: This photograph shows bulk cargo barges being unloaded at docks.
The large machine in the background appears to be the ore unloader in Cleveland. The lake freighter on the right probably the William G. Mather, launched in 1925. It was owned by the Cleveland Cliffs Company.
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.
Cliffs Natural Resources, formerly Cleveland-Cliffs, is a Cleveland, Ohio business firm that specializes in the mining and beneficiation of iron ore and the mining of coal.
The firm's earliest predecessor was the Cleveland Iron Mining Company, founded in 1847. Samuel Mather and six associates had learned of rich iron-ore deposits recently discovered in the highlands of the Upper Peninsula region of Michigan. The final decades of the 1800s were a period of business consolidation from the partnership-sized businesses of an earlier generation to a new type of business firm, the stock-market-traded corporation intent on maximizing market share. The former Cleveland Iron Mining Co. was a survivor of this shakeout, purchasing many of its competitors. One key merger in 1890, with Jeptha Wade's Cliffs Iron Company led the combined firm to change its name to the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company.
William G. Mather, the son of Samuel, guided Cleveland-Cliffs as president and later as chairman of the board during the period of 1890-1947. Under Mather, Cleveland-Cliffs was a leader in the development of the classic-type lake freighter, a bulk-cargo vessel especially designed to carry Great Lakes commodities. The 618-foot (188 m)-long William G. Mather, launched in 1925, is a surviving example of this ship type. For almost a century, the black-hulled Cleveland-Cliffs ships were familiar sights on the upper Lakes.
In 1933, Edward Greene (the son-in-law of Jeptha Homer Wade II) replaced William G. Mather as the head of the company. Demand for American iron ore hit peaks during World War I, World War II, and the post-WWII consumer boom, and the company enjoyed success for many decades.
The periods following the recessions of 1974-75 and 1981-83 were harsh ones for the iron ore industry. Cleveland-Cliffs shrank its operations, closing many of their plants and began turning the associated tailings ponds into compensatory wetlands for its other properties. In 1984, Cliffs withdrew from the Great Lakes shipping industry.
In June 2007, Cleveland-Cliffs purchased its first domestic coal property. In line with its venture into coal, the company changed its name from Cleveland-Cliffs to Cliffs Natural Resources in October 2008. View on Ohio Memory.
: SA1039AV_B08F09_030_1 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; Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company; Mather, Samuel, 1851-1931; Mather, William Gwinn, 1857-1951 Places
: Cleveland (Ohio); Cuyahoga County (Ohio)