W. I. Babcock
W. I. Babcock, the efficient manager of the Chicago Ship Building Company, is a finished scholar and a man of national reputation as a naval architect and ship- builder. He has the right to contemplate with pride the many finely constructed steamers that he has designed and launched, some of which have been noted for their speed, and others for their stanch sea-going qualities.
Mr. Babcock was born in Stonington, Conn., in 1858, a son of Capt. David S. and Charlotte (Noyes) Babcock, who in 1866 removed to Brooklyn, N. Y., where our subject had the advantage of the excellent public-school system, graduating from School No. 11, in 1872. He then attended the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute, graduating in 1876 with the degree of B. S., and two years later he was granted the degree of civil engineer by the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, of Troy, N. Y., from which he graduated.
In 1878 Mr. Babcock became connected with the Morgan Iron Works, of New York, in the machine shop and as draughtsman, remaining with them until the next year, when he became assistant engineer of the Tehuantepec Inter Ocean Railroad Company, in Mexico. In 1880 he was engaged as draughtsman at Roach's shipyard, Chester, Penn., and remained with that concern five years. He was then called to New York to become assistant to the president of the Providence & Stonington Steamship Co., retaining that office two years. It was in 1887 that Mr. Babcock accepted the position of superintendent of the Union Dry dock Company at Buffalo, N.Y., and during the two years he remained with that corporation he designed and constructed several steamers notable for their beauty and speed. In 1889 he accepted the office of manager of the Chicago Shipbuilding Company, and during the ten years that he has directed affairs the company has built some of the finest and largest steel vessels that traverse the lakes. Since October, 1897, they have launched three fine vessels. The towbarges Australia, build for James Corrigan of Cleveland, and the Maia, for the Minnesota Steamship Company, have each a 376-foot keel, 48-foot beam, 26 feet deep, and a gross tonnage of 3,745.17, and a net tonnage of 3,467.89, while the steamer William R. Linn, built for C.W. Elphicke and others, of Chicago, has a 400-foot keel, 48-foot beam, is 28 feet deep, and has a gross tonnage of 4,328.71, and a net tonnage of 3,196.99. The Chicago Shipbuilding Company was organized in December, 1889, under the laws of Illinois, by certain Chicago parties, and parties connected with the Globe Iron Works, of Cleveland, Ohio. The first officers were J.F. Pankhurst, president; W.I. Babcock, manager; Luther Allen, vice-president and treasurer; and J.H. Craig, secretary. In 1892 the Cleveland stock was purchased by Chicago men, and Emmons Blaine became president; W. F. Cobb, vice-president and treasurer; O.R. Sinclair, secretary; and W.I. Babcock, manager. After the death of Mr. Blaine, in the summer of 1892, William L. Brown became president, the other officers remaining unchanged, and all these hold their respective positions.
The societies of which Mr. Babcock is a member are of a high order, and comprise the American Society of Naval Engineers, United States Naval Institute, Society of Naval Architects & Marine Engineers, and Institution of Naval Architects, of London, England.
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This version of Volume II is based, with permission, on the work of the great volunteers at the Marine Captains Biographies site. To them goes the credit for reorganizing the content into some coherent order. The biographies in the original volume are in essentially random order.
Some of the transcription work was also done by Brendon Baillod, who maintains an excellent guide to Great Lakes Shipwreck Research.