November 22, 2022

The Herreshoff Brothers and their Torpedo Boats, Part VIII

A series of papers on bringing innovation to the “New Navy”

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US Navy’s First Sea-Going Torpedo Boat CUSHING

A Herreshoff Success

1886-1895

by John Palmieri

See on-line THE HERRESHOFF CATALOGUE RAISONNÉ for detailed information on HMCo. # vessels including photos, half model images and descriptive documents

Figure 1– The 138-foot sea-going steel torpedo boat CUSHING (TB-1)- the 152nd steam vessel built by the Herreshoff Manufacturing Co. as delivered to the U.S. Navy without armament in 1890. (Source- Gail Borden Condensed Milk Advertising Card circa 1898)[1]

[1] Note the condensed milk can floating in the foreground. A similar image was published in a full color Art Supplement to the Philadelphia Inquirer, June 12, 1898.

Introduction

[1] Quotes from “Report of the Secretary of The Navy, William C. Whitney Dec. 1, 1886.” P.16. & “App. No. 3 Report of the Admiral of The Navy, David Dixon Porter. November 15, 1886.” P. 57. Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy with Accompanying Documents for the Year 1886. Washington GPO 1886. 

This is the third part covering the 10-years, 1886-1895. While the stories run simultaneously, for clarity, we have presented them in the sequence they played out.  

[5] John R. Spears, The History of our Navy; from its origins to the End of the War with Spain (1775 – 1898); Vol V War with Spain, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York 1902. Pg. 90. Also “Report of the Secretary of the Navy Dec. 6, 1887, William C. Whitney”, Pgs. iii-iv. 

[6] “The Building of Warships; Annual Report of Secretary Whitney; The Poor Results Attained by the New Cruisers (i.e., the ABC cruisers)- Broad Plans for Making the Navy Stronger”, New York Times, Dec. 4, 1886.

[7] Sir Edward J. Reed, M.P. (late Chief Constructor of the British Navy) & Edward Simpson RADM USN (Late President US Naval Advisory Board), Modern Ships of War. (Harper & Brothers, New York, 1888) Pgs. 167-8. Provides specifics on John Roach actions to provide domestic steel plating for the ABCD ships.

[8] The purchase of quality domestic steel would remain a major problem for about 15 more years. Paul E. Pedisich, Congress Buys a Navy, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis MD. 2016. Pg. 62.

Part VI covered the conversion of STILETTO to a torpedo boat (WTB-1) and Part VII followed Admiral of the Navy David Dixon Porter’s strong support of Herreshoff in his effort to have the Navy construct a torpedo gunboat (cruiser) of his design utilizing Herreshoff machinery, only to end with Herreshoff withdrawing from large warship boiler competition. Part VIII- 

[5] John R. Spears, The History of our Navy; from its origins to the End of the War with Spain (1775 – 1898); Vol V War with Spain, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York 1902. Pg. 90. Also “Report of the Secretary of the Navy Dec. 6, 1887, William C. Whitney”, Pgs. iii-iv. 

[6] “The Building of Warships; Annual Report of Secretary Whitney; The Poor Results Attained by the New Cruisers (i.e., the ABC cruisers)- Broad Plans for Making the Navy Stronger”, New York Times, Dec. 4, 1886.

[7] Sir Edward J. Reed, M.P. (late Chief Constructor of the British Navy) & Edward Simpson RADM USN (Late President US Naval Advisory Board), Modern Ships of War. (Harper & Brothers, New York, 1888) Pgs. 167-8. Provides specifics on John Roach actions to provide domestic steel plating for the ABCD ships.

[8] The purchase of quality domestic steel would remain a major problem for about 15 more years. Paul E. Pedisich, Congress Buys a Navy, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis MD. 2016. Pg. 62.

Follows the outcome from the Aug. 3,1886 congressional appropriation for one sea-going, cruising torpedo boat to be built in the USA at a cost not to exceed $100,000, including the government supplied armament. [2]

[2] The Act of Aug. 3, 1886

●  Introduces the US Navy’s first steel sea-going torpedo boat Herreshoff’s CUSHING (TB-1) through design, construction, trials, and early service. 

●  Briefly explores in Attachment A how STILETTO & CUSHING met the Torpedo Corps urgent recommendation of 1886 to “inaugurate a system of offensive torpedo warfare” by providing “at least two first class torpedo boats at once with a few automobile torpedoes.”[3] 

[2] William duBarry Thomas. “The Genesis of a Professional Society”. SNAME Transactions. Vol.101, 1993, pgs.31-9.

[3] “Report of the Inspector of Ordnance In-Charge Newport Torpedo Station, C. P. Goodrich, CDR USN” contained in Bureau of Ordnance Report Nov. 10, 1886, Appendix No. 7, Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy 1886. Wash DC GPO 1886. Page 281. 

Builder and the Torpedo Boat

[4] Thomas Wildenberg and Norman Polmar. Ship Killers: A History of the American Torpedo. (Annapolis, MD, USNI Press, 2010) pgs. 16-17.

By early 1888 HMCo had come a long way from the 70 workers of 1878. The Bristol Phoenix trumpeted the good news, describing a “flourishing establishment…recently enlarged…crowded with contracts”, employing a “greater number than ever before”; even “advertising for workmen from abroad.” In March 1889 at the height of CUSHING’s construction employment was 125-150, increasing from there to 250 in May 1890 at CUSHING‘s delivery. [4] Growing, but not at the capability level of the noted torpedo boat builders of the day, Thornycroft and Yarrow, employing 1000 to 1200 men. [5]

[5] John R. Spears, The History of our Navy; from its origins to the End of the War with Spain (1775 – 1898); Vol V War with Spain, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York 1902. Pg. 90. Also “Report of the Secretary of the Navy Dec. 6, 1887, William C. Whitney”, Pgs. iii-iv. 

[6] “The Building of Warships; Annual Report of Secretary Whitney; The Poor Results Attained by the New Cruisers (i.e., the ABC cruisers)- Broad Plans for Making the Navy Stronger”, New York Times, Dec. 4, 1886.

[7] Sir Edward J. Reed, M.P. (late Chief Constructor of the British Navy) & Edward Simpson RADM USN (Late President US Naval Advisory Board), Modern Ships of War. (Harper & Brothers, New York, 1888) Pgs. 167-8. Provides specifics on John Roach actions to provide domestic steel plating for the ABCD ships.

[8] The purchase of quality domestic steel would remain a major problem for about 15 more years. Paul E. Pedisich, Congress Buys a Navy, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis MD. 2016. Pg. 62.

[1] NGH “Estimate of Machinery for Torpedo Vessel of Adl Porter Design,” Naval Architecture & Eng’g. Notes; Book 2 of 5. Spring of 1884. Two pages. On page 2 Capt. Nat provides two engine designs A & B. He notes (in Nov. 1886) that B was adopted, but never finished. Halsey C. Herreshoff Collection, Herreshoff Marine Museum.

[2] “Report of the Admiral of the Navy to the Secretary of the Navy 1886”, Washington, GPO 1886. Inscribed, “Mr. Herreshoff compliments of the Admiral”. Halsey C. Herreshoff Collection, Herreshoff Marine Museum.

[3] David Dixon Porter archival collections include ” avid D. Porter Papers, (1806-1890)” at Syracuse University. “David Porter Papers” Clements Library, Univ of Michigan, including a 200 page long “”My Career in the Navy Department”. “David D. Porter Family Papers”, Library of Congress.

[4] Bristol Phoenix, “The Herreshoff Manufacturing Co. Works”, Apr. 13, 1878. “Local Affairs”, Jan. 14, 1888. “Letter to the Editor” G. L. Locke, St. Michael’s Rectory, Jan. 28, 1888. “Launching of a New Steam Yacht”, Mar. 23, 1900. “A New Torpedo Thrower: Herreshoff at Work on a Deadly War Vessel”, New York Times, March 28, 1889.

[5] “Modern Torpedo Boats”, Newport Mercury, April 9, 1887- Re-print summarized from Scribner Magazine. 

 Who was Herreshoff and what they created in CUSHING is best described by retired, former Engineer-in-Chief of the US Navy, Benjamin Isherwood in the introduction to his long paper, “The United States Torpedo Boat CUSHING and it Experiments Investigated” in the Feb. 1892 Journal of the American Society of Naval Engineers. [6] [7]

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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[4] All quotes are from “Report of the Admiral of the Navy to the Secretary of the Navy 1886”, Appendix 3 to Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy with Accompanying Documents for the Year 1886.  Washington GPO 1886. Pages 54-69. 

[6] Chief Engineer Isherwood, USN, “The United States Torpedo Boat CUSHING and its Experiments Investigated” Journal American Society of Naval Engineers, Vol IV No. 1 Feb 1892. Pgs. 1-71. Quotes are from pages 1-3. 

[7] Isherwood had reached the mandatory US Navy retirement age of 62 in October 1884, after serving for almost 41 years. He continued his engineering research and writing with his close friend and former Navy engineer Paul Zeller (Zeller died in 1901), until 1910. Isherwood died in 1915 at age 93. Source Edward William Sloan, III, Benjamin Isherwood Naval Engineer, USNI, Annapolis MD. Pgs. 240-2.

“The CUSHING is the first torpedo boat constructed for the United States Navy. It was built entirely- hull and machinery- in the shops of the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company at Bristol, Rhode Island, a firm of world-wide reputation for designing and constructing small vessels of excessively high speed, whether driven by steam power alone or by sails alone, and of exceptionally excellent materials and workmanship. This firm has introduced into both kinds of these vessels, of which it makes a specialty, many novelties, not only in the details of construction but in the application of the principles of naval architecture, and always with remarkable success. The CUSHING is, consequently, an illustration of the best that can be done with the most superior materials and the finest workmanship combined by the scientific and practical knowledge derived from extensive study and experience.”

[5] There are various terms used to describe boilers in this paper. There are two primary types

1. Fire tube including Scotch type, cylindrical, and locomotive in which hot fire box gases pass though tubes to heat water in a cylindrical drum.

2. Water tube, including tubulous, coil, sectional, square, and three-drum in which water passing through the tubes is heated by hot gases in the firebox.

He well understood the service limitations (“the naval utility”) of a torpedo boat the size of CUSHING to accomplish the mission-

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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[4] All quotes are from “Report of the Admiral of the Navy to the Secretary of the Navy 1886”, Appendix 3 to Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy with Accompanying Documents for the Year 1886.  Washington GPO 1886. Pages 54-69. 

“… use at sea for the discharge at a distant enemy of the automobile torpedo; with the ability to protect itself by means of its own guns against the attack by any vessel of about its own size and speed.” – and what had been sacrificed to achieve the results.

[5] There are various terms used to describe boilers in this paper. There are two primary types

1. Fire tube including Scotch type, cylindrical, and locomotive in which hot fire box gases pass though tubes to heat water in a cylindrical drum.

2. Water tube, including tubulous, coil, sectional, square, and three-drum in which water passing through the tubes is heated by hot gases in the firebox.

“For the combination of the highest practicable speed on the dimensions given, with the greatest facility for turning, all nautical qualities have necessarily and properly been sacrificed… from an engineering point of view…CUSHING is a mere racing and turning machine, restricted for satisfactory performance to very short distances in very smooth water…”

[5] There are various terms used to describe boilers in this paper. There are two primary types

1. Fire tube including Scotch type, cylindrical, and locomotive in which hot fire box gases pass though tubes to heat water in a cylindrical drum.

2. Water tube, including tubulous, coil, sectional, square, and three-drum in which water passing through the tubes is heated by hot gases in the firebox.

Figure 2– CUSHING #152 Half Model 401 by Capt. Nat (Undated) “The Racing and Turning Machine”- Bottom shaped for easy turning with no keel or skeg at either end. Bottom approximates an elliptic arc bent upwards at the ends. Hull is at its greatest depth 4 feet below either end- near the center length. [8] [9]

[1] Note the condensed milk can floating in the foreground. A similar image was published in a full color Art Supplement to the Philadelphia Inquirer, June 12, 1898.

[8] Source NGH Model 401 image THE HERRESHOFF CATALOGUE RAISONNÉ.

[9] Description of CUSHING hull shape from Isherwood, “US TB CUSHING” ASNE Journal 1892 pgs. 6-7. 

 Isherwood noted CUSHING’s sphere of action to be limited by its small dimensions, little weight of coal carried, excessive lightness of the hull scantlings, with most occupancy of the hull constrained by machinery and fuel, leaving only enough displacement and space for servicing the torpedoes. These limitations were further exacerbated by the roughness of the water in which it operates. 

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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US Navy’s Procurement of CUSHING

[4] Thomas Wildenberg and Norman Polmar. Ship Killers: A History of the American Torpedo. (Annapolis, MD, USNI Press, 2010) pgs. 16-17.

The Appropriation

[4] Thomas Wildenberg and Norman Polmar. Ship Killers: A History of the American Torpedo. (Annapolis, MD, USNI Press, 2010) pgs. 16-17.

With the August 1886 appropriation and authorization to build “one first class torpedo boat, costing in the aggregate not more than $100,000” came additional Congressional requirements applying to all new warships:[10]

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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[10] “Memoranda of Acts of Congress Applying to New Vessels “. Journal American Society of Naval Engineers, Vol.1 1889. Pages 236-41. Provides the words of annual appropriation acts and authorizations from Aug 5, 1882 through March 1889. 

All steel to be of domestic manufacture, tensile strength not less than 60,000 psi, and elongation in 8 inches of not less than 25%.

●  Engines, boilers, and machinery to be of domestic manufacture and procured by contract, unless the Secretary unable to obtain at fair prices, in which case he may construct at Navy Yards

●  To not contract for construction or completion of vessels, engines, machinery or boilers until all drawings and specifications have been provided or adopted by the Secretary.

[2] William duBarry Thomas. “The Genesis of a Professional Society”. SNAME Transactions. Vol.101, 1993, pgs.31-9.

●  Limitations on changes without Secretary approval; provision for a Navy board to ascertain cost responsibility for changes; provision for completion penalties; allow proposals from American shipbuilders and others who can show that within three months of the date of the contract they will possess the plant necessary to carry out the contract.

[2] William duBarry Thomas. “The Genesis of a Professional Society”. SNAME Transactions. Vol.101, 1993, pgs.31-9.

The Bureau of Ordnance (BuOrd) and its Torpedo Corps had the direct responsibility for procuring the torpedo boat. Chief of the Bureau, Commodore Montgomery Sicard, reported in 1888 the steel sea-going torpedo boat, designed and built to meet Navy Circular of Requirements, “was advertised in the usual way”, resulting in proposals from the Herreshoff Manufacturing Co. (HMCo), and the Vulcan Iron Works, Chicago, IL. HMCo’s proposal was accepted, and a contract based upon that proposal was awarded.[11] 

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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[11] “Report of the Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance October 31, 1888” Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy 1888 Appendix No. 7. Wash DC GPO 1888. Pages 192-3.

That may be true, but there is nothing usual about the direct personal involvement of the Secretary of the Navy, William C. Whitney described below. Secretary Whitney, as discussed in Part V of this series was very critical of the performance of the ABCD ships, the contractor building them, and Navy management of the contracts. He was determined not to repeat that performance on his watch. [12]

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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[12] Based upon prior statements Secretary Whitney’s probable preference for this first torpedo boat was to purchase one of the latest British torpedo boats or procure the drawings for domestic manufacture.

The Secretary Intervenes

[4] Thomas Wildenberg and Norman Polmar. Ship Killers: A History of the American Torpedo. (Annapolis, MD, USNI Press, 2010) pgs. 16-17.

The Secretary of the Navy’s intervention to pre-select the team to design the U.S. Navy’s first sea-going torpedo boat and to acquire that design for the Navy is developed from personal records of the Edward Burgess family and of Capt. Nat as described in the end notes. Secretary Whitney made no mention of these activities in his annual reports to Congress, nor was it reported in the newspapers.

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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The Secretary had much on his plate. Pushing reorganization of the Department against Bureau and Congressional resistance, and now that Congress was annually appropriating a small, but steady number of new vessels, devoting himself to building the New Navy– the backbone of the fleet that defeats Spain in 1898.[13]

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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[13] Secretary Whitney introduced the term “The New Navy” as the heading for the report on new construction in his Annual Report of 1887. “Report of the Secretary of the Navy, Wm. C. Whitney Wash. DC December 6, 1887”. Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy 1887. Wash DC GPO 1887. Page V. 

In early April 1887 Secretary Whitney telegraphs General Charles C. Paine, (1833-1916), leader of the successful America’s Cup defenses of 1885 and 1886 (Then in preparation for the forthcoming 1887 races with his new boat VOLUNTEER). The Secretary “wished to know the address of the designer of MAYFLOWER & PURITAN”, the Defenders of 1885 and 1886. [14]

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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[14] Information on communications between Secretary Whitney, Paine and Edward Burgess- Abstracts from the Journal of Caroline BurgessReferences to Gen. Charles J. Paine and America’s Cup Defenders PURITAN, MAYFLOWER & VOLUNTEER; 1885, 1886 & 1887. Page 22. (Caroline was Edward’s wife, marrying in 1887.) Herreshoff Marine Museum Archives. 

The designer was Edward (Ned) Burgess, of a formerly wealthy Boston family. Capt. Nat and Edward Burgess were the same age; while Nat studied mechanical engineering at MIT followed by employment at Corliss and partnership with brother John, Edward studied natural science at Harvard and began a career in entomology. That changed in 1883 when family financial reverses required Edward to switch to a more lucrative profession- yacht designer. He first studied English yachts; then returned home where in the amazing short span of seven years (1884-1891) he and his Boston-based firm designed about 206 vessels. Burgess generally specialized in large sailboats while Capt. Nat was concentrating on small, fast steam craft. At his untimely death due to typhoid fever in 1891 Burgess was recognized in a New York Times obituary as one of only three men who have “left a distinct and characteristic impression on American yachts.” [15] [16] [17] [18]

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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[15] L. Francis Herreshoff, Captain Nat Herreshoff: The Wizard of Bristol. Sheridan House, New York 1953. Pp 81-2.

[16] Captain Nat and MAYFLOWER’S America’s Cup Victory”, This Month in Herreshoff History: September 1886. Herreshoff Marine Museum

[17]Adolphus Gustavus McVey “Edward Burgess and his work”. New England Magazine.1892 Vol. V. pp. 49–62.

[18] “His Loss Greatly Felt”, New York Times, July 19, 1891. Edward Burgess obituary.

The Burgess and Herreshoff families had been friendly since 1869. Capt. Nat noted in 1937, “Edward Burgess was about four months younger than me, and in my younger days I saw quite a bit of the Burgess family by my brother John building all the boats for the Burgess boys.” More recently in 1886 Capt. Nat, at Burgess’ invitation, served as an important member of MAYFLOWER’s after guard in the Defender trials and America’s Cup races. [19] [20]

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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[19] “Capt. Nat letter No. 25, Feb 13, 1937”, Nathanael Greene Herreshoff- William Picard Stephens; annotated by John W. Streeter, Their Last Letters. Herreshoff Marine Museum Bristol, RI. 1988. Pgs. 158-9.

[20] Captain Nat and MAYFLOWER’S America’s Cup Victory”, This Month in Herreshoff History: September 1886. Herreshoff Marine Museum

Edward Burgess was called to Washington to be interviewed on April 12, 1887, by Secretary Whitney for an appointment to the Navy Advisory Board. The Secretary also proposed to Burgess that he “in conjunction with” Capt. Nat design the sea-going torpedo boat. There was a second meeting where on April 28th Burgess, agreeing to the Secretary’s wishes, wrote to Capt. Nat, from Wash. DC, proposing the design collaboration. The Secretary also invited Capt. Nat for two 1½ day visits for discussions about the torpedo boat.[a] (They had met in Bristol two years earlier, July 1885, when Capt. Nat and John demonstrated STILETTO to the Secretary.) Nat traveled on April 18-20 and again on May 4-6 to discuss the torpedo boat. Whitney concluded the discussions with a letter to Capt. Nat on June 22nd summarizing his proposal. [21] [22]

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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[a] Why Nat and not brother John who was the face of the steam vessel business? The Secretary wanted the best performance possible; his questions were primarily technical, not business. Also, the Navy being a technical organization often went directly to Nat. John’s correspondence with his daughter Katie, show that during much of April and May he was on company business through New York and New England.

[21] Burgess information is from Abstracts from the Journal of Caroline Burgess, Pg. 22.

[22] Capt. Nat’s travel dates from his statement of travel expenses.” Capt. Nat Letter of May 27, 1887 to Secretary Whitney”, NGH 1870-1890 Carbon Copy Book pages 06r & 07r. Halsey C. Herreshoff Collection. Herreshoff Marine Museum. 

Neither of the two letters, Burgess’ of April 28, and Whitney’s of June 22 have been found, but we know the subjects because of the Burgess summary of events (Figure 3) and Capt. Nat’s responses of April 30 and June 27 respectively (Figure 4 & Figure 5). Whitney wanted three things.

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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1. Capt. Nat to design the torpedo boat in conjunction with Burgess and to solidify the partnership by writing a letter to Burgess confirming the agreement.

2. Capt. Nat to sell the design to the U.S. Navy for $5000.

3. The options available to the Navy through ownership of the Herreshoff/Burgess design.

a. A design competition between the Herreshoff/Burgess and a Bureau design.

b. A “build to print” competition open to all shipbuilders using the Herreshoff/Burgess design.

It may be concluded, considering Whitney’s motivation, with Congress and the Navy’s clear plan that this was a single procurement with no commitments for follow-on torpedo boats, there would be fewer bidders willing to spend the effort to develop and propose a design. By his negotiating, Whitney was working for a better outcome than that possible through the RFP and bidding process.

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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Click the images below to view them larger.

[1] Note the condensed milk can floating in the foreground. A similar image was published in a full color Art Supplement to the Philadelphia Inquirer, June 12, 1898.

Figure 3Caroline Burgess Journal Events of April- May 1887, Page 22, Regarding Secretary Whitney’s Request for Edward Burgess to collaborate in a design with Capt. Nat. While it mentions a “gunboat” it is clear from Capt. Nat’s letter to the Secretary (Figure 5) the issue is the sea-going torpedo boat.[23]

[1] Note the condensed milk can floating in the foreground. A similar image was published in a full color Art Supplement to the Philadelphia Inquirer, June 12, 1898.

[23] Figure 3– Ignore the handwritten date changes marked JJP. Caroline Burgess beginning dates are the time of her entry, not the time of the event.

Figure 4– Transcription of Capt. Nat’s letter of April 30, responding to Edward Burgess letter dated two days earlier proposing they collaborate in the design of the sea-going torpedo boat. Nat responds negatively, but kindly to his friend- that they both have enough to do in “our own lots” (i.e., areas of expertise). He does not repeat his more direct response to Whitney that Burgess would be of no assistance to him in a torpedo boat design.

[1] Note the condensed milk can floating in the foreground. A similar image was published in a full color Art Supplement to the Philadelphia Inquirer, June 12, 1898.

Figure 5– transcription of Capt. Nat’s letter of June 27, responding to Secretary of the Navy Whitney’s letter of June 22 is very direct, refusing the Secretary’s proposals, indicating readiness to design and build a torpedo boat making at least 22 knots. 

[1] Note the condensed milk can floating in the foreground. A similar image was published in a full color Art Supplement to the Philadelphia Inquirer, June 12, 1898.

Receiving Capt. Nat’s letter, Figure 4, Burgess and his wife agree (Figure 3) it would be “unwise” to undertake the torpedo boat design without Nat Herreshoff.

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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In his June 27 letter (Figure 5) Nat refuses to reconsider collaboration with Burgess, an idea he had already turned down in April, is insulted by the offer of $5000 for the design drawings, but is positive about their ability to design and build a torpedo boat of at least 22 knots (HMCo is not in business to sell designs, rather they compete on performance with designs they build themselves. If they were selling designs the price would be much higher.) Capt. Nat is left with the beginnings of a nagging feeling- the Navy is out to steal his ideas/designs.

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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Secretary Whitney giving up his quest turns the procurement over to BuOrd for execution. BuOrd loses no time, obtaining, on July 22nd Department approval of a “Circular showing the general requirements to be fulfilled in the design and performance of a steel twin-screw sea-going torpedo boat” and issuing the advertisement for proposals one week later.[24]

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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[24] “BuOrd Report October 17, 1887” Appendix 10 to Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy 1887.  Wash DC GPO 1887. Pg 230.

The Request for Proposal (RFP) and Contract Award

[4] Thomas Wildenberg and Norman Polmar. Ship Killers: A History of the American Torpedo. (Annapolis, MD, USNI Press, 2010) pgs. 16-17.

The 1886 Congressional authorization for the torpedo boat and the 1887 RFP were developed during a period of intense discussion within the Navy and before committees of Congress on the best way to build the “New Navy, and in particular the torpedo boat. The decision was to provide a set of requirements, and to “stimulate competitors best offers” by including a liberal premium for increase in performance (speed) and a penalty for falling short.” [25]

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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[25] For discussions at the time see following from the Army and Navy Journal. “Annual Report of Secretary Whitney”, ANJ Vol 23, Dec. 5, 1885. Pgs. 362-4. “Foreign Comments on Secretary Whitney’s Report”- Quotes from London’s The Engineer and Engineering, ANJ Vol 23, Jan. 30, 1886, Pgs. 540-1. “How to Build a Navy; The House Naval Committee Seeking Information”, ANJ Vol 23, Feb. 20, 1886. Pg. 597. Quote is from Whitney’s annual report. 

The RFP called for;[26]

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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[26] “A New Naval Torpedo Boat” Army and Navy Journal, Vol 25. July 30, 1887, Pg 10. “Bids Opened for Torpedo Boat”, Army and Navy Journal, Vol 25. Nov. 5, 1887, Pg. 281. 

A first-class torpedo boat of the best and most modern design, about 135 ft LOA, 15 ft beam and 100 tons displacement,

●  Capable of at least 22 knots with twin screws powered by triple expansion condensing engines connected directly to the propeller shafts, with separate engines for working the circulating and air pumps.

●  Ram bow with stern adapted for twin screws. An elliptically curved deck with two conning towers placed approximately 30 feet from the bow and stern respectively, and a form of whaleback from the forward conning tower to the stem to completely enclose the torpedo launching tubes.

[2] William duBarry Thomas. “The Genesis of a Professional Society”. SNAME Transactions. Vol.101, 1993, pgs.31-9.

●  Speed premium and penalty for trial of three-hour continuous run in smooth water

[2] William duBarry Thomas. “The Genesis of a Professional Society”. SNAME Transactions. Vol.101, 1993, pgs.31-9.

o  Premiums $1500 for each quarter knot in excess of 23 kts and including 24; $2000 for each quarter knot in excess of 24 kts;

[2] William duBarry Thomas. “The Genesis of a Professional Society”. SNAME Transactions. Vol.101, 1993, pgs.31-9.

o  Penalty of $4000 if below 22 kts; 

[2] William duBarry Thomas. “The Genesis of a Professional Society”. SNAME Transactions. Vol.101, 1993, pgs.31-9.

o  If below 20 kts Navy Department reserves right to reject the boat

[2] William duBarry Thomas. “The Genesis of a Professional Society”. SNAME Transactions. Vol.101, 1993, pgs.31-9.

●  Cost limitation exclusive of premiums $90,000. (Congress appropriated $100,000, to include contractor built vessel and subsequent Navy purchase and installation of armament.)

[2] William duBarry Thomas. “The Genesis of a Professional Society”. SNAME Transactions. Vol.101, 1993, pgs.31-9.

The bids were opened November 1, 1887;[27]

      Herreshoff- $82,750

      Vulcan Iron Works Chicago, IL- $84,800[28]

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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[27] “Tabular statement of proposals received and opened Nov. 1, 1887, for the construction of a first-class torpedo boat.” Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy 1887. Wash DC GPO 1887. Pgs. V-VII & IX.

[28] Vulcan Iron Works is described in the 1890 book The Iron and Steel Interests of Chicago by George W. Cope -: The Vulcan Iron Works manufactures dredges and other excavating machinery. Their plant consists of a four-story brick building used as a machine shop and a one-story frame building used as a blacksmith shop together occupying 150 feet frontage. They employ 175 men and annually consume 1,500 tons of pig iron and 150 tons of other iron and steel.” (Steam engines were a vital part of the business.)

Capt. Nat wrote in his diary on Dec. 7th, “Notified by Navy have awarded us contract for torpedo boat.” In his annual report to Congress dated Dec 6th the Secretary wrote that the Herreshoff’s had been “awarded”, but “no contract executed” for the torpedo boat with top speed “Estimated by bidder, 23 knots”, and later noted:[29] [30]

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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[29] “NGH Diary Dec. 7, 1897”. Halsey C. Herreshoff Collection, Herreshoff Marine Museum.

[30] Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy 1887, Pgs X-XI.

 “Bids were opened upon the 1st day of November last for the construction of one first-class torpedo boat, and two bids were found to have been received; one from the Herreshoff Company, of Rhode Island, and one from the Vulcan Iron Works, of Chicago. As both offer ample guaranties, and the plans submitted with the bids in each case are satisfactory, both offers may be accepted. If so, one will be paid for out of the appropriation for harbor defense boats. (Subsequently Vulcan was not offered a contract.) Beyond this the Department is not disposed to go in the construction of these unprotected torpedo boats. It is believed that at present the facts are against them.”

[5] There are various terms used to describe boilers in this paper. There are two primary types

1. Fire tube including Scotch type, cylindrical, and locomotive in which hot fire box gases pass though tubes to heat water in a cylindrical drum.

2. Water tube, including tubulous, coil, sectional, square, and three-drum in which water passing through the tubes is heated by hot gases in the firebox.

“Results of naval maneuvers, last year or two and facts developed at trials, demonstrate range of usefulness of the unprotected torpedo boat is certainly very limited. When they can be seen they can be easily destroyed by machine and rapid-fire guns. This rules out all day fighting. No fleet has for years in its maneuvers wasted time experimenting with the use of torpedo in day fighting. The electric searchlight, has judged by later trials, made their usefulness at night extremely doubtful. They are of value only upon occasions when they are invisible to an enemy. Such occasions are rare… the statement of the fact that they are of value only upon rare and accidental occasions should rule them out as a reliable weapon for coast and harbor defense. A nation cannot select the nights when it will defend its harbors. The occasions when it must are chosen by its adversary. …To sum up this matter, the Department deems it unwise to follow at present the course of the European powers in the building of unprotected torpedo boats.”

[5] There are various terms used to describe boilers in this paper. There are two primary types

1. Fire tube including Scotch type, cylindrical, and locomotive in which hot fire box gases pass though tubes to heat water in a cylindrical drum.

2. Water tube, including tubulous, coil, sectional, square, and three-drum in which water passing through the tubes is heated by hot gases in the firebox.

In effect, we may build the current two proposed unarmored torpedo boats, but no more. Not a very lucrative business. Congress did not authorize a second torpedo boat for another 2½ years, and only after the successful demonstration of TB 1.

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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The contract for TB-1 was executed on March 1, 1888, for the vessel to be built in accordance with Herreshoff plans and a 9-page Herreshoff Specification summarized below; delivery in 15 months (June 1889) with penalties for late delivery; speed awards and penalties as per the RFP.[31] John’s signature to the contract was obtained not without some controversy. A report in the Boston Traveler stated that John, who had reportedly delayed signing the contract pending the completion of certain drawings, was really protesting the supervision of the contract by ordnance officers, “whom he thinks know but little about ship construction”; preferring to work under the direction of naval constructors.[32] This is questionable because George Converse, with whom John and Capt. Nat had worked closely on the 1876 LIGHTNING and STILETTO, was the assigned inspecting ordnance officer. Still, it may be correct, as a naval constructor, LT. F. J. Drake was assigned to HMCo in May.[33] There was no resident steam engineer inspector, rather depending upon one final thorough inspection- (Source New York Times, March 28, 1889). Both evidence the extreme sensitivity of the Herreshoff brothers to on-site naval inspectors. On April 25th Secretary Whitney signed off on the contract, reportedly hoping work will begin at once and “no delay will be experienced pushing the work to completion”. [34]

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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[31] “Contract for Construction of Steel Twin-screw Sea-going Torpedo-boat of about 100 Tons” dated Mar. 1, 1888. “Specifications for the Construction of a Steel Twin-screw Sea-going Torpedo-boat of about 100 Tons” dated Feb. 27, 1888. George Albert Converse Papers and Photographs (MSS 0068x), DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University. Series 1, Box 1, Folder 11.

[32] “Construction of a Torpedo Boat-Why Mr. Herreshoff Declines to Sign the Contract- Prefers that Experienced Men Supervise his Work”. Boston Traveler. March 20, 1888. 

[33] “US Navy Orders May 3, 1888; LT F. J. Drake assigned as inspector of construction of TB to be built by HMCo” Army and Navy Journal, Vol 25. May 5, 1888. Pg 817.

[34] “The Contract for a Torpedo Boat.” Army and Navy Journal, Vol 25. April 28, 1888. Pg. 797.

TB-1 Specifications Summary

[4] Thomas Wildenberg and Norman Polmar. Ship Killers: A History of the American Torpedo. (Annapolis, MD, USNI Press, 2010) pgs. 16-17.

Hull– 138 ft. LOA, Extreme beam 15 ft., Extreme depth keel to crown of deck amidships 10 ft. Steel angle framing at 18-inch intervals. Hull plated 3/16” for mid half-length; 1/8” at the ends. All plates and angles to be galvanized. 

●  Riveting– Includes a general scheme of riveting and a rivet specification.

●  Compartments– 11 separated by steel watertight bulkheads

[2] William duBarry Thomas. “The Genesis of a Professional Society”. SNAME Transactions. Vol.101, 1993, pgs.31-9.

●  Ventilators– About 20 arranged to be closed in bad weather. Induced fire room ventilation using the outer jacket of the smokestacks.

[2] William duBarry Thomas. “The Genesis of a Professional Society”. SNAME Transactions. Vol.101, 1993, pgs.31-9.

●  Machinery– Two sets of quadruple expansion engines directly connected to propeller shafts. “Engine to be practically noiseless and easily reversed by one man.”  

[2] William duBarry Thomas. “The Genesis of a Professional Society”. SNAME Transactions. Vol.101, 1993, pgs.31-9.

Propellers– Forged steel or aluminum bronze; 4-bladed, 50 in Dia. x 8 ft 4 in Pitch, “or other sizes that experiment may prove to give the best results.”

Pumping Engines– Compound engines to power main feed pumps and air pumps. Two compound blower engines; one to pressurize each fireroom. One compound engine to power centrifugal circulating pump.

Donkey pumps– One in each fireroom to draw from condenser, supply tank, sea, or bilge and to discharge into boiler, on deck, fireroom or overboard. (Note permits providing sea water to operate boilers when freshwater feed is unavailable.)

Boilers– “Two boilers of the ‘Herreshoff Improved’ Square type, and also to embody any approved or improvements which may be made by the ‘HMCo.’ up to the time of building the boilers”. Designed for working pressure 200 psi; hydrostatic pressure test to 400 psi.

Forced Draft– Each fireroom nearly airtight. Fan blower for forced air.

Ejectors– Bilge ejectors to dewater compartments. Combined capacity together with centrifugal pump and donkey pumps 100 tons in seven minutes. 

Steering– One rudder powered by steam steering engine and operated from each conning tower by steel wire rope or chain.

Quarters officers and crew– Officers Cabin with 4 berths; Machinist Room with 3 berths; Torpedo Room with 12 berths.

Distilling– Distilling apparatus to supply freshwater

Coal Bunkers– Extend full length of machinery compartments; capacity about 33 tons.

Estimated Weights (preliminary)-

Item
Weight (Tons)

Hull

35 Tons

Machinery, boilers, shafting and propellers

47 Tons

Equipment- includes allowance for quick firing guns, bow torpedo tubes, torpedoes, air compressors, electric power generator (dynamo), search light, ammo magazines

17 Tons

Total

99 Tons

●  Power and speed

o  Full speed– engines “estimated” to develop 1600 ihp; coal consumption 4000 lbs./hr. or 174 lbs. per nautical mile at speed 23 knots. Range about 370 nautical miles. (Bold for emphasis) The contract required 22 kts; 23 was the contractor’s estimate.)

[2] William duBarry Thomas. “The Genesis of a Professional Society”. SNAME Transactions. Vol.101, 1993, pgs.31-9.

o  10 knots– coal consumption 220 lbs./hr. Range 2900 nautical miles.

[2] William duBarry Thomas. “The Genesis of a Professional Society”. SNAME Transactions. Vol.101, 1993, pgs.31-9.

Capt. Nat Designs TB-1

[4] Thomas Wildenberg and Norman Polmar. Ship Killers: A History of the American Torpedo. (Annapolis, MD, USNI Press, 2010) pgs. 16-17.

Integral to the “Herreshoff System” was the continuing development of standard designs and processes. In late 1886, he addressed two, important for the forthcoming TB-1 RFP.

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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Nov 23, Capt. Nat recorded a tabular “Scheme of Sizes for Light High-Speed Launch & Torpedo Boat & Yacht Engines”. Covering compound, triple expansion, and quadruple expansion engines, it included the TB-1’s quadruple expansion five-cylinder 11.25 x 16 x 22.5 x 2 @ 22.5 x 15 stroke engine operating at 215 psi boiler pressure. [35] 

[35] Engine Designs Table, NGH’s Naval Architecture & Engineering Notes (NA&E) Book 2 of 5, Spring 1884- April 1895. Entry Nov. 3, 1886. A later entry Feb. 8, 1890 adds the year a specific engine design was built. Halsey C. Herreshoff Collection, Herreshoff Marine Museum. 

●  Dec. 4, he documented a three page “Formulae for Calculations in Connection of Model Weighing Apparatus”. His method of calculating the displacement of a vessel using the half-model weighed in air and a water tank at specific waterlines. He used the method repeatedly for torpedo boat designs.[36]

[36] “Formulae for Calculations in Connection of Model Weighing Apparatus”. NGH NA&E Notes Book 2 of 5. Entry Dec. 4, 1886. 

Capt. Nat followed his practice of preliminary sketches followed, in this case, by a 1/48th scale half model (NGH Model # 1422) that he first weighed on May 20, 1887. He later carved a 1/24th scale model (NGH Model #401) from which offsets were taken; final estimates and calculations were made on Oct 15th to submit with the bid.[37]

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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[37] Models 1422 and 401 are undated, but the entries in NA&E Notes Book 2 of 5, make clear the 1/48th model came first.

TB-1 Boilers & Vessel Completion

[4] Thomas Wildenberg and Norman Polmar. Ship Killers: A History of the American Torpedo. (Annapolis, MD, USNI Press, 2010) pgs. 16-17.

The Boiler Specification (“Herreshoff Improved’ Square type… to embody any approved or improvements which may be made by the ‘HMCo…”) is an expression of the Navy’s confidence coming out of tests of the improved boiler they conducted on the 65 ft. launch JERSEY LILLY in April 1890. A Board of steam engineers, accompanied by LCDR George Converse, and future TB-1 commanding officer, Lieut. C. McR. Winslow, found it easy to maintain feed water supply and water level control- problems in previous Herreshoff boilers, and a much-improved design for repairability.[38]

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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[38] “Report of a Board of Naval Engineers on the Tests of a Herreshoff Boiler, New Type, Fitted on the Launch ‘JERSEY LILLY’, and of a Herreshoff Boiler, Old Type, Fitted on the Launch ‘OUR MARY’, at Bristol, RI, April 19, 20 and 24, 1888” dated May 17, 1888. Contained in Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy 1888, Appendix No. 9, Bureau of Steam Engineering Report Geo. Melville, Nov 1, 1888, Pgs. 363-9. US Naval Torpedo Station Ltr. April, 16, 1888 directs LCDR George Converse, and future TB-1 Commanding Officer C. McR. Winslow to witness the trials. George Albert Converse Papers and Photographs (MSS 0068x), DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University. Series 1, Box 1, Folder 2.

The two boilers easily fit within the hull as shown in Figure 6, a drawing of TB-1 (not Herreshoff).[39]

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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[39] An HMCo drawing of TB-1 with the Improved Herreshoff Square Boilers is believed to be Foldout “Plate 26”, attached to the BuOrd report in Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy 1888.

Figure 6– CUSHING (TB-1) Armament installed, with two Improved Square Boilers fitting well within the hull. The text of this excellent article fully describes (TB-1), but incorrectly identifies the boilers in this drawing as “Thornycroft”. Source; Lieut. F. J. Drake USN, (Naval Constructor assigned to HMCo during construction) “Sea-Going Torpedo Boat No. 1 US Navy” Scientific American Feb. 1, 1890. 

[1] Note the condensed milk can floating in the foreground. A similar image was published in a full color Art Supplement to the Philadelphia Inquirer, June 12, 1898.

Construction of TB-1 began Nov. 6, 1888, with riveting of the keel.[40]  On March 28, 1889, the New York Times featured a glowing article describing the “New Torpedo Thrower- The Herreshoff’s at Work on a Deadly War Vessel” as “almost completed”. Forty workmen were engaged in the construction under the charge of a former Thornycroft foreman. The engines were practically finished (Figure 7), boilers ready for installation; trials were to start in May where Herreshoff expected to achieve 23 knots. The story was re-published, often in shorter format, throughout the nation. 

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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[40] Capt. Nat Diary entry Nov. 6, 1888. He followed construction of torpedo boats with periodic entrees as he later for Americas Cup Boats. Halsey C. Herreshoff Collection. Herreshoff Marine Museum. 

Figure 7– CUSHING (TB-1) Engines in assembly at HMCo March 1889. U.S. Navy progress report photo. Source George Albert Converse Papers and Photographs (MSS 0068x), DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University. 

[1] Note the condensed milk can floating in the foreground. A similar image was published in a full color Art Supplement to the Philadelphia Inquirer, June 12, 1898.

But things were not well, the first indication of trouble, Capt. Nat writes in his diary, April 23, 1889, “Received plans of Thornycroft boiler for steamer 152” (i.e., TB-1). We now know he changed to Thornycroft “on account of being able to stand forced draught (draft) better.”[41] Blower engines were capable of pressurizing each fireroom to 6 inches of water for forced draft operation.[42] Apparently the structure of the improved square boiler could not withstand that pressure over time. There could be contributing reasons; the change increased boiler pressure (250 psi vs 200) and horsepower (1750 ihp vs 1600) offering a better chance of reaching the 23 knots Herreshoff was “estimating”, not “guaranteeing”. The change was approved by the Navy July 3. One news report noted acquiescence was made “reluctantly”, probably because of the delay in delivery. [43]

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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[41] “Report of Trial Board to Secretary of the Navy on Trials of US Torpedo Boat No. 1 CUSHING” March 31, 1890. The Board listed all variations from the specifications and the Navy approvals. The boiler change was approved by the Navy July 3, 1889. Gift of Rudolph F. Haffenreffer III. Herreshoff Marine Museum Archives. 

[42] Stacy Potts, Passed Assist. Engineer, USN “Machinery Matters Report to the Senior Member CUSHING (TB-1) Trial Board”, March 25, 1890. Report of the Trial Board CUSHING (TB-1) Pages 12-19. 

[43] “The New Torpedo Boat. Her Thornycroft Boiler Should Send Her Ahead” New York Times, Dec. 18, 1889.

The Secretary’s 1888 Annual Report noted the “Thornycroft boiler is said to have proved highly successful in torpedo-boats.” [44] In 1886-1888 Thornycroft delivered three 147-foot, torpedo boats like TB-1 to foreign navies demonstrating the improved performance (24.5- 26 knots in trials) with water tube boilers. [45] [46] The British were building a warship type the “Torpedo Catcher”, approximately 200 feet in length and 800 tons, designed to defeat torpedo boats at sea. Powered with four 140 psi steam pressure locomotive boilers and two triple expansion engines they achieved 17 to 20 knots. When a new 11-ship ALARM class was planned for 1890, Thornycroft proposed that one, HMS SPEEDY, be fitted with 250 psi water tube boilers. In the same space of the four locomotive boilers (Figure 8) Thornycroft’s eight boilers produced 1000 more horsepower (4700 vs 3700). [47] Drawings for TB-1’s boilers were the SPEEDY type. (Figure 9a & Figure 9b) They went to sea in TB-1 about three years before HMS SPEEDY. 

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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[44] “Tubulous, Coil and Sectional Boilers.” Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy 1888.pg. 344. 

[45] TBs ARIETE, RAYO, & COUREUR. Lieut. G. E. Armstrong, late RN, Torpedoes and Torpedo Vessels. Royal Navy Handbook edited by CDR Charles Napier Robinson, RN. (George Bell & Sons, London, 1896) Pgs. 179-185

[46] “The New Torpedo Boat…” New York Times, Dec. 18, 1889.

[47] Lieut. G. E. Armstrong, late RN, Torpedoes and Torpedo Vessels. Torpedo Catchers Pgs. 213-27.

Figure 8– Thornycroft Boiler Arrangement (Bottom) in HMS SPEEDY. Source- Journal American Society of Naval Engineers, Vol. 6, 1894

[1] Note the condensed milk can floating in the foreground. A similar image was published in a full color Art Supplement to the Philadelphia Inquirer, June 12, 1898.

Figure 9- Thornycroft Speedy Type Boiler used in TB-1 & 2. Nomenclature: Y- steam drum; M, M -two water drums; B- downcomer; G-internal steam drum baffle plates; No ID- small curved generating tubes. Source F. C. Bieg, Naval Boilers: A Textbook for the Instruction of Midshipmen at the USNA. US Naval Institute, Annapolis, MD, 1906. Pgs. 251-4. [48]

[1] Note the condensed milk can floating in the foreground. A similar image was published in a full color Art Supplement to the Philadelphia Inquirer, June 12, 1898.

[48] Additional references regarding Thornycroft Boiler. S. H. Leonard Assistant Engineer U.S. Navy, “Tubulous Boilers” Journal ASNE Vol 2 1890. Pgs. 163-77.  “Circulation in the Thornycroft Water Tube Boiler”, J. I. Thornycroft read at 35th session INA March 15, 1894, Journal ASNE. Pgs. 349- 356. 

We do not know the business arrangement under which HMCo obtained the Thornycroft drawings. In Oct. 1890, returning from a European business trip, John told the New York Times he completed an arrangement with Thornycroft, where HMCo had absolute control of manufacture of Thornycroft boilers in the USA. HMCo will be “enlarged and improved” to meet the demands of the new work.[49] However, HMCo built only two more Thornycroft boilers, the 1890-1 high speed yachts JAVELIN (HMCo #164) and VAMOOSE (HMCo #168). In the mid 1890s Thornycroft boilers were installed in ERICSSON (TB-2) without HMCo involvement. Herreshoff introduced their own three-drum bent tube boiler designs with PORTER (TB-6) HMCo #184) in 1897; the same year Thornycroft started advertising licenses to build their boilers. (Figure 10)

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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[49] “Mr. Herreshoff’s Return”, New York Times, Oct. 10, 1890, Pg 3.

Figure 10– Thornycroft advertisement. Proceedings American Society of Naval Engineers, Vol 9, 1897

[1] Note the condensed milk can floating in the foreground. A similar image was published in a full color Art Supplement to the Philadelphia Inquirer, June 12, 1898.

With the boiler drawings in hand Capt. Nat went to work fitting them into the hull. Most difficult was the aft boiler (Figure 11 & Figure 12). Simultaneously, while the nearly finished TB-1 waited on the South Shop ways (Figure 13), they went to work building the boilers in house except for subcontracting the six drums. In an improvement to the Thornycroft design the drums were welded rather than riveted. Drums were tested to 500 psi, seamless steel tubing to 1500 psi and the assembled boilers to 500 psi.[50] The new Secretary of the Navy Benjamin F. Tracy (1830-1915), (Civil War Medal of Honor recipient, appointed by the new Benjamin Harrison administration to replace Whitney in March 1889) inspected TB-1 on August 25, 1889, with a group of senators.[51] 

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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[50] Stacy Potts, “Machinery Matters Report to the Senior Member CUSHING (TB-1) Trial Board”, March 25, 1890. Report of the Trial Board CUSHING (TB-1) Pages 12-19. 

[51] “Secretary Tracy”, Boston Daily Globe, Aug. 26, 1889.

Figure 11– Fitting the Aft Thornycroft Boiler into the Hull of TB-1. HMCo Dwg 43-003;

HH.5.03353, Jun. 15, 1889 (Source- Source- MIT Haffenreffer/Herreshoff Collection

[1] Note the condensed milk can floating in the foreground. A similar image was published in a full color Art Supplement to the Philadelphia Inquirer, June 12, 1898.

Figure 12– CUSHING with Thornycroft Speedy type boilers as delivered prior to armament installation. The boilers and the side-by-side quadruple expansion engines, with condenser between, are a tight fit. The aft boiler extends above the main deck. Source- MIT Haffenreffer/Herreshoff Collection Dwg 04-033; HH5.0215. 

[1] Note the condensed milk can floating in the foreground. A similar image was published in a full color Art Supplement to the Philadelphia Inquirer, June 12, 1898.

Figure 13– CUSHING in South Building Shop prior to launch. Source George Albert Converse Papers and Photographs (MSS 0068x), DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University. Series 1, Box 2, Folder 8a

[1] Note the condensed milk can floating in the foreground. A similar image was published in a full color Art Supplement to the Philadelphia Inquirer, June 12, 1898.

Following the boiler decision there was uncertainty about the delivery of TB-1. In Aug. 1889 trials were to be in a month- impossible with new boilers to build. In December the New York Times reported official trials were to begin mid-January 1890.[52] On New Year’s Eve 1889 the last (aft) boiler was put in the hull. TB-1, now named CUSHING, was launched on the morning of January 23rd and the boilers and engines were successfully “tried” that afternoon (Figure 14). The first underway trial “at moderate speed” occurred on January 29th and full power runs followed on February 17th and 20th achieving 23¼ knots. [53]

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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[52] “The New Government Torpedo Boat”, Boston Post, Aug. 9, 1889. Pg 1. “The New Torpedo Boat” New York Times, Dec. 25, 1889. 

[53] Test and trial dates are from Capt. Nat’s Diary, Halsey C. Herreshoff Collection, Herreshoff Marine Museum. 

Figure 14– CUSHING Steam-Up for Dock Trials at South Pier. Afternoon Jan. 23, 1890

Source Herreshoff Marine Museum. Photographer unknown

[1] Note the condensed milk can floating in the foreground. A similar image was published in a full color Art Supplement to the Philadelphia Inquirer, June 12, 1898.

[1] Citation

CUSHING (TB-1) Trials

[4] Thomas Wildenberg and Norman Polmar. Ship Killers: A History of the American Torpedo. (Annapolis, MD, USNI Press, 2010) pgs. 16-17.

Figure 15– CUSHING (TB-1) as delivered before armament added, Newport Harbor, 1890. Note aft boiler casing extending above main deck.

Source- Herreshoff Marine Museum Archives; U.S. Navy Photo 

[1] Note the condensed milk can floating in the foreground. A similar image was published in a full color Art Supplement to the Philadelphia Inquirer, June 12, 1898.

As the first sea-going torpedo boat CUSHING was extensively inspected and tested- more than any subsequent torpedo boat of the 1890s. First by Herreshoff before delivery, then the US Navy Trial Board over three plus weeks from March 10th to the 28th, and continuing investigations during the early years of service. In 1892, Retired Chief Engineer Benjamin Isherwood, the most experienced and knowledgeable naval engineer of the time, published a thorough and searching evaluation of the experiments conducted on CUSHING in the period January through July 1890 together with a very detailed technical description of CUSHING.[54] Included are Capt. Nat’s experiments to ascertain the slip of the propellers at different speeds, operation on one propeller with the other fixed and dragging, backing down on both propellers, and the Navy’s full-power trial, detail testing of one boiler dockside at the New York Navy Yard and tests of the distribution of pressure in the engines steam cylinders. 

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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[54] Chief Engineer Isherwood, USN, “The United States Torpedo Boat CUSHING and its Experiments Investigated” Journal American Society of Naval Engineers, Vol IV No. 1 Feb 1892. Pgs. 1-71.

Lieut. F. J. Drake, the naval constructor at HMCo during construction of CUSHING, published a thorough analysis of structure and stability including hull strength in still water, waves, and thrust into a head sea. It was hoped this would encourage publishing similar analyses for British and European torpedo boats. He found the then commonly accepted factor of safety value of 5 for ultimate stress in garboard, keel and stringer plates was reduced by 24%; and under ultimate thrust load by 38%.[55] In spite of the lightness of the hull it served well, no deficiencies are noted in the annual reports of the Secretary of the Navy, the Bureaus and Torpedo Station. 

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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[55] Lieut. F. J. Drake, “The Structural Strength of Sea-Going Torpedo Boat No. 1”, Scientific American Supplement No. 704, June 29, 1889 & Supplement No.705, July 6, 1889

Figure 16– CUSHING (TB-1) I Aft quarter view in drydock showing four-bladed propellers and single centerline rudder. CUSHING was dry docked in Providence RI on March 17 to clean the underwater hull and allow the Trial Board to inspect the propellers. Undated photo. Source US Navy 19-N-14-19-7

[1] Note the condensed milk can floating in the foreground. A similar image was published in a full color Art Supplement to the Philadelphia Inquirer, June 12, 1898.

The Trial Board headed by CDR Theo. F. Jewell, Officer in Charge of the Torpedo Station, experienced delays due to foaming in boilers, weather, miscellaneous parts failure, and crew illness. The three-hour full power run achieved 22.5 knots; engines worked smoothly, no difficulty maintaining 245 psi boiler pressure, vertical vibration extremely small, transverse vibration moderate- most noticeable at the extremities. Performance of the boat was most satisfactory. [56]

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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[56] “Report Trial Board (TB-1) CUSHING. The Report without attachments was distributed with the Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy 1890. Pgs 261-5. 

Isherwood made an important observation about the three-hour trial- “sole objective was to determine whether the vessel could maintain for three consecutive hours, the speed of 22 knots” required by contract. “The (forced draft) blowers (recorded during the trial as 2½ inches aft fireroom & 3 inches forward) could easily have been driven to produce air pressure 2 inches greater than they did … could have maintained 23 knots with but little urging of the machinery.”[57] Various reports documented CUSHING achieving speeds up to 27 knots.[58] She was the fastest ship in the Navy.

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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[57] Isherwood, “CUSHING Experiments” ASNE 1892. Pgs. 43-4. Fireroom pressures are from Stacy Potts, “Machinery Matters”. Report of the Trial Board CUSHING (TB-1) Pg. 17. 

[58] “Tried on the Potomac, the CUSHING attained the speed of nearly 27 knots. While steaming at the rate of 25 knots, her engines were suddenly reversed, and she backed at the rate of 18 knots.” Source IRON May 23, 1890- Under Section “Trial Trips” p 454. “CUSHING has developed a speed of about 26 knots…” from Report W.M. Folger Chief BuOrd, Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy 1890.pg. 248.

To demonstrate seaworthiness the boat was loaded to her deepest displacement (crew of 20, 33 tons of coal, providing 12 days endurance, plus stores and provisions for that period) and taken outside Point Judith for maneuvers in Force six winds and a long swell moderate sea. She performed well.

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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The Board found CUSHING complete and ready for delivery with the single exception of the distilling apparatus for supplying fresh water for drinking and cooking, which experienced foaming and carry over of salt water. The Board also expressed an opinion, 

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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“ notwithstanding the fact that this boat is the first of its class built in this country, it compares favorably with the best results obtained abroad after years of experience in similar work; that the speed is satisfactory, and is not obtained by sacrificing either strength or durability; and finally that the excellent construction of the hull and machinery, its admirable maneuvering qualities, its stability and sea worthiness make CUSHING a most creditable addition to the Navy.”[59]

[5] There are various terms used to describe boilers in this paper. There are two primary types

1. Fire tube including Scotch type, cylindrical, and locomotive in which hot fire box gases pass though tubes to heat water in a cylindrical drum.

2. Water tube, including tubulous, coil, sectional, square, and three-drum in which water passing through the tubes is heated by hot gases in the firebox.

[59] “Report Trial Board (TB-1) CUSHING.” Annual Report Secretary of the Navy 1890. Pg. 265. 

CUSHING was accepted by the Navy and commissioned on April 29, 1890, after HMCo installed a new distiller.[60] The following Thursday, May 1st CUSHING made a run to Wash. DC via New York City- Capt. Nat recorded the times in his diary; May 1 “Newport to New York in 6 hours, 57 minutes”; Sunday May 4, “arrived in Washington 28-1/2 hours from New York (on) one boiler.”

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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[60] The final delivered price for construction was $98,666. Including armament, the $100,000 Congressional authorization was exceeded by less than $500. Annual Report Secretary of the Navy 1891 “Cost of the New Navy” Table page 56.  

Congress was in session debating the Navy authorization containing a second sea-going torpedo boat. Influential legislators were treated to runs up and down the Potomac River at speeds of over 20 knots where her wash caused damage to boats on the Alexandria waterfront. The authorization bill with (TB-2) passed on June 30.[61] 

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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[61] Alexandria Gazette May 5, 1890Cushing passed up river yesterday evening making over 20 mph. The Sunday Herald Wash DC May 18, 1890 pg. 6 “The wash made by the CUSHING during her trip up and down the river made a severe shaking among large vessels at Alexandria and damage to small boats. Complaints were entered and in order issued by the Secretary to the commander of the CUSHING to slow down when passing that city.”

CUSHING (TB-1) Early Years of Service 

[4] Thomas Wildenberg and Norman Polmar. Ship Killers: A History of the American Torpedo. (Annapolis, MD, USNI Press, 2010) pgs. 16-17.

[See Also ATTACHMENT A: The Beginnings of a US Navy Warfare Capability

STILETTO, CUSHING, and a Few Torpedoes]

[4] Thomas Wildenberg and Norman Polmar. Ship Killers: A History of the American Torpedo. (Annapolis, MD, USNI Press, 2010) pgs. 16-17.

CUSHING operated out of Newport as a unit of the Squadron of Evolution ranging mostly between Maine and Washington DC. She was laid up each winter, (Figure 16) usually at the Washington Navy Yard, where annual maintenance was conducted. Repairs and alterations were sometimes accomplished at the New York Navy Yard, and she could be hauled into a new torpedo boathouse at the Newport Torpedo Station. In January 1892 the tubes for the Whitehead torpedo were installed; a bow tube and a centerline turntable on the after deck mounting two tubes. (The deck turntable was later removed and changed to independent port and starboard trainable tubes (Figure 17), and in the final configuration the bow tube was removed, Figure A2 in ATTACHMENT A.) For the following four years through 1896 she was assigned to the Torpedo Station to develop torpedo tactics, shipboard operational procedures and qualify the Whitehead torpedo. (See ATTACHMENT A).  

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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Figure 17– CUSHING (TB-1) Before armament installation, in winter dockside storage with wrapping to keep interior and especially the boilers dry. Most years she was hauled for winter storage. Source George Albert Converse Papers and Photographs (MSS 0068x), DeGolyer Library, SMU.

[1] Note the condensed milk can floating in the foreground. A similar image was published in a full color Art Supplement to the Philadelphia Inquirer, June 12, 1898.

Figure 18– Black painted CUSHING (TB-1) with bow torpedo tube and port and starboard trainable torpedo tubes amidships. Torpedo tubes first installed July 1892 to test the Whitehead torpedo discussed in Attachment A. Source Negative 5024. Library of Congress Collection, LC-D4-20346

[1] Note the condensed milk can floating in the foreground. A similar image was published in a full color Art Supplement to the Philadelphia Inquirer, June 12, 1898.

The sole major issue of performance and service life involved the Thornycroft boilers and started just months after delivery. In July 1890 the Navy announced plans to conduct dockside trials of one Thornycroft boiler in CUSHING to compare with data from Ward and Cowles boilers obtained in competitive trials of American tubulous boilers for warships.[62] (Previously discussed in Part VII.) The demanding trials included tests to determine “the capacity of the boiler for prolonged steaming; another with the highest possible air pressure and most rapid firing, to determine the greatest possible power for a ‘spurt’ of about an hour.” Trial data show Thornycroft did not perform as well in the prolonged steaming trial as the Ward boiler in terms of ihp per hundred square feet of heating surface. [63]  

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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[62] “Cushing Boilers”, New York Times, July 30, 1890

[63] “CUSHING; Trials of One Thornycroft Boiler”, Journal ASNE Vol 2. 1890, Pgs. 580-582

At the end of the 1890 operating period and after one year of “continued hard service” both boilers were removed for overhauling and cleaning. No leaks of any importance had developed, no pitting of internal surfaces of the drums was found, but in the boiler that had been tested (the after boiler) external corrosion was found on bottoms in both lower drums and bends of the outer row of generating tubes. The cause was attributed to collection of moisture and ash. Problem was not found in the forward boiler where the adjacent ship’s galley heated the fireroom bulkhead.[64] A board of steam engineers was appointed to survey the boilers to determine “the measures necessary to correct and prevent the corrosion”. Endorsing the report of the Board, Chief of the Bureau Steam Engineering, RADM George Melville wrote, [65]

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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[64] Assist. Engineer S. H. Leonard, USN, “Preservation of Marine Boilers”, Journal ASNE Vol 3. 1891, Pgs. 195-6. Includes a report on CUSHING by the ship’s engineer, Assist. Engr. B. C. Bryan, USN.

[65] Capt. L. A. Beardslee USN et al, Report Survey of Torpedo Boat CUSHING Boilers, Oct. 1, 1890. Memorandum Engineer-in-Chief George W Melville, Oct.10, 1890. George Albert Converse Papers and Photographs (MSS 0068x), DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University. Series 1, Box 1, Folder 5.

“Under the circumstances I presume the recommendations of the board is the best that can be done… The fact is that the boilers are so placed in the vessel as to make it impossible to care for them thoroughly… there seems to be no way to get at them for proper inspection and cleaning except by removing the boilers from the boat or at least lifting them… 

[5] There are various terms used to describe boilers in this paper. There are two primary types

1. Fire tube including Scotch type, cylindrical, and locomotive in which hot fire box gases pass though tubes to heat water in a cylindrical drum.

2. Water tube, including tubulous, coil, sectional, square, and three-drum in which water passing through the tubes is heated by hot gases in the firebox.

It is absolutely necessary to the integrity of these ‘coil or tubulous boilers’ that they should be placed in the vessel as to permit of the most thorough inspection in every part…

[5] There are various terms used to describe boilers in this paper. There are two primary types

1. Fire tube including Scotch type, cylindrical, and locomotive in which hot fire box gases pass though tubes to heat water in a cylindrical drum.

2. Water tube, including tubulous, coil, sectional, square, and three-drum in which water passing through the tubes is heated by hot gases in the firebox.

Unless some provision is made, however, I believe it will be a comparatively short time before the CUSHING’s boilers are entirely unsafe for the pressure (250) at which they are designed to work.”

[5] There are various terms used to describe boilers in this paper. There are two primary types

1. Fire tube including Scotch type, cylindrical, and locomotive in which hot fire box gases pass though tubes to heat water in a cylindrical drum.

2. Water tube, including tubulous, coil, sectional, square, and three-drum in which water passing through the tubes is heated by hot gases in the firebox.

It was left to CDR George Converse to address Chief BuSteam’s concerns, and he did so in a six page letter to Secretary of the Navy Tracy. This would not be the last time that Converse wrote directly to the Office of the Secretary to defend a Herreshoff torpedo boat from Bureau criticism.[66] Converse made the following points.

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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[66] Letter Chief BuOrd William Folger to George Converse of Oct. 14, 1890 enclosing CUSHING Boiler Survey Report & Memorandum Chief BuSteam Melville re CUSHING’s boilers, requesting his comments and suggestions. Geo. A. Converse letter to Secretary of the Navy, re Thornycroft boilers in CUSHING, Oct. 29, 1890. George Albert Converse Papers and Photographs (MSS 0068x), DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University. Series 1, Box 1, Folder 5.

The one weak point of the Thornycroft boiler so far is the liability of the tubes to corrode at their lower ends, owing to accumulation of ashes, and hastened by moisture… primarily condensation of steam from evaporation of water in the ash pans at low steaming rates.

●  Endorsed and commented upon the various recommendations for operation, preservation and keeping the boilers dry when not steaming, pointing out that Herreshoff had taken such precautions after official trials while awaiting delivery.

●  Directly addressing Melville’s comments-

[2] William duBarry Thomas. “The Genesis of a Professional Society”. SNAME Transactions. Vol.101, 1993, pgs.31-9.

o  The boilers in CUSHING are no more inaccessible than in other torpedo boat. CUSHING arrangement followed best practices.

[2] William duBarry Thomas. “The Genesis of a Professional Society”. SNAME Transactions. Vol.101, 1993, pgs.31-9.

o  Concurred the proper way to inspect and clean the boilers is the hoist them out of the boat. This contingency was provided for in the design. One section of deck over each boiler is fitted with screws for ready removal. Slings for lifting out are stored on board. 

[2] William duBarry Thomas. “The Genesis of a Professional Society”. SNAME Transactions. Vol.101, 1993, pgs.31-9.

o  Based on the experience of hosting the boilers in- the crew, with the aid of a 10-ton crane can hoist out the boilers, overhaul paint and reinstall in less than 10 working days. 

[2] William duBarry Thomas. “The Genesis of a Professional Society”. SNAME Transactions. Vol.101, 1993, pgs.31-9.

o  Regarding probable boiler lifetime- the factors of safety are large. Foreign experience with similar boilers has shown with proper care they should be good for 200 psi three years. Proper care involves hoisting out for cleaning and inspection every six months; applying paint, oil or varnish to the at-risk tubes, as done by Danish Navy. 

[2] William duBarry Thomas. “The Genesis of a Professional Society”. SNAME Transactions. Vol.101, 1993, pgs.31-9.

The boilers were retubed during an extensive overhaul in Wash Navy Yard from Dec. 1895 to Aug. 1896.[67] 

[40] Annual Report of The Secretary of the Navy November 28, 1881. Washington GPO 1881 Pgs. 3, 5, 6.

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[67] “BuSteam Annual Report 1895”. CUSHING boilers need retubing. Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy 1895. Pg. 413. BuNav Annual Report 1896, CUSHINGExtensive repairs Wash Yard Dec 95 to Aug 96. Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy 1896.Pg 303.

Coming Up Next

[4] Thomas Wildenberg and Norman Polmar. Ship Killers: A History of the American Torpedo. (Annapolis, MD, USNI Press, 2010) pgs. 16-17.

Three U.S. Navy torpedo boats all Herreshoff, LIGHTNING and STILETTO as sole source procurements; CUSHING (TB-1) won in competition. John and Capt. Nat looked forward to success with TB-2, but experience frustration and motivation for improved performance.

[21] Frederick J. Rowan A.M.I.C.E., M.I.E.S. The Practical Physics of the Modern Steam Boiler. (P. S. King & Son, London; D. Van Nostrand, New York, 1903). Pg. 481.

[22] The details of HMCo #44 are taken from (1) “Torpedo Boat Experiments” Irish Times, Jan. 10, 1879, page 3. (2) “The Herreshoff Torpedo Boats” Recent Practice in Marine Engineering Two Volumes. Edited by William Henry Maw. Publisher: London Offices of Engineering, London & J. Wiley & Sons New York 1884. Pages 280-6. This document is available online at www.hathitrust.org. All quotes about HMCo #44 are from this paper.


[1] Note the condensed milk can floating in the foreground. A similar image was published in a full color Art Supplement to the Philadelphia Inquirer, June 12, 1898.

[2] The Act of Aug. 3, 1886

[3] “Report of the Inspector of Ordnance In-Charge Newport Torpedo Station, C. P. Goodrich, CDR USN” contained in Bureau of Ordnance Report Nov. 10, 1886, Appendix No. 7, Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy 1886. Wash DC GPO 1886. Page 281. 

[4] Bristol Phoenix, “The Herreshoff Manufacturing Co. Works”, Apr. 13, 1878. “Local Affairs”, Jan. 14, 1888. “Letter to the Editor” G. L. Locke, St. Michael’s Rectory, Jan. 28, 1888. “Launching of a New Steam Yacht”, Mar. 23, 1900. “A New Torpedo Thrower: Herreshoff at Work on a Deadly War Vessel”, New York Times, March 28, 1889.

[5] “Modern Torpedo Boats”, Newport Mercury, April 9, 1887- Re-print summarized from Scribner Magazine. 

[6] Chief Engineer Isherwood, USN, “The United States Torpedo Boat CUSHING and its Experiments Investigated” Journal American Society of Naval Engineers, Vol IV No. 1 Feb 1892. Pgs. 1-71. Quotes are from pages 1-3. 

[7] Isherwood had reached the mandatory US Navy retirement age of 62 in October 1884, after serving for almost 41 years. He continued his engineering research and writing with his close friend and former Navy engineer Paul Zeller (Zeller died in 1901), until 1910. Isherwood died in 1915 at age 93. Source Edward William Sloan, III, Benjamin Isherwood Naval Engineer, USNI, Annapolis MD. Pgs. 240-2.

[8] Source NGH Model 401 image THE HERRESHOFF CATALOGUE RAISONNÉ.

[9] Description of CUSHING hull shape from Isherwood, “US TB CUSHING” ASNE Journal 1892 pgs. 6-7. 

[10] “Memoranda of Acts of Congress Applying to New Vessels “. Journal American Society of Naval Engineers, Vol.1 1889. Pages 236-41. Provides the words of annual appropriation acts and authorizations from Aug 5, 1882 through March 1889. 

[11] “Report of the Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance October 31, 1888” Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy 1888 Appendix No. 7. Wash DC GPO 1888. Pages 192-3.

[12] Based upon prior statements Secretary Whitney’s probable preference for this first torpedo boat was to purchase one of the latest British torpedo boats or procure the drawings for domestic manufacture.

[13] Secretary Whitney introduced the term “The New Navy” as the heading for the report on new construction in his Annual Report of 1887. “Report of the Secretary of the Navy, Wm. C. Whitney Wash. DC December 6, 1887”. Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy 1887. Wash DC GPO 1887. Page V. 

[14] Information on communications between Secretary Whitney, Paine and Edward Burgess- Abstracts from the Journal of Caroline BurgessReferences to Gen. Charles J. Paine and America’s Cup Defenders PURITAN, MAYFLOWER & VOLUNTEER; 1885, 1886 & 1887. Page 22. (Caroline was Edward’s wife, marrying in 1887.) Herreshoff Marine Museum Archives. 

[15] L. Francis Herreshoff, Captain Nat Herreshoff: The Wizard of Bristol. Sheridan House, New York 1953. Pp 81-2.

[16] Captain Nat and MAYFLOWER’S America’s Cup Victory”, This Month in Herreshoff History: September 1886. Herreshoff Marine Museum

[17] Adolphus Gustavus McVey “Edward Burgess and his work”. New England Magazine.1892 Vol. V. pp. 49–62.

[18] “His Loss Greatly Felt”, New York Times, July 19, 1891. Edward Burgess obituary.

[19] “Capt. Nat letter No. 25, Feb 13, 1937”, Nathanael Greene Herreshoff- William Picard Stephens; annotated by John W. Streeter, Their Last Letters. Herreshoff Marine Museum Bristol, RI. 1988. Pgs. 158-9.

[a] Why Nat and not brother John who was the face of the steam vessel business? The Secretary wanted the best performance possible; his questions were primarily technical, not business. Also, the Navy being a technical organization often went directly to Nat. John’s correspondence with his daughter Katie, show that during much of April and May he was on company business through New York and New England.

[20] “Captain Nat and MAYFLOWER’S America’s Cup Victory”, This Month in Herreshoff History: September 1886. Herreshoff Marine Museum

[21] Burgess information is from Abstracts from the Journal of Caroline Burgess, Pg. 22.

[22] Capt. Nat’s travel dates from his statement of travel expenses.” Capt. Nat Letter of May 27, 1887 to Secretary Whitney”, NGH 1870-1890 Carbon Copy Book pages 06r & 07r. Halsey C. Herreshoff Collection. Herreshoff Marine Museum. 

[23] Figure 3- Ignore the handwritten date changes marked JJP. Caroline Burgess beginning dates are the time of her entry, not the time of the event.

[24] “BuOrd Report October 17, 1887” Appendix 10 to Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy 1887. Wash DC GPO 1887. Pg 230. 

[25] For discussions at the time see following from the Army and Navy Journal. “Annual Report of Secretary Whitney”, ANJ Vol 23, Dec. 5, 1885. Pgs. 362-4. “Foreign Comments on Secretary Whitney’s Report”- Quotes from London’s The Engineer and Engineering, ANJ Vol 23, Jan. 30, 1886, Pgs. 540-1. “How to Build a Navy; The House Naval Committee Seeking Information”, ANJ Vol 23, Feb. 20, 1886. Pg. 597. Quote is from Whitney’s annual report. 

[26] “A New Naval Torpedo Boat” Army and Navy Journal, Vol 25. July 30, 1887, Pg 10. “Bids Opened for Torpedo Boat”, Army and Navy Journal, Vol 25. Nov. 5, 1887, Pg. 281. 

[27] “Tabular statement of proposals received and opened Nov. 1, 1887, for the construction of a first-class torpedo boat.” Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy 1887. Wash DC GPO 1887. Pgs. V-VII & IX.

[28] Vulcan Iron Works is described in the 1890 book The Iron and Steel Interests of Chicago by George W. Cope -: The Vulcan Iron Works manufactures dredges and other excavating machinery. Their plant consists of a four-story brick building used as a machine shop and a one-story frame building used as a blacksmith shop together occupying 150 feet frontage. They employ 175 men and annually consume 1,500 tons of pig iron and 150 tons of other iron and steel.” (Steam engines were a vital part of the business.)

[29] “NGH Diary Dec. 7, 1897”. Halsey C. Herreshoff Collection, Herreshoff Marine Museum.

[30] Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy 1887, Pgs X-XI.

[31] “Contract for Construction of Steel Twin-screw Sea-going Torpedo-boat of about 100 Tons” dated Mar. 1, 1888. “Specifications for the Construction of a Steel Twin-screw Sea-going Torpedo-boat of about 100 Tons” dated Feb. 27, 1888. George Albert Converse Papers and Photographs (MSS 0068x), DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University. Series 1, Box 1, Folder 11.

[32] “Construction of a Torpedo Boat-Why Mr. Herreshoff Declines to Sign the Contract- Prefers that Experienced Men Supervise his Work”. Boston Traveler. March 20, 1888. 

[33] “US Navy Orders May 3, 1888; LT F. J. Drake assigned as inspector of construction of TB to be built by HMCo” Army and Navy Journal, Vol 25. May 5, 1888. Pg 817.

[34] “The Contract for a Torpedo Boat.” Army and Navy Journal, Vol 25. April 28, 1888. Pg. 797.

[35] Engine Designs Table, NGH’s Naval Architecture & Engineering Notes (NA&E) Book 2 of 5, Spring 1884- April 1895. Entry Nov. 3, 1886. A later entry Feb. 8, 1890 adds the year a specific engine design was built. Halsey C. Herreshoff Collection, Herreshoff Marine Museum. 

[36] “Formulae for Calculations in Connection of Model Weighing Apparatus”. NGH NA&E Notes Book 2 of 5. Entry Dec. 4, 1886. 

[37] Models 1422 and 401 are undated, but the entries in NA&E Notes Book 2 of 5, make clear the 1/48th model came first.

[38] “Report of a Board of Naval Engineers on the Tests of a Herreshoff Boiler, New Type, Fitted on the Launch ‘JERSEY LILLY’, and of a Herreshoff Boiler, Old Type, Fitted on the Launch ‘OUR MARY’, at Bristol, RI, April 19, 20 and 24, 1888” dated May 17, 1888. Contained in Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy 1888, Appendix No. 9, Bureau of Steam Engineering Report Geo. Melville, Nov 1, 1888, Pgs. 363-9. US Naval Torpedo Station Ltr. April, 16, 1888 directs LCDR George Converse, and future TB-1 Commanding Officer C. McR. Winslow to witness the trials. George Albert Converse Papers and Photographs (MSS 0068x), DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University. Series 1, Box 1, Folder 2.

[39] An HMCo drawing of TB-1 with the Improved Herreshoff Square Boilers is believed to be Foldout “Plate 26”, attached to the BuOrd report in Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy 1888.

[40] Capt. Nat Diary entry Nov. 6, 1888. He followed construction of torpedo boats with periodic entrees as he later for Americas Cup Boats. Halsey C. Herreshoff Collection. Herreshoff Marine Museum. 

[41] “Report of Trial Board to Secretary of the Navy on Trials of US Torpedo Boat No. 1 CUSHING” March 31, 1890. The Board listed all variations from the specifications and the Navy approvals. The boiler change was approved by the Navy July 3, 1889. Gift of Rudolph F. Haffenreffer III. Herreshoff Marine Museum Archives. 

[42] Stacy Potts, Passed Assist. Engineer, USN “Machinery Matters Report to the Senior Member CUSHING (TB-1) Trial Board”, March 25, 1890. Report of the Trial Board CUSHING (TB-1) Pages 12-19. 

[43] “The New Torpedo Boat. Her Thornycroft Boiler Should Send Her Ahead” New York Times, Dec. 18, 1889.

[44] “Tubulous, Coil and Sectional Boilers.” Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy 1888.pg. 344. 

[45] TBs ARIETE, RAYO, & COUREUR. Lieut. G. E. Armstrong, late RN, Torpedoes and Torpedo Vessels. Royal Navy Handbook edited by CDR Charles Napier Robinson, RN. (George Bell & Sons, London, 1896) Pgs. 179-185

[46] “The New Torpedo Boat…” New York Times, Dec. 18, 1889.

[47] Lieut. G. E. Armstrong, late RN, Torpedoes and Torpedo Vessels. Torpedo Catchers Pgs. 213-27.

[48] Additional references regarding Thornycroft Boiler. S. H. Leonard Assistant Engineer U.S. Navy, “Tubulous Boilers” Journal ASNE Vol 2 1890. Pgs. 163-77.  “Circulation in the Thornycroft Water Tube Boiler”, J. I. Thornycroft read at 35th session INA March 15, 1894, Journal ASNE. Pgs. 349- 356. 

[49] “Mr. Herreshoff’s Return”, New York Times, Oct. 10, 1890, Pg 3.

[50] Stacy Potts, “Machinery Matters Report to the Senior Member CUSHING (TB-1) Trial Board”, March 25, 1890. Report of the Trial Board CUSHING (TB-1) Pages 12-19. 

[51] “Secretary Tracy”, Boston Daily Globe, Aug. 26, 1889.

[52] “The New Government Torpedo Boat”, Boston Post, Aug. 9, 1889. Pg 1. “The New Torpedo Boat” New York Times, Dec. 25, 1889. 

[53] Test and trial dates are from Capt. Nat’s Diary, Halsey C. Herreshoff Collection, Herreshoff Marine Museum. 

[54] Chief Engineer Isherwood, USN, “The United States Torpedo Boat CUSHING and its Experiments Investigated” Journal American Society of Naval Engineers, Vol IV No. 1 Feb 1892. Pgs. 1-71.

[55] Lieut. F. J. Drake, “The Structural Strength of Sea-Going Torpedo Boat No. 1”, Scientific American Supplement No. 704, June 29, 1889 & Supplement No.705, July 6, 1889

[56] “Report Trial Board (TB-1) CUSHING. The Report without attachments was distributed with the Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy 1890.Pgs 261-5. 

[57] Isherwood, “CUSHING Experiments” ASNE 1892. Pgs. 43-4. Fireroom pressures are from Stacy Potts, “Machinery Matters”. Report of the Trial Board CUSHING (TB-1) Pg. 17. 

[58] “Tried on the Potomac, the CUSHING attained the speed of nearly 27 knots. While steaming at the rate of 25 knots, her engines were suddenly reversed, and she backed at the rate of 18 knots.” Source IRON May 23, 1890- Under Section “Trial Trips” p 454. “CUSHING has developed a speed of about 26 knots…” from Report W.M. Folger Chief BuOrd, Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy 1890.pg. 248.

[59] “Report Trial Board (TB-1) CUSHING.” Annual Report Secretary of the Navy 1890. Pg. 265. 

[60] The final delivered price for construction was $98,666. Including armament, the $100,000 Congressional authorization was exceeded by less than $500. Annual Report Secretary of the Navy 1891 “Cost of the New Navy” Table page 56.  

[61] Alexandria Gazette May 5, 1890Cushing passed up river yesterday evening making over 20 mph. The Sunday Herald Wash DC May 18, 1890 pg. 6 “The wash made by the CUSHING during her trip up and down the river made a severe shaking among large vessels at Alexandria and damage to small boats. Complaints were entered and in order issued by the Secretary to the commander of the CUSHING to slow down when passing that city.”

[62] “Cushing Boilers”, New York Times, July 30, 1890

[63] “CUSHING; Trials of One Thornycroft Boiler”, Journal ASNE Vol 2. 1890, Pgs. 580-582

[64] Assist. Engineer S. H. Leonard, USN, “Preservation of Marine Boilers”, Journal ASNE Vol 3. 1891, Pgs. 195-6. Includes a report on CUSHING by the ship’s engineer, Assist. Engr. B. C. Bryan, USN.

[65] Capt. L. A. Beardslee USN et al, Report Survey of Torpedo Boat CUSHING Boilers, Oct. 1, 1890. Memorandum Engineer-in-Chief George W Melville, Oct.10, 1890. George Albert Converse Papers and Photographs (MSS 0068x), DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University. Series 1, Box 1, Folder 5.

[66] Letter Chief BuOrd William Folger to George Converse of Oct. 14, 1890 enclosing CUSHING Boiler Survey Report & Memorandum Chief BuSteam Melville re CUSHING’s boilers, requesting his comments and suggestions. Geo. A. Converse letter to Secretary of the Navy, re Thornycroft boilers in CUSHING, Oct. 29, 1890. George Albert Converse Papers and Photographs (MSS 0068x), DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University. Series 1, Box 1, Folder 5.

[67] “BuSteam Annual Report 1895”. CUSHING boilers need retubing. Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy 1895. Pg. 413. BuNav Annual Report 1896, CUSHINGExtensive repairs Wash Yard Dec 95 to Aug 96. Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy 1896.Pg 303.