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Shipshape: 1906

Shipshape: 1906

Ecorse, Michigan, circa 1906. "Great Lakes Engineering Works. Some of the shops." Our second look at this gritty shipyard near Detroit. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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Dry dock

The riveted end is indeed the open end of the dry dock.

Slippery Stuff

I notice 3 things:

1. Oil drilling rigs to the right, on the horizon. (Yes Michigan has oil wells.)

2. Water being taken from the river for steam, and returned to the river (like all factories used to).

3. A small amount of oil in the water, probably from number 2. (If anyone puts oil in the water in Michigan today, they get a huge fine.)

Windy Yes, but Still

That's a very interesting effect with the black smoke and the ghostly people walking around. What was the typical exposure time for these dry plates? I'd guess somewhere around 1-2 seconds? Even with that, it certainly had to be very windy to blow the smoke so nearly horizontal.

GLEW in the 70s

Great Lakes was primarily a steel mill. i worked there for a year while taking a break from college - in 1973. Those sheds look very familiar.

By 1973, there was no ship production going on. Predominantly we made rolled steel and slabs. I actually enjoyed working there -- the money was terrific for the time and the people I worked with were good folks. There were even a couple of "Rosie the Riveter" kind of WWII era women still working there from the 1940s.


I'm guessing the small barrels are full of rivets and the larger object amongst them appears to be a propeller blade, sometimes referred to as a "bucket." The riveted platform is likely a dry dock with the keel laying blocks in position waiting for construction.

A windy day

What a great photo, must of been a windy day judging from the smoke coming out of the stacks, also like the guy sitting on the platform looking up at the cameraman taking shot. The neat steam operated water pump next to the steam operated winch, and wonder what was in all those barrels, including the really large one.

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