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 - Hoboken Division
Formed in 1884, Tietjan & Lang Dry Dock Company was located on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River. Tietjan & Lang, recently known as Hoboken division, was the main competition to the other New York Harbor shipyard, Robins. Tietjan & Lang joined the Todd Corporation in 1916 and closed in 1965.
During WWII, Hoboken flourished, handling more than 8,000 ships and 34 million tons. During peacetime, Hoboken, like most shipyards of the day, would turn to alternate projects to stay afloat. Some of these projects included building gates for the Erie Canal, furnishing steel for a NY State bridge, and producing a state-of-the-art trailer truck for the transport of a special jet fuel. The Hoboken Division even produced boats for Freedomland, a North Bronx amusement park.
Between the 1950s and 1960s, Hoboken took on a great deal of vessel expansion work, or "jumboizing." The yard tacked on another 100 feet to each of three T-2's for conversion into dry-cargo carriers each with a completely different function and appearance. Eventually however, consistent low levels of work orders forced Todd Shipyards to choose only one of its two New York Port shipyards to remain open. Hoboken closed on September 1,1965, and the Brooklyn Division inherited most of its equipment and drydocks.
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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." http://www.marketguide.com/mgi/snap/8884N.html. July 29, 1999.