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Germania-Werft Actien-Gesellschaft [Fried Krupp]

Among the shipyards that added to the fame of the German' shipbuilding industry the Germania Dockyard took first place.

The Germania yard has a curious history, inasmuch as it had its beginning, not on the sea-coast, but inland. It derived its origin from a small foundry and workshop, which was founded by F. A. Egells, in 1822, in the neighbourhood of Berlin, and employed only ten men. The establishment was then limited to the building of small engines. The works were gradually enlarged, and frequently received orders for marine engines and boilers. In 1871 works were started at Tegel, near Berlin, and was incorporated as a joint stock company, under the name of Markisch-Schleische Machinenbau- und Hutten-Aktiengesellschaft. The great industrial progress in Germany brought many orders for ships' engines and boilers. These became the specialities of the firm, and it was a natural consequence that they should turn to shipbuilding.

In 1879 the company bought the Norddeutscher yard at Gaarden, near Kiel, and in 1881 the two branches were united under the name of the Schiff-undMaschinenbau-Aktiengesellschaft Germania. Under this designation the yard has produced much good work, and built a number of mercantile and naval vessels for home and abroad. As of interest in naval history, it ought to be mentioned that the cruiser Kaiserin Augusta was built in the Germania yard, the first German warship to be fitted with triple screws and to reach the then exceptional speed of twenty-two knots. The Furst Bismarck, the first German armored cruiser, launched in 1897, was built by the Germania.

In 1896 the firm of Friedrich Krupp, at Essen, which was well known for its building of warships, rented the Germania Yard for a period of twenty-five years. By the terms of the contract the firm of Krupp stipulated that they might make any alterations in the situation they might deem necessary. They also reserved the right to acquire the yard for themselves. On 01 April 1902 the yard was sold to the firm of Krupp, and was known since as Fried Krupp (Actien-Gesellschaft Germania-Werft). It then entered upon a new period of development. Many millions were invested in the new plant, and nothing was spared in making the establishment one of the biggest and best-equipped in Germany. This has happened, and the Germania was equal to the greatest possible demands which may be made, either for the construction of naval or mercantile ships. By means of a large expenditure on plant and machinery the firm of Krupp brought this dockyard up to date, and it took rank as one of the finest in the world.

The purchase of the Germania yards would appear to have been a favorite idea of Herr Krupp, and it is well to draw attention to this, as its development was pushed forward by every possible means. The first German shipbuilding works to be covered in were constructed, and a passing visit will show that no expense was spared. Battleships, cruisers, torpedo-boats, and, as a speciality, submarines, were built.

The old Germania shipyard (on whose berths the ships Siegfried, Worth, Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse, Zahringen, and Brunswick were built for the German Navy, also a large number of smaller cruisers, torpedo-boat destroyers, and torpedo-boats for the German and other navies) was found not sufficiently large, owing to the increased size of vessels, and consequently a new dockyard and engineering works were built at Gaarden. The old wharf had a frontage of about 1,200 ft. and an area of 14 acres, and was then used for the building of small vessels.

The new dockyard, which lay opposite the old harbor, had a water frontage of nearly half a mile, and an area of about 50 acres, of which 19 acres are covered by workshops. It had the advantage of being practically at the entrance of the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal, and close to the terminus of the Kiel and Hamburg Railway. As of 1908 there were seven large building berths, and one still under construction. They varied in length from 360 to nearly 700 ft., with a width of from 72 to no ft. On these berths ships up to 750 ft. in length could be built. Of the seven large berths four were covered, being the first covered berths built in Germany. Every berth had two electrically driven cranes capable of lifting any weights necessary in the construction of vessels.

The workshops were fitted with the latest modern appliances - scissors, rollers, presses, bending-presses, and lock presses, all worked by electricity. The iron foundry was furnished with two large ovens, sixteen round fires, and five double ovens, electric and steam hammers, and cranes with a capacity of from three to 10 tons.

This yard had built many vessels for the German and other navies, and also numerous passenger and cargo steamers for the Hamburg-Amerika and Norddeutscher Lloyd, among which may be mentioned the Borussia, of 13,000 tons, and the Kronprinzessin Cccilie, 19,200 Ions. Many steam yachts have been designed and constructed from time to time, notably the Imperial yacht Hohenzollen, later called Kaiser Adler. Many sets of engines have been constructed for vessels built in other yards, among others the engines for the Borden, 5,700 Hp., Bayern, 5,760 Hp., Kaiser Wilhelm II., 13,000 Hp., Freya, 10,000 Hp., Arcana, 2,400 Hp., Alexandrine, 2,600 Hp., for the German Navy. several torpedo-boats for the Spanish Nayy, and some gun-boats for Russia.

By 1911 the area covered by the works is 235,000 square meters. There were four slips of between 150 and 200 meters, three of between 100 and 150 meters, and six under 100 meters. The Germania did not possess a dock. There were 4,000 workmen employed. The capital belonged to the Krupp, Essen Company. The Germania stands alone in Germany in so far that it produced its own guns and armor.

For many years Germania had built torpedoes for foreign Governments, and at the beginning of the 20th century begun to build regularly for the German torpedo flotilla, with excellent results. Experiments were also made with submarines, and in 1902 the first submarine, the Forel, was delivered to Russia, to be succeeded by others. A few years later the first submarine for the German Navy was built, and proved in every respect a satisfactory type.

Mercantile vessels were also built, and a large number had been supplied to the orders of the North German Lloyd and Hamburg-American Lines, as well as large numbers of tugboats, railway steamers, dredgers, and freight steamers. The Germania has also taken up the turbine, and alone produces the water-tube boilers on the system Schultz. Furthermore, she builds oil-motors and all engines and boilers installed in ships of her building.

The Krupp Germania had this difference as compared with all the other German yards, that she had not gradually developed, but has been made at one stroke, by means of the Krupp millions, a great and modern yard. Her power of production, as that of most of the German yards, is far superior to the demands likely to be made upon it.

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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 02:54:43 ZULU