On 13 November 1899, Maryland Steel Company, Sparrows Point MD, laid down three Truxtun (DD-14) class destroyers which would commission 1902-03. These three destroyers were launched by the Maryland Steel Company at Sparrows Point, Maryland, on the 15th of August 1901. The contract date of completion was April 4, 1900. They had been built under the supervision of Commander J.D. Ford, assisted by Assistant Naval Constructor D. H. Cox. The approximate cost of each vessel, when completed, will be about $285,000.
At the time these were much the largest torpedo boat destroyers built for any navy, as their normal displacement was 433 tons and their displacement at full load, with bunkers full and all stores on board, 610 tons. The three ships were dissimilar in name only. By far the largest vessels of their type belonging to the United States, they were also among the largest in any navy of the world. Their superior size enabled the designer to provide quarters for the officers and crew which were far more commodious than on other torpedo boat destroyers. All the furnishing in the cabin were made of metal. Asbestos sheathing took the place of veneering in the finishings, and wood was totally absent.
The hull is of steel, measuring 259 feet and 6 inches in length overall, and aength on the water-line of 248 feet. The Whipple, Truxtun, and Worden were 22 feet and 3 inches in their beams, 14 feet and 8 inches deep, and draw 6 to 9 feet of water. Each of them was propelled by two four-cylinder triple-expansion engines, developing 8,300 horse power, at a speed of 340 revolutions to the minute, with a steam pressure of 315 square feet, and a heating surface of 17,768 square feet. Twin-screw, vertical, triple-expansion engines with Thorneycroft water-tube boilerswere designed to develop 8,300 IHP. With this machinery they were expected to attain a speed of thirty knots an hour under natural draught. Normal coal supply 25 tons; total capacity 202 tons. Each was supplied with two 5-meter, 17.7-inch torpedo tubes, and had eight rapid-fire guns, of which six were six-pounders, and the remainder two-pounders [or two 3-inch guns; six 6-pounders]. The complement was 4 officers and 69 men. The normal displacement, 433 tons; gross tonnage, 541.02; full load displacement, 610 tons; tons per inch of immersion at normal draught, 9.5.
The Maryland Steel Company's output in 1901 consisted of the United States torpedo boat destroyers "Truxton," "Whipple," and "Worden," and three steamers for the coasting trade. This company had almost completed a 11,500 ton freight steamer and the keels have been laid for two 12,500 ton freight and passenger steamers for the Atlantic Transport Company. The shipbuilding concern before known as the Columbia Iron Works has been reorganised under the title of the Baltimore Dry Dock Company, and great improvement has been made in the plant and machinery. Baltimore has certainly made great strides in shipbuilding within a few years, for in 1887 only seven vessels were built of a total tonnage of 2,500 tons.
These were part of the original sixteen torpedo boat destroyers authorized by Congress on 4 May 1898. The Naval Construction Board prepared the specifications of the proposed destroyers and torpedo-boats to be built in accordance with the authority conferred by the naval appropriation act. Twenty-eight boats - 16 torpedo-boat destroyers and 12 torpedo-boats - were to be built. Bids were invited on the basis that the destroyers shall be of not less than 400 tons nor more than 435 tons displacement, capable of making a speed of not less than 30 knots an hour, with two quadruple- expansion engines of 11,000 horse power and twin screws. They were to be protected with 2 inches of inclined nickel steel armor over cellulose.
One of the most important requisites of the proposed vessels was that the destroyers be able to make a high speed in a heavy seaway and torpedo-boats a high speed in a moderate seaway. The destroyers are to have a minimum coal capacity of 100 tons, which will give them a steaming radius of 5000 miles. The destroyers were to be given batteries including two 12-pounder and five 6-pounder semi-automatic rapid-fire guns and two torpedo tubes. The total cost of each destroyer was fixed at $295,000. It is proposed that the destroyers shall be furnished to the Government within 18 months. The contracts will provide penalties for each quarter-knot below the contract requirement and for every day's delay beyond the time limit to be fixed.
By 1900 there were 16 Torpedo Boat Destroyers in the Navy, built or building, named as follows: Bainbridge, Barry, Chauncey, Dale, Decatur, Hopkins, Hull, Lawrence, Macdonough, Paul Jones, Perry, Preble, Stewart, Truxton, Whipple, Worden. Their keels were laid in 1899. They were each from 400 to 433 tons displacement, from 28 to 30 knots speed, of from 7,000 to 8,300 horsepower, cost from $281,000 to $286,000, and have batteries of 2 14-pounder rapid-fire, 5 or 6-pounder rapid-fire, and 2 18-inch Whitehead torpedo tubes.
All three served coastal defense duties during World War One and were sold on 3 January 1920 to Joseph Hitner of Philadelphia for use as fruit carriers which their high speed lent them to.
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