also many combinations of prefixes used on drawing numbers, some beginning with letters, while others beginning with numbers followed by letters and more numbers.
Drawings that were originally accessioned as groups were identified in past years before the processing of the actual records began. These are the drawings for which we have number identification, and in some cases, further detailed information for. Those drawings encountered while processing the records were retained by product type. This is somewhat of an advantage as you have an idea of what the drawing was used for. However, in most cases there is no number documentation in a comprehensive list form. Much of the relationship of the numbers can be found in the various product-specific reports and correspondence of the Product Working Files series. These numbers normally consist of a hull number, an S.O. (shipping order) number, a P.O. (purchase order) number or a contract number. At present there is no entirely comprehensive listing of drawings held. However, there are a few resources available for some of the drawings. For example, one document entitled Work Launches includes S.O. numbers and hull numbers for many Marietta projects, and can be found in folder 741.127.b. Two other examples can be found in the Product Working Files series in the form of a survey ship manual index in folder 742.199.a and a survey ship drawing index in os box 17. Additionally, in some cases these numbers may be found associated with the actual drawing number on the drawing index cards and ledgers previously mentioned in the Engineering Department series description)
Series 11: Product Working Files document all of the daily records used for the construction and repair of specific products. The bulk of these are ships, but other Marietta-built products such as carbon black plants and coal mining machines are also present. These records are arranged further into sub series by product type. These files also include thorough documentation of the six (out of fifty-three) steam tugs that were cancelled by the U.S. Army after production and later sold to Russia. Complete documentation also exists for the forty tank landing craft ordered by the U.S Navy but later cancelled and never built. During processing some of the files in this series included a mixture of record types that would lose provenance if separated. In these instances the files were simply assigned the term "working files".
Series 12: Oversized Items (Boxes) contains items that were separated during processing due to their large size. These items are referenced within the series in which they were removed to their present location. There is also a complete list of items in oversized boxes included in the inventory.
Series 13: Oversized Items (Folders) contains items that were separated during processing due to their large size. These items are referenced within the series in which they were removed to their present location. There is also a complete list of items in oversized folders included in the inventory.
Series 14: Additional Accession contains mixed materials very much related to other materials in the collection. This material was being conserved at the original time of processing, so for convenience it has been added at the end of the records. Highlights of this material include correspondence, purchase orders, drawings, work orders and weight estimates documenting nearly all ship types represented in the previous series.
Gift of Mr. Charles T. Jones
Photographic Images and Drawings processed by Lynette Lundin
Photographic Images processed by Kate Stratford
Drawings processed by Sarah Norris, August, 2005
Organizational Records processed by Dale Sauter, Amy Leuchtmann, and Jessica Wallace, May 15, 2006
Blueprint drawings processed by Martin Tschetter, Oct.-Dec., 2009
Encoded by Apex Data Services
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.