Resources for Patients and their Families

Todd Shipyards Corporation - Los Angeles

Todd Shipyards Corporation - Los Angeles Division

The late William Henry Todd is the company namesake for Todd Shipyards Corporation. Established in 1916, the corporation formed with the financial support of 3 financiers and through the incorporation of 3 companies: Seattle Construction & Dry Dock Company; Robins Dry Dock & Repair Company, and the Tietjen & Long Dry Dock Company. Over time the new corporation grew through mergers with other shipyards on the East and West Coasts in Washington, California, Texas, Alabama, Maine, Louisiana and more.

Through expansionary wartime years when maritime and naval demands spurred the incorporation of new shipyards, William Todd found it difficult to maintain the "family" atmosphere that Todd Shipyards enjoyed for so many years. In those years, however, Todd Shipyards still managed to issues several magazines and publications including The Keel, The Todd Daily Maritime and The Bridge.

In 1932 William H. Todd died. Todd Shipyards was a strong company but experiencing financial strain at the onset of the stock market crash and through the Depression. Todd Shipyards, however, experienced tremendous business activity with the advent of the World War II. The Todd yards were extremely busy building ships, converting ship and repairing ships for both the military and commercial use. In the mid 1940's Todd Shipyards diversified into non-shipbuilding industries including the Todd Insecticidal Fog Applicator (TIFA).

The Todd Corporation diversified even more under a 3rd president named Joseph Haag, Jr. in 1953. Even though Haag took on his role in peacetime, the Navy established a policy of giving work to private shipyards. Todd Shipyards repair business benefited greatly from that policy during that time. In 1958 John Gilbride was named the fourth president of Todd Corp. In 1975 Todd Corp was in a difficult spot financially due to bad inflationary trends and failed diversification programs. At that time Arthur W. Stout, Jr. was named president. With refinancing, the corporation was set back on its feet.1 Today Stephen G Welch, president and CEO, presides over Todd Shipbuilding Corporation as it continues to strive on in a narrowing industry.2

Todd Shipyard Los Angeles Division

The Todd Los Angeles Division, known as Los Angeles Shipbuilding and Dry Dock, became part of the company in 1945, and it played an important role in the company's effort to expand into other industries during this slow postwar period. The Los Angles Division built the famous Mark Twain steamboat at Disneyland, as well as the park's 18x5.5 foot gates for its graving docks, the pirate ship, the square-rigger Columbus, and the electric submarines.

The shipyard also assisted in construction and conversion projects, a major focus of Todd's peacetime business. One of the more notable construction projects involved building the USS Fox (DLG-33). In 1970 a Navy repair ship Hector (R-7) was overhauled and upgraded. Some of the conversion projects included the conversion of a wartime landing ship into an offshore drilling barge and the conversion of a cargo ship into the super-fast attack transport the USS Paul Revere. The shipyard was even asked to "jumboize" the famous Richfield tanker David E. Day.

Todd Corporation expected much continuing success in 1981 and planned for the construction of a 12,000-ton syncrolift at the shipyard. Attention was turned on public relations and advertising to increase the yard's business.3 Yet, due to the competitive nature of the shipbuilding enterprise, the yard was starved for business and was closed by the middle of the 1980's.4

Author: Linda Molinari

Editor in Chief, Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance

Linda Molinari


1 Mitchell, Bradford C. Every Kind of Shipwork: A History of Todd Shipyards Corporation, 1916-1981.. Todd Shipyard Corporation: New York. 1981.

2 "Market Guide-Snapshot Report." July 29, 1999.

3 Mitchell, Bradford C.Every Kind of Shipwork: A History of Todd Shipyards Corporation, 1916-1981.. Todd Shipyard Corporation: New York. 1981.

4 "FAS: Military Analysis Network." July 29, 1999.