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Todd Shipyards Corporation - San Francisco

Todd Shipyards Corporation - San Francisco 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 Shipyards San Francisco Division

Added to the Todd Family of shipyards in 1948, the San Francisco Division, known at that time as the Todd Pacific Shipyards Corporation was a high-tech and adaptable yard. The shipyard sits inside the Golden Gate Bridge, and its ability to build larger passenger and cargo vessels as well as tankers was a major benefit. The shipyard contributed to diverse projects from constructing flood-control equipment to building wind tunnels for the space program. Specifically located in Alameda, California, the yard eventually became one of the company's major shipbuilding yards.

Between 1949 and 1959, the yard took on numerous major repair and conversion projects. Some of these included a large repair job on the diesel engine of the Swedish tanker Atlantic Queen and the conversion of three Matson refrigerated C-3 Freighters to carry cargo vans. Throughout the 1960's the yard took on many "jumboizing" projects including four Keystone T-2 tankers. The yard even gained notoriety by constructing the largest drilling boat ever to hit the water. By 1975, the yard was kept busy with a rush of orders for Navy repair work3. The yard never completely closed, but with an eventual slow down in shipbuilding, repair, and conversion orders, the yard was ultimately leased to private developers for industrial warehouse purposes4.

Author: Tara Strand

Senior Content Writer

Tara Strand

Reviewer: Jennifer R. Lucarelli

Lawyer for Mesothelioma Victims and Their Families

Jennifer R. Lucarelli


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.