Delaware River industrial history double tour, inside Cramp Machine & Turret Shop and Disston Precision
Sat. June 20, 10 am-2 pm, Free. Rain or shine. Bring your own refreshments.
10-11:30 am, Cramp Shipbuilding Machine & Turret Shop, 2050 Richmond Street (above). Built about 1905, this is the last surviving above-ground structure of that famous firm which operated from 1830-1927 and again from 1941-46. This monumental space, enclosed within walls that are 75% glass and under a "butterfly roof" skylight by the Lupton Company, surrounded by a working mezzanine and seven bridge cranes with capacities from 4000 lbs to 75 tons. Tack welds and rail lines on the floor show how sub-assemblies were prepared for ships in the adjacent slipways and drydocks. Also on view will be original Cramp documents showing the operations in this and adjacent buildings during WWII. Reese Davis will share his memories and mementos, including his pass to watch the launch of the Light Cruiser USS Galveston on April 22, 1945, and his copy of The Philadelphia Inquirer, September 6, 1941, announcing, "Cramp's Reopening Aids U.S. Defense, Kensington will celebrate today as workers in revived shipyard lay keel for Navy Cruiser Wilkes Barre," plus a "Special Cramp's Shipyard Section." Also on view will be the marvelous bird's eye view of "The William Cramp & Sons Ship & Engine Building Company" dated January 1919, from the collection of Jane Mork Gibson. The Cramp Machine & Turret Shop is soon slated for demolition to widen I-95.
Noon-2 pm, Disston Precision, 6795 State Road. These workshops are the only working remnant of the 64-acre site of the Henry Disston & Sons Keystone Saw, Tool, Steel and File Works, which moved here in 1872. Mark Ward joined Disston as an apprentice in 1973, working his way up to Master Smith. Surrounded by enormous presses, grinding machines and barrel polishers, Mark will explain the craft of precision smithing at the work tables and anvils where he still works, wielding peen and 10 lb. hammers upon heat treated plates, to relax the metal and raise the "valleys" to tolerances of 3/1000ths of an inch before the plates go for further grinding and machining. Some of these precision plates are used to cut cardboard boxes! From precision to the mundane.
Drive to Cramp. From Center City, north on Delaware Avenue, pass Penn Treaty Park, bear right on Richmond Street just before the ramp to I-95/Girard. Cramp is the large brick building on the western (left) side of Richmond Street, before you get to Girard Avenue. Meet at the northern end of the building marked "Caviar Assouline" and "Diamond Transportation."
Public Transport to/from Cramp. The Route 15 Trolley runs along Girard Avenue and Richmond Street. From the Market-Frankford El Girard Station, take the trolley eastbound. Get off immediately after crossing under I-95 and walk south along Richmond Street to the building marked "Caviar Assouline" and "Diamond Transportation." Anyone arriving by public transport should join a car pool from Cramp to Disston, then return by car pool or SEPTA R7.
Public transport to/from Disston. The Tacony Station is about three blocks away, served by the SEPTA R7 with hourly service from Center City on Saturdays, arriving 11:07 & 12:07, and departing southbound at 2:26 and 3:26.
Early arrivals to Disston can see the Hidden City "Running True" installation by artists Carolyn Healy & John Phillips.
By car from Cramp to Disston. An easy 7 miles or 10 minutes. North up Richmond Street to I-95 North. Take the Cottman Avenue exit (#30), turn left (south) at the first traffic light on State Road/73, after a few blocks weave left under I-95, then continue a short way to Disston on the left.
Questions: Torben Jenk, 215-739-6061 or email@example.com
Organized by the Oliver Evans Chapter, Society for Industrial Archaeology.