: The ship in the photograph is the "William D. Crawford" being unloaded by a Hulett, specialized unloading machine.
The Whiskey Island Hulett Ore Unloaders were built in 1912 for the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) by Wellman – Seaver – Morgan Company of Cleveland. The dock is located in on Whiskey Island in Cleveland, Ohio on the coast of Lake Erie, between the mouth of the Cuyahoga River and Edgewater Park.
The Hulett automatic ore unloader was invented by George Hulett of Cleveland, Ohio and patented in 1898. The first working machine was built the following year at Conneaut Harbor in Conneaut, Ohio. It was successful, and many more were built along the Great Lakes, especially the southern shore of Lake Erie to unload steamers full of taconite from the iron mines near Lake Superior. Until 1903 they were built by Webster, Camp & Lane Company of Akron, Ohio. Substantial improvements were later made on the design by Samuel T. Wellman. It is these second-generation Huletts which continue to stand to this day.
The electrically operated Hulett unloader runs on two sets of parallel tracks along the face of the docks, one near the edge and one further back, with normally enough distance for four sets of railroad tracks in between. Steel towers, riding on wheeled trucks, support girders that run from front to back, perpendicular to the dock face.
Along these girders runs a carriage which can move toward or away from the dock face. This in turn carries a large walking beam which can be raised or lowered; at the dock-end is a vertical column with a large scoop bucket on the end. A parallel beam is mounted half-way down this column to keep the column vertical as it is raised or lowered. The machine's operator, stationed in the vertical beam above the bucket for maximum cargo visibility, could spin the beam at any angle. The scoop bucket is thus lowered into the ship's hold, closed to capture about 10 tons of ore, then raised and moved back toward the dock.
The Cleveland Huletts were used until 1992, when Conrail, who had inherited them from PRR, decided to abandon them because self-unloading boats were standard on the American side of the lake, rending them obsolete. Most, if not all, have since been scrapped. In 1999, only six remained, the group of four at Whiskey Island in Cleveland, Ohio the oldest. In spite of the Cleveland machines being on the National Register of Historic Places and designated as a Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark, they were demolished in 2000 by the Cleveland Port Authority to enable development of the land they were located on. The Port Authority disassembled and retained two Huletts, to enable their reconstruction at another site, which is pending. View on Ohio Memory.
: SA1039AV_B04F11_07_01 Subjects
: Lake Erie; Shipping industry; Docks--Ohio--Cleveland; Lake steamers--Great Lakes (North America)--History; Shipping--Erie, Lake; Cargo ships; Ores--Transportation; Hulett iron-ore unloaders; National Register of Historic Places Places
: Cleveland (Ohio); Cuyahoga County (Ohio)