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Imlay and Van Brunt, Bowne and Summit Streets, nearest Summit

A 1855 map shows a structure labeled boiler factory at the south west corner of Summit and Imlay (then called Hudson street).

1860: March 17, a boiler explosion at the Atlantic Foundry between Van Burnt and Imlay resulted in the death of the engineer John Hazleton and the injury of four others. The accident was the result of carelessness on the part of the deceased in allowing the water in the boiler to become low and then suddenly introducing cold water. Hazleton had been in charge of the boiler for about 14 months. He had previously been employed as a laborer. His wages were $5 to $7 a week. The jury found "the said John Hazleton an incompetent engineer". He left a family. He was buried in Holy Cross. Other by the accident were all recovering. (BE)

1865: In a horrible accident occurred at the Atlantic Foundry. Catherine Benton, age 6, was visiting her father, George, in the Factory when her dress became caught in the a machine. Her head was dashed against a wall and she died instantly. The family lived a 3 Van Brunt.

There were a succession of companies at this "address" from at least 1861. In 1862 the William A Lighthall Co. was located here.

1861: April 2, for Auction Wednesday April 3 at 10:00 corner of Imlay and Summit streets, Mortgage sale of Machinery Steam Engine etc - comprising the entire contents of the factory. (Brooklyn Eagle)

There is a unlabeled structure at this location on the 1869 map.

The South Brooklyn Engine Works and Foundry were listed at this address on the 1880 map.

Daniel McLeod and associates took over the business at this address by 1866 if not earlier.

By 1873 the property (or at least part of it) was up for lease. In 1876 it was up for auction.

However, Daniel McLoed's grandson, Delphin McLeod, was still active here in 1890. He was a member of the South Brooklyn Engine Works when they incorporated in 1890. By 1895 the business appears to have been in financial difficulty. The company failed in 1897 but it appears that there was continued manufacturing at the site. By 1902 it was the home of the South Brooklyn Steam Engine works.

More than one establishment was operating here at the turn of the century. Francis (Frank) Mulheran, John A Moran, and John Shields were there under the corporation Atlantic Basin Iron Works from 1898 to 1951.

John J Riley Iron and Brass foundry was shown on the 1907 map.

1880 map, NYPL

South Brooklyn Engine works

1886 map, NYPL

S. Brooklyn Iron Foundry & Steam Eng. works

??? map, NYPL

John J. Riley's establishment is on the corner of Summit and Van Brunt while the Atlantic Basin Iron Works is facing Imlay.

1907 map, NYPL

John J. Riley Iron and Brass Foundry.

There is nothing still standing of where the Atlantic Basin Iron works once stood.

South Brooklyn Iron Foundry and Steam Engine Works, AKA South Brooklyn Boiler Works

Between Imlay and Van Brunt, Bowne and Summit Streets, nearest Summit - Daniel McLeod, Delphin B. Cobb, Delphin McLeod Cobb, John J Riley & J. Joseph Reily.

The South Brooklyn Iron Foundry and Steam Engine Works, AKA South Brooklyn Boiler Works, was located between Imlay and Van Brunt, Bowne and Summit Streets, nearest Summit. The South Brooklyn Engine Works and Foundry were listed at this address on the 1880 map.

The South Brooklyn Iron Foundry and Steam Engine Works was shown on the 1886 map between Imlay, Van Brunt, Bowne and Summit Streets. It was also known as the South Brooklyn Steam Engine Works, and the South Brooklyn Boiler Works both also located at Van Brunt and Summit Sts, Brooklyn. In 1890 they had offices on Wall Street. They also had a dry dock in the Erie Basin. In 1901 the address was given as 149 Van Brunt. The company was a successor to William A Lighthall Co and was located on Van Brunt street from at least 1862 when it was listed as the South Brooklyn Boiler Works, manufacturer of the engines for the ships, Metacomet and Mendota. In 1868 it advertised in Scientific American as South Brooklyn Iron Foundry.

There are buildings still standing at this address, but they do not appear to be very old in comparison to other "works" in Red Hook.

William A Lighthall

William Lighthall is credited as the person who was responsible for bringing the surface condenser into general use in steam vessels. William Lighthall was listed in 1849 for "improvements in apparatus for the condensation of steam in marine engines." In July 1862 a boiler exploded on the Blanche Page killing a steward on the boat. The boiler had been patched and "WILLIAM LIGHTHALL, a government inspecter, gave a certificate that the boiler was sound."

"The first surface condenser applied directly to the marine engine was upon the steamer Salvor in 1859, and was successful. The first patent was taken out for these condensers June 11, 1861. They have since become extensively used upon all classes of steam vessels, all over the world. Mr. Lighthall was an extensive inventor, and took out about fifty United States patents."

American Machinist, Volume 4, 1881

Willam A. Lighthall born 1805, "builder of marine engines", died of pneumonia at his home at 14 Herkimer Street, Brooklyn on January 4, 1881.

Daniel McLeod, Delphin B Cobb and Delphin McLeod Cobb

Daniel McLeod and his son-in-law, Delphin B Cobb, took over William Lighthall's business. After their deaths the business was owned by Delphin B. Cobbs's son, Delphin McLeod Cobb.

During the Civil War they built engines for Navy vessels.

"On August 8 and 15, 1862, the Navy Department entered into contracts with the South Brooklyn Steam-Engine Works for the construction of the machinery, engines, and boilers of the two double-ended gunboats Metacomet and Mendota, the contract price being in each case $80,000."

(United States Congressional serial set, Issue 3044)

The Metacomet

The Metacomet was a wooden side-wheeled steamer.

The U. S. S. Nyack was launched on October 6, 1863. Her machinery was built by South Brooklyn Iron Works and included two vertical tubular boilers and two horizontal, back action surface condenser engines. (Official records of the Union and Confederate navies in the War of the Rebellion By United States. Naval War Records Office, United States. Office of Naval Records and Library)

South Danvers Wizard, 6/1/1864, p. 2/7 NAVAL "Compass Station, Sandy Hook, May 19th, 1864. The U.S. Steamer Meadota left the Navy Yard, Brooklyn, at 11 A.M. today; passed Castle William at 11:30 A. M.; passed S. W. Spit buoy and came to anchor at Sandy Hook at 1 P.M. making 15 miles in one hour and thirty minutes. The engine and boilers performed their duty with great satisfaction, the engine making 14 revolutions with 21 pounds of steam and closely throttled. The Meadota was built by Capt. Thacker, at Red Hook, and compares favorably with any of the double-enders, built by private contract. The engine and boilers were built at the South Brooklyn Iron Works, by Daniel McLeod - the same establishment that built the Metacomet's boilers." January 6 - June 29, 1864 - Part VI Navy - United States

The Mosholu a second class screw sloop-of-war was launched in December 1866. Her engines were build by Daniel McLeod of the South Brooklyn Iron Works.

1867: Wanted pattern makers at the south Brooklyn Works corner Imlay and Summit sts. South Brooklyn

1869: For sale - ten lots with large brick buildings, desireable for manufacturing purposes, locate at Imlay and Summit, street, Brooklyn, two block form Hamilton ferry, 250 feet from Atlantic Basin.

In 1869 D. McLeod, esq. of the South Brooklyn Iron Works had a commission from the government to build one set of engines and boilers of the 60 by 36 inch cylinder class for the Department of the Navy. (BUREAU OF STEAM ENGINEERING. Navy Department, Bureau of Steam Engineering, November 3, 1869. Congressional edition By United States. Congress)

In 1869 South Brooklyn Steam Engine Works advertised in Scientific American "STEAM ENGINES AND OTHER MACHINERY FOR SALE AT A GREAT SACRIFICE"

In 1869 the South Brooklyn Engine and Boiler Works manufactured "a magnificent upright Steam Rolling-engine" 1,200 horse power - weighing 67 tons - for the Trenton Iron Company. (The Year-book of facts in science and art By John Timbs (and others))

1870: Steam Engines etc. for Sale: One new Stationary engine, horizontal 10x24 inches, one new station engine horizontal 15x20 inches, one second hand engine horizontal 24x72, one new portable engine 8x12 inches, one sugar mill --- 24 1/2 inches in diameter by 4 1/2 feet log with cane and ----- carriers extra wheel, Inquire at South Brooklyn Steam Engine Works corner of imlay and Summit streets, Brooklyn

1870: Wanted ten good burglar proof safe makers at corner of Imlay and Summit Sts Brooklyn, Valentine and Butler safe and lock co.

1871: The south Brooklyn Steam Engine Works was selling 2 large foundry cupolas, with fixtures, 1 large machine shop crane, 2 heavy boilers shop wall drills, 1 pair of Flange --- blocks, 1 "Lanback's patent' portable drill, 1 new ---- Lever Beam Boiler scale, 2 twenty five inche --- screw feed shaft, lathe, 16 ft bed, 2 --- shop cranes, together with a lot of smiths, machinists and boiler makers hand tools. co Imlay and Summit sts, Brooklyn. Advertisement in Scientific American

In 1873 four iron bridge anchors, each weighing nearly 24 tons, were manufactured at the South Brooklyn Steam Engine Works for the Brooklyn Anchorage of the East River Bridge (know known as the Brooklyn Bridge). Each plate was oval in shape measuring 17 feet 6 inches by sixteen feet and three feet thick. The job of moving these plates was dangerous and difficult and took many hours. In September 1873 The Bridge company owed a balance due of $4,161.91 on four anchor plates to South Brooklyn Steam Engine Works.


To Let, factory property with or without steam power, on Imlay near summit at South brooklyn Steam Works

1876 : February, South Brooklyn Steam Engine Works at van Brunt and Summit advertised a "well lit second floor" 50x55 feet six horse steam power, two lines of shafting and pulleys, a good rope and drum hoister, for $1,200 per year - 1,000 feet from the Ferry at Hamilton Ave.

1876 : April Desirable manufacturing property Southeast Corner Imlay and Summit will sell at auction Friday April 28, at 12 o'clock valuable plot of ground 75x90 feet with two story brick factory 40x55 [65] feet one story brick factory 50x65 feet and one story smith shop, 20x40 feet the first floor now being occupied by a boiler works, under rental of $2,000 per annum until November 1, 1876. Second story is a large and well lit room. These building contain staircases and hoistways. Steam power can be obtained from adjoining premises, and being within 100 foot of Hamilton Ferry are very desirable for investment. VAN BRUVT St. - two lots west side 200 feet from Summit st each 25x105

In March 1877 the South Brooklyn Steam Engine Works advertised the sale of a "factory" - two story brick 50x55 with power and shafting also two lots 25x105 with steam power available from neighboring building, Van Brunt and Imlay.

In 1878 South Brooklyn Iron works at 160 Van Brunt street advertised in Scientific America "all kinds of machine work, Iron and brass Castings, at lowest rates"

In 1889 Donald McNeal sic of the South Brooklyn Boiler Works was listed as a stockhold in the newly formed Hamilton Bank of Brooklyn. This could be Donald McNeil who was later connected with the Columbia Iron Works at Imlay and Williams. See Columbia Iron Works in this section.

In early May 1890 Thomas Kelly had his left hand crushed in the machinery at the South Brooklyn Steam Engine Works.

Daniel McLeod and Delphin B Cobb were connected to the south Brooklyn Steam Engine Works in the 1860s and 70s. Daniel McLoed died in 1875. Delphin B Cobb died in 1890. In March 1890 Delphin McLeod, the son of Delphin and the grandson of Daniel took over the business.

D. Mcleod Cobb, C..C. Cobb, S. A. Cobb, and L. De T. Cobb have incorporated the South Brooklyn Engine Works, with a capital of $50,000, for the purpose of building Lighthall surface condensers, etc.


The Engineer, Volumes 19-20, 1890

Also listed in the Brooklyn Eagle, the "incorporators" were: Delphine McLeod Cobb, Catherine C. Cobb, Susie A Cobb and Louise D. T. Cobb, all of Brooklyn.

In 1894 D. McLeod Cobb, proprietor of the South Brooklyn Steam Works introduced a new method of constructing surface condensers making the condensors smaller and lighter.

In 1895 the South Brooklyn steam engineering works at Van Brunt and Summit streets was assigned "for the benefit of their creditors" to James H Taylor of 252 President Street.

John J. Reilly is president and D "McCloud" Cobb is secretary of the company"

(BE November 25, 1895)

In June 1896 Frederick P. Budden, president of the South Brooklyn Steam Engine works died at his home in Jersey City.

In 1896 an explosion at the foundry severely injured two men. Both of them lost both of their legs. At that time an article in the New York Times described the foundry:

"The South Brooklyn Steam Engine Works cover almost an entire block, being bounded on three sides by Summit, Van Brunt, and Imlay streets. It does a general Iron foundry business and has the largest brass foundry in the Atlantic coast states - capable of turning out tens tons of brass castings per day."
The accident was described in The Foundry, vol 9-10 1896. The victims of the accident were trying to break up scrap with sledge hammers. The danger was that some of the scrap was from old machinery and some pieces contained a closed cavity. In this case the scrap piece was an old plunger. The workers had placed the plunger in the furnace and heated it enough "to make it break easily". They drew the piece out of the fire with tongs and lay it on the floor. The metal was "hissing" which apparently indicated a"hole" (or cavity). A fellow worker warned them of the danger and told them "Don't fool with that; bore a hole in it." But the man was ignored and with the next hit of the hammer the piece blew up.
"A piece of the plunger struck the castings and broke some of them. The place was all in darkness after the explosion, on account of the dust that was raised. I found my way out, and then we sent the ambulance calls."

When the dust and steam cleared away two men were found lying unconscious on the floor. In the case of one his right leg was nearly cut off and his left leg was broken in two places. In the case of the other both legs were mangled to such an extent that they had to be amputated.

Mr. J. H. Taylor, manager of the works, is reported as saying: "The men had been warned not to use their hammers until the plunger had cooled off. The foreman of the foundry told the helpers to bore a hole in the plunger. The men were thoroughly experienced; but in spite of the oft-recorded accidents caused by heating old pistons and plungers, they seem to have thought they stood in no danger, or else chose to take the chances, and did so with the deplorable results which followed."

The New York Times listed the men ast thomas Higgins of 63 Summit street and Patrick Smith of 11 King Street, both laborers. Higgins right leg was blown off and there was a compound fracture of his left leg. Smith had compound fractures of both legs. Both were said to be long time employes. Both men were said to have had both legs amputated.

The south Brooklyn Steam Engine works was said to cover almost an entire block "being bounded on three sides by summit, Van Brunt and Imlay. The facility had the largest brass foundry in the Atlantic coast states "capable of turing out ten tons of brass casting per day."
Site of the accident, from the Foundry, 1896

September 1897

"John J. Riley, for several years foreman of the South Brooklyn Steam Engine Works Foundry, and some years ago an active and prominent member of No. 96, has been operating the shop himself, since the failure of the company some months ago. He reports trade brisk, ten or twelve molders at work, and all union men."

(Iron molders' journal, Volume 33 By Iron Molders' Union of North America, International Molders' Union of North America)


We illustrate herewith an improved surface condenser recently patented by Mr. D. McLeod Cobb, formerly proprietor of the South Brooklyn Steam Engine Works. Mr. Cobb has for many years been engaged in the manufacture of the well-known Lightall surface condenser, which is in extensive use in marine service. His new condenser is an improvement upon it, designed to effect a saving in the space occupied, and also in weight and cost. In the ordinary form of condenser the tubes are expanded in one tube plate and in the opposite one are secured in a small stufllng box with corset lace, paper, or other packing, secured by screw glands. The glands take up considerable space in the tube heads, and prevent the tubes being set as close together as they otherwise might be. Mr. Cobb conceived the idea of economizing space by altering the horizontal rows of tubes in each tube plate, one row being expanded and the next having stuifing boxes. By having half of the glands in one tube head and the other half in the other, the tubes may be placed closer together. The construction is clearly shown in the accompanying cuts. It is claimed that by this arrangement of alternating the rows of the expanded and packed ends of the tubes, together with proper designing of the screw gland, a saving of 40% of the area of the brass tube heads may be made, for an equal amount of cooling surface. A saving in the circumference of the shell is also made, and these savings, together with the dispensing with one-half of the screw glands commonly used, amount to a considerable saving in weight and in cost, as well as in space. which latter is usually of most steam vessels. The tube head the old construction, importance in is stiffer than in if made of the same thickness, for the reason that there is less metal cut out between the tubes in the expanded rows.


These condensers are manufactured by D. McLeod Cobb, whose father was the original and sole manufacturer of the Lighthall Surface Condenser up to the time of the expiration of the patents. The present oifice and works is at Huntington and Smith Streets, Brooklyn and the New York office at 38 Burling Slip, New York.

(Engineering News-record, Volume 39, 1898)

South Brooklyn Steam Engine works at Van Brunt and Summit was listed in several directories for 1902.

In 1902 the building was taken over by American Air Compresor works:

The plant of the new company is located at Van Brunt and Summit streets, Brooklyn, N. Y., and was formerly the South Brooklyn Steam Engine Works, where John J. Riley, treasurer of the new company, has been employed and established for the last forty years.

American machinist, Volume 25

The American Air Compressor Works has been formed to manufacture air compressors for all purposes, and furnish compressed air tools and appliances. The offices of the company are in the Havemeyer building, New York, and the works are at Van Brunt and Summit streets, Brooklyn. Mr. William S. Fairhurst is manager of the new company, and Mr. John J. Riley treasurer. Mr. Frederick B. Vail will have charge of the sales department in the New York office.

Stone; an illustrated magazine, Volume

John Riley Iron and Brass foundry was listed at Van Brunt and Summit in 1904.

American Air Compresor was listed at Van Brunt and Summit in 1913 and 1914. And Riley, Co., John J. was at Van Brunt and Summit in 1916.

Death of John J Riley : 1907: the business was take over by his son. J. Joseph Riley.


The Atlantic Basin Iron Works (Shields & Moran) have added to their already large holdings in the Erie Basin section, and squared out their holdings by the purchase of 200 x 100 corner Van Brunt and Summit Streets.

Shipping: a weekly journal of marine trades, Volume 4

The John J. Riley Co., Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn, manufacturer of iron and brass castings, has taken bids and will soon award contract for its new one-story foundry on Columbia Street, 100 x 250 ft. estimated to cost in excess of $150,000, including equipment.

(Iron age, Volume 106)

More on Daniel McLeod, Delphin B Cobb and Delphin McLeod Cobb

Daniel McLeod, was the proprietor of the South Brooklyn Steam-Engine Works, Brooklyn N Y in 1864. D. B. Cobb was also listed under South Brooklyn Steam Engine Works in 1864.

Daniel Mc Leod was born circa 1801 in Ireland. He came to the US at about age 14 with his parents. His father was in the rope and twine business in New York. Daniel McLeod moved to New Haven where he lived until he was 43. He then returned to the New York area. He married Hannah ----. Their daughter, Anna, married Delphin B. Cobb. In the 1850 census in New York Ward 7 he was listed age 49 as a bookbinder born Ireland with his wife "Mrs. H" age 45 and Susan age 25. Listed with them was D. B. Cobb age 28 bookkeeper born New Jersey, and Anna Cobb age 26 plus two servants. Daniel McLeod and family including the Cobbs were listed in the 1870 census in Jersey City. In the 1880 census Delphin, Anne, and Hannah were again listed in Jersey City. In 1870 Daniel McLoed was still listed as a bookbinder but Delphin Cobb was listed as a machinist. Daniel McLeod's obituary in the New York Times on August 10, 1875 states that he was "one of the most prominent and wealthy residents of Jersey City". Hannah McLeod widow died in Jersey City age 78 May 21, 1884.

Delphin B Cobb was born dec 7, 1821, Son of Thomas Cobb and Clara Rosina de Taberie, and died Jan 31, 1890. He is buried in Vail Memorial Cemetery in Parsippany, New Jersey. He married Anne McLeod September 29, 1846. They had: Delphin McLeod (1853), George F, Susan (1862) and Louise.

Delphin McLeod Cobb born 1853 graduated Columbia College 1874.

Delphin Mcl Cobb, Residence 1881, 334 5th Av, Brooklyn, New York Brooklyn, New York, City Directory, 1881

1881, Cobb, D. B. foundry, Van Brunt and Summit h. N. J.

1890, March, Kings County Real Estate,

Cobb, Delphin McL. to William W. Van Voorhis. Van Brunt st, west cor Summit st, runs west 250 x northwest 105 x northeast 150 r northwest 75 to Imlay st, x northeast 100 to Summit st, x southeast 180. All title. Mar. 10. 7,000

Cobb, Catharine C. widow and Delphin McL., Susie A. and Louise D. G. Cobb heirs Delphin B. Cobb to Delphin McL. Cobb and ano. admrs. D. B. Cobb. Same property. Secures admrs. agaiust any individual loss. Mar. 7.

1888-90 Directory

David B. Cobb ironfounder, Van Brunt c Summit 168 Carroll
Delphin B. Cobb, ironfounder, Van Brunt c Summitt 168 Carroll

1891- Josiah Willets shot Delphin M Cobb, the president and chief stockholder of the South Brooklyn boiler works, on February 2, 1891. The company was also listed in the papers as the South Brooklyn Steam Engine Works with offices on Van Brunt Street. Willets was about to shoot Cobb a third time when an employee of the works, Patrick Quinn, wrestled the gun away and hit Willets in the head fracturing his skull. The bullet was extracted from Cobbs leg. There was a bit of to do in the papers suggesting that Mr. Cobb (who was married but not living with his wife) had boarded with Josiah Willetts and his daughter Lillie and had made some advances towards Lillie Willetts who was 18 years old at the time. The case was dismissed in April 1891 because none of the parties would make a complaint. In January 1892 Josiah Willetts collapsed "fatally paralyzed" apparently as a result of the year old fracture which was "pressing on the brain". Patrick Quinn was ordered arrested. Cobb reportedly sold the business and left Brooklyn.

In December 1895 Delphin McLeod Cobb "a wealthy manufacturer of Brooklyn" was granted a divorce from his wife, Phoebe M Cobb in Perry OK. Delphin McLeod Cobb married Phoebe Taylor in 1877 in Jersey City. They had one son, Harold McLeod Cobb, born 1877 died in Mexico in 1954. At the time of his divorce petition Delphin claimed that Phoebe abandoned him in 1882, had been unfaithful for years, had caused a rift between he and his brother and an estrangement between him and his "own parents", and had stolen money from him. A man in charge of the office of the South Brooklyn Engine company said he had not seen Mr. Cobb in four months.

Delphin Cobb moved to LA where he was listed in directories in 1917 and the 1920 census.

Lillie Willetts

Other Connected with the South Brooklyn Steam Engine Works


Jarvis B. Edson died at his home in New York City, January 26, 1911. He was born in Janesville, Wis., April 30, 1845, and obtained his technical education at Cooper Union and at New York University, New York City. He saw active service during the Civil War, and being discharged from the army, July 1863, he connected himself with the South Brooklyn Steam Engine and Boiler Works, where he participated in the construction of several engines for United States war vessels notably the Mendota, Metacomet, Nyack and Nipsic. He later conducted a series of steam engine expansion experiments under the direct supervision of B. F. Isherwood, U. S. N., Hon.Me1h. Am. Soc. M. E., chief of the Bureau of Steam Engineering.

Journal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Volume 33, Issues 1-6 By American Society of Mechanical Engineers and others

John J. Riley (1846- 1907) and his son, J. Joseph Riley (1874-1943)

1897: John J. Riley a former foreman at South Brooklyn Steam Engine works and an active union man took over the shop at Summit and Van Brunt.

1903: John J. Riley of the John J. Riley Company was one of the founding members of the New york and New Jersey Foundrymen's Association. There were over 200 foundries in the city and vicinity.

1907: John J. Riley, owner of the iron and brass foundry at Van Brunt and Summit streets, Brooklyn, N. Y. died at Lakewood on April 1. Mr. Riley was born in New York City 61 years ago and when a boy worked in the foundry, advancing step to step in the management until he became the sole owner -- years ago. He left a widow, two sons and a daughter. (Metal industry, Volume 5, 1907 Brooklyn Standard Union of April 3 1907

RILEY - At Lakewood, N.J., Monday, April 1st, John J. RILEY. Funeral from the residence of his daughter, Mrs. W. M. O'KEEFE, 412 Sackett st., Brooklyn, on Friday, 1 P.M. Kindly omit flowers. (Roots Web)

John J. RILEY, 60 years old, a well-known iron founder, died this morning at Ridgewood(?), N.J., where he had gone...health. Mr. Riley lived at 112 (?) place. He was the owner of (?) foundry at Van Brunt and (?) streets. The funeral arrangement have not yet been completed. (Brooklyn Standard Union)

1920: John J. Riley co, Van Brunt street, Brooklyn manufacturer of iron and brass castings has take bids and will soon contract for a new one story foundry on Columbia Street, 100x250 estimated cost in excess of $150,000 including equipment. (Iron Age vol 106 and others)

1930: Eastern Parkway, rent $150, J Joseph Riley 54, manager iron, Catherine F Riley 40, John J Riley 28, Helen M Riley 23

1940: In 1940 the plant was moved to 220 Bay St to make way for the Hamilton Ave tunnel. (Brooklyn Eagle Janu 13, 1943)

1943: January - J. Joseph Riley died at his home 163 Eastern Parkway. Born circa 1874 he graduated St. Francis College. He was connected to the John J. Co. Iron foundry established by his father at Van Brunt and Summit. In 1940 the plant was moved to Bay street to make way for the Hamilton ave tunnel [Brooklyn Battery tunnel]. He was an enthusiastic wheelman [bicycler]. Survived by his widow, Catherine, a son John J. Jr. a daughter Mrs. Arthur Welch and a sister Mrs. Helen O'Keefe.

John J. Riley Co. was still in business at Bay st in 1961.

Atlantic Basin Iron Works, Summit and Imlay
Francis (Frank) Mulheran, John A Moran, and John Shields 1898 to 1951

Francis Mulheran

1898: years until 1898 when he, together with Frank Mulhearn and John A. Moran, ... Mr. Shields became president of the Atlantic Basin Iron Works

1900: Francis Mulheran of the firm of Mulheran and Shields Atlantic Basin Iron works, Summit and Imlay died August 8, 1900 at his home in Jersey City (or Bayonne). He had suffered an accident 3 weeks before. He was on board the steamship Roraima as it discharged a cargo of sugar at the foot of Coffey street. The ship was to undergo some repairs. He stepped off the ship and then attempted to re-board via a cargo slid. A "draft" of sugar in bags struck him in the chest and hurled him overboard. He was apparently unharmed but developed typhoid pneumonia and failed rapidly.

He was born in Ireland circa 1851 and came to the US as a boy in 1862. He was a well know machinist who had worked at Handren and Robins and then John N Robins Company as a foreman and master mechanic in the Erie Basin for nearly 30 years. About 1899 he went into business for himself with superintendent Sheilds also of the Robins company. They had just rebuild and refitted the Police Department's steamboat Patrol before his death. He was survived by his wife, three sons and a daughter. The police steamer "Patrol" was entirely refitted with new funnels, improved engines, spars and rigging, and a new bridge at the Atlantic Basin Iron Works at Imlay and Summit. The refitting was under the personal supervision of Frank Mulheran, John Shields, and John A Moran. (The Tammany Times, Volumes 16-17, 1900)

John Shields

John Shields was born in Newry, Ireland January 1, 1850

He was educated in Newry and Belfast. He apprenticed as a machinist in Bessbrook, Ireland and then worked for the well known Liverpool shop knnown as "Jacks" Upon his immigration to the USA he was employed at Worthington Pump Works, Brooklyn. He later worked at Handren & Robins - which became John N. Robins Company, where he stayed for 25 years. In 1898 John Shields, Frank "Mulhearn" and John A. Moran formed a partnership called the Atlantic Basin Iron works. It was incorporated in December 1902. He died November 1, 1921. (The Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers)

Marriage: May 26, 1912, John Shields, age 52, president of Atlantic Basin Iron works married Miss Helen Walsh, age 21, a stenographer at the Hotel Bossert and the daughter of John Walsh a retired contractor who lived at 285A Hart street. Mr. Shields had lived for a number of years in the Hotel Touraine. Mr. Shields apparently owned more than one automobile. It was his second marriage.

1921: John Shields age 54, president of the Atlantic Basin Iron Works for 23 years died of pneumonia in Holy Cross Hospital in November 1921. He had suffered a bout of pneumonia the year before while on vacation in California and it had left him in a weakened condition. He was survived by his widow, Helen Walsh Shields and two sons , John Jr. and Joseph. He was born in Newry county Armagh Ireland on Jan 1, 1857 to John and Agnes Chambers Shields. He had a county estate "Daybreak" in Northport, L. I. In the winter he lived in the Vanderbilt Hotel in Manhattan. Funeral at he home of his mother-on-law, Mrs. John Walsh of 94 Midwood st, Faltbush.

John A. Moran (1861-)

Birth: circa 1861 Massachusetts (per census) 1912/1913: John A Moran treasurer of Atlantic Basin Iron Works

Marriage: Laura


  1. Laura

  2. George

  3. John A, Jr.

    1930: Hudson view Terrace, own $40,000,

    John A Moran 35, married at age 23, born New Jersey, father born Massachusetts, father born France, president, ship repairs, Edna Moran 32, Grace Moran 11, Mary Moran 9, John A Moran 5, Edna Moran 5, Joseph Moran 2, Loyoji Ina 46, cook.

    Death - John A Moran, Jr. (- 1932): Vice commodore of the Atlantic Yacht Club of Brooklyn, 8003 Harbor View Terrace, Brooklyn, drown in the Hudson Rive off Newburgh when a squall suddenly struck his yacht, Le Mer and pitched him overboard. He was president of the Atlantic Basin Iron Works 168 Van Brunt. His body was found floating by a man in a rowboat. He was survived by a wife and five children: Grace 13, May 11, ann and John twins 7, and Joseph 4. He had a summer home in Bolton Landing, Lake George.

  4. Adele

  5. Bernard

1910 Census: Brooklyn Ward 6, 9 Second Place: John A Moran 49, born Mass. parents born Ireland, engineer ship yard, Laura R Moran 47, born New Jersey, Laura C Moran 20, born New Jersey, George Moran 18, born New Jersey, John A Moran 16, born New Jersey, Adele Moran 15, born New Jersey, Bernard Moran 4 born N Y.

Death of John a Moran Senior:

1930: Death of Laura Moran, Mrs. J. A. Moran, widow of merchant,age 64, 938 Park Ave, Manhattan, born in Brooklyn, Survived by three sons, John, George and Bernard, and tow daughters Mrs. Leopold Croes and Mrs. Frank Laflin. St Ignatius Loyola, Manhattan.

Joseph F. Moran (1878-1929)

Birth: October 17, 1878

Marriage: Mary E Stockhamer

1908: Joseph F. Moran of the Atlantic Basin Iron works was on vacation at the Hotel Carollton, Point Pleasant, N. J.

1913: April 6th, Joseph F. Moran was president of ABIW when his car driven by his chauffer, Irving Hoffman, age 20, hit and killed Miss Mae Duryea, a 16 year old high school girl from Princeton. The daughter of Christopher Duryea and his wife. Hoffman tried to avoid her as she walked along the side of the road with a friend. A lamp struck her and fractured her skull. According to eye witnesses Hoffman mad no attempt to stop the car which dragged the body before it fell off. Witnesses took the licence number and phone calls wer made to alert the police in other towns. A New Brunswick police man was waiting in his car when when they came by. The policeman signaled them to stop but her kept going and he gave chase managing to head them off. It was a hit and run. Hoffman and Moran sped off and were captured 18 to 20 miles from the scene of the accident.They were both arrested. They were brought back to Princeton where Hoffman was jailed in Trenton on homicide charges and Moran was released on $1,000 bail as a material witness. Hoffman's licence was revoked.

In April 1913, a coroner's jury held an inquest and found both men guilty of negligence in the death. They were found guilty of going an an "unlawful" speed and not returning to the scene of the accident. Testimony said the car was going about 40 miles a hour when the accident occurred and sped up to about 50 afterwords. The jury also decided they believed witness testimony that a woman was in the car with the two men. They both denied it. Both were out on bail. Moran at $1,000, Hoffman at $10,000. July 16, 1913: The jury was still out but the general consensus was that Hoffman and Moran would not be convicted of manslaughter. Proof was offered that they were sober at the time. Hovman testified that the gril stepped out in the road and that he was only doing 20 to 25 miles an hour. A woman was in the car. She had gotten in in Red Bank and got out in New Brunswick. Mae Duryea's companion testified that they were both off the road.

Moran did not take the stand. Hoffman and Moran were found not guilty on July 16, 1913.

1915: "Joseph F. Moran" was vice president of Atlantic Basin Iron Works in 1915.

1915: Brooklyn, Montague street, Moran, Joseph F 33, Iron Mfg, Mary E wife age 35

1916: Mary E Moran wife of Joseph F. Moran vice president of the Atlantic Basin Iron Works died after a long illness. They lived in River Edge, Point Pleasant, N. J. and part of the year in the hotel Bosset in Brooklyn. Mary Moran was born in New York the daughter of Nicholas and Elizabeth Stockhamer.

Remarriage of Joseph F. Moran: Adeline Stillwell

1929: October 21, death of Joseph F. Moran - Joseph F Moran, Birth Year: abt 1878, Age: 51, Death Date: 21 Oct 1929, Death Place: Manhattan, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 25363

Joseph F Moran for 30 years associated with the Atlantic Basin Iron Works former owner of the Jersey City International League Baseball club. died of a heart attack. He was 51. He was survived by his wife Mrs. Adeline Stillwell Moran.

1931: January 20, New York Sun - A suit to recover $250,000 from the estate of Joseph F. Moran was filed before the Supreme Court in Brooklyn on behalf of an alleged illegitimate child. The plaintiff was Mrs. Evelyn Bell of Jackson Heights was suing Mrs. Adeline Stillwell Moran, the widow of Joseph f. Moran, on behalf of a 14 year old child named Peggy who she claimed is Joseph F. Morans's daughter. It was stated that Peggy was born in Chattanooga November 23, 1916 and her birth was registered under the name Peggy Smith. Mrs. bell asserted that Mr. Moran promised to leave $250,000 to Peggy in his will. Which he failed to do.

Mrs. Boell, alias Bell, an ex-follies beauty pleaded guilty to perjury in September 1931 in reference to her claim that Joseph F. Moran was the father of a child by her.

M Moran

1866: May 28, In a list of liquor license applications:

"M Moran, cor. Imlay and summit. Place reported the resort of rough characters. Was arrested for dog fighting once ,but was acquitted. Promised to expel the roughs and had his licence granted." (BE)

More on Atlantic Basin Iron Works

1900: June 1900 Electric lights were being installed on all Sloman steamships. The Atlantic Basin Iron works had already installed lights on the Catania and was to install them on the Venetia when she arrived in.

1900: June, the heavily armed cutter Gresham was being overhauled on the North Pier Atlantic Basin by the firm of Shields and Mulhearn.

1901: January, The Army transport, Wright, was repaired by the Atlantic Basin Iron Works at the North Pier Atlantic docks. She was due to sail for Manila on January 19.

1902: November Articles of incorporation to make and sell machinery, boilers, engines, etc. to build and repair steam and sailing vessels. Capital stock $200,000. Directors: Joseph F. Moran, John A. Moran of Brooklyn andJohn s Shield of Jersey City.

1902: Conveyances - Imlay Street s. e.s 100 ft s. w. Summit st 150x75 h&l John shields, Jersey City, N. J., Joseph F. and John Moran to Atlantic Basin Iron Works November 13

1902: Coal shortage - ABIW had about a ten day supply of soft coal according to John Moran. 1903: The Fabre line steamship Gallia was repaired by the ABIW after her crank shaft broke on the inward bound journey with 400 Italians aboard. She was first towed to Halifax and then to Brooklyn. She sailed again and was well beyond Sandy Hook when she broke down again and she was towed back to Brooklyn with 500 Italians on board. The ship arrived in port via the Buttermilk channel. 1904: WANTED - SECOND HAND 5 H. P. Gasoline engine, must be in good order and cheap. Atlantic Basin Iron Works, Imlay and summit sts.

1907: Shields and Moran of the Atlantic Basin Iron Works, Summit and Imlay, built the largest steam hammer "this side of Bethlehem, Pa." It weighed over fifteen tons. and the total weight with the frame was about 85 tons. It was used for heavy forging such as shafts and stern frames. It was designed and build at Imlay streets although the castings were done by Riley elsewhere in Brooklyn. A special foundation of piles and concrete was constructed to withstand the vibrations created by the hammer. A big furnace and two cranes were set up alongside.

Before 1907 heavy pieces such as stern and rudder frames were sent to Bethlehem or bridgeport for welding. The erection of them machine cost $10,000. The whole machine was built in the 12th Ward. It promised a big savings for ship owners and underwriters.

1913: Blue Book of America shipping Vol 17, Moram, Joseph F., engineers and boiler makers Imlay and summit, Brooklyn


The tank steamship Mohawk exploded off Tompkinsville. Four men were trapped in the boat died when it sank. Jack Donohue, of 276 Van Brunt, a machinist's helper, and Edward Donovan, 481 Henry street, steamfitter, employees of the Atlantic Basin Iron Works were on the boat when it exploded and were "known to be missing." Another missing person, name unknown, was also an employee of ABIW.

Percy Payne, age 36, of 345 woodland, ave, Woodhaven, a mechanic employed by ABIW was also working on the Mohawk when it exploded. He rescued Gustave "Elmgren", a pipe fitter who had been injured and was lying in a dazed condition on the engine room floor. The explosion was sudden lifting Payne about 8 feet in the air. Everything was black. He groped his way through the smoke and debris until he found a ladder and climbed on deck. There he found others nursing their wounds. Some had cuts, some had their hair all burned off. Retuning to the engine room after the smoke had cleared he found Gustave "Elmgreen" who was injured. Water had begun to enter the boat. Payne grabbed Elmgren and carried him to the deck. They were taken aboard a cutter. Shortly thereafter there was another burst of smoke and flame coming from below. All the men who were killed or badly injured seemed to have been in the fireroom. It could have been worse. Half a dozen boilermakers and plumbers had just left the fireroom moments before. Commuter passengers on the Staren Island ferry "heard a deafening roar and then the bodies of men and wreckage were shot into the air. The dense smoke drew pleasure boats. These boats were able to rescue many men before fifteen fireboats arrived to pour water on the Mohawk. The explosion was believed to have been caused by a carelessly thrown match. The Mohawk a 400 foot ship, valued at $250,000, was built at Kiel in 1913. She arrived in New York harbor from Tampico, Mexico carrying 30,000 barrels of oil. She discharged her cargo at Standard Oil works in Bayonne. She proceeded in ballast to Tompkinsville where a "gang" of iron workers were making some repairs to her oil burning apparatus so she could sail on June 28th. (The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, New York) i Saturday, June 28, 1913 - Page 14)

1914: Pipe mender wanted.

1915: Carl A Norman of 360 61st street, was awarded $6,000 by the Brooklyn Supreme Court. Norman was a laborer at the Atlantic Basin Iron Works on Imlay street when his leg was broken "through failure of his employer to furnish him with reasonable sale implements with which he and his fellow workmen were required to do their work."

1915: Directory of Directors in New York City: MORAN, JOHN A. Imlay and Summit, Atlantic Basin Iron Works, Treas. Manager and Dir. MORAN JOSEPH F., Imlay and Summit, Atlantic Basin Iron Works, Vic Pres. Sec'y and Dir

1915: Facing a possible strike the superintendent of the Atlantic Basin Iron Works claimed their workers were paid more than the union wage. They had a 8 hour outside day and a 9 hour inside day. (whatever that means). They operated on an open shop basis.

1917 July about 350 boilermakers and machinists of the Atlantic Basin Iron Works went out on strike. About 4,000 workers were striking for a minimum wage of $4.50 a day.

1918: Pvt. Bernard C Seemann, age 27, of the Co. G. 111 Inf. was wounded in the leg July 16 in the battle of the Marne. By October he had recovered. He had been a time keeper at Atlantic Basin Iron works.

1918: J. J. Briggs working on a Dutch vessel at the Atlantic Basin Iron Works in Brooklyn drove 7,864 seven-eights rivets into place in seven and a half hour. (Greenville News (Greenville, North Carolina) i Thursday, May 30, 1918 - Page 2)

1918: October, John Shields was in Portland, Oregon on business the local paper dated that the Atlantic Basin Iron works repaired the interned German ships in New York harbor after they had been damaged by their crews under the declaration of war. (The Oregon Daily Journal (Portland, Oregon) i Wednesday, October 30, 1918 - Page 10)

1918: November, A proposal was file for a concrete shop 210 feet by 67 feet to cost $30,000 by the Atlantic Basin Iron Works, at the northeast corner of Imlay and Browne.


Atlantic Basin Iron Works was affected by a strike in October 1919.

1919: December Atlantic Basin Iron Woks was advertising for pattern makers and carpenters and joiners

1919: Atlantic Basin Iron Works Summit Ave Brooklyn planned to build a one story addition to be used as a forge shop at its plant at Imlay and Browne streets. Estimated cost $45,000. (Iron Age, Volume 103, Part 1)

1920: In the 19020s Brooklyn was a leader in steamship repair. The Atlantic Basin Iron Works was listed among the most revered "carrying on a extensive business as engineers, boiler makers and manufacturers."

ATLANTIC BASIN IRON WORKS WITH the rapid development of overseas traffic to and from the port of New York there has come a stimulation of marine activities in every branch of business relating to the building, repair and equipment of steamships. In Brooklyn, especially, there are located many works and plants which have established for themselves the highest reputation for the quality of their workmanship and their extensive facilities, enabling them to respond promptly to the increasing demands for their services.

Among enterprises of this kind, one which has long been famed for the quality of its work is the Atlantic Basin Iron Works, which, with a most complete plant fully equipped for all the diversified activities appropriate to modern marine requirements, carry on an extensive business as engineers, boiler makers and manufacturers.

The work of this company is conducted upon modern methods and the plant has every machine and appliance which can in any way improve or expedite the work. All the work is done under the most expert supervision, and in the line of engine building and repairing the plant, with its workmen of exceptional ability, and the skillful supervision of expert engineers, is prepared to meet demands for the repair of marine engines of every make and style. Careful estimates are made and contracts executed for the complete steam equipment of steamships of all kinds, adapted to every kind of fuel.

The plant is also noted for the exceptional work done in the building and repair of boilers of all types. The company's own make of boilers has established a reputation for exceptional efficiency, and many of the vessels using the port of New York owe to the Atlantic Basin Iron Works the success they have attained by their excellent engine and boiler equipment.

The company has facilities for prompt service in the supplying of heavy forgings for all purposes, made and finished in the best and most durable workmanship; iron and brass castings of any size or pattern required; and copper specialties of every kind in any needed quantity. In each of these departments mechanics of special skill are employed, with every facility for efficient and rapid work. The work is carried on under the most expert supervision, and its uniform excellence is thus maintained.

Among the marine developments of our time none is of more vital interest than the constantly increasing adaptation of the Diesel motor to marine use. For vessels to which it can be readily adapted it presents superior attractions in economy and speed, and new adaptations of the Diesel idea are constantly being made to vessels of varied types and tonnages. One of the special branches of the work carried on by the Atlantic Basin Iron Works is the making of repairs to Diesel motors, in the best and most expeditious manner.

Another special branch of work for which the Atlantic Basin Iron Works has gained special prominence is that of the building and proper installation of cold storage plants such as now form an important feature of the equipment of all liners and of many independent steamships. There are few features of vessel equipment which yield a greater proportionate return in comfort and economy than a well-equipped refrigerating plant, which, once installed, is of very little operating expense compared to the service it performs.

At the time when the World War began the question of the comparative merit of oil and coal as fuel under boilers was still in the realm of controversy. But during the course of the war, when tonnage was scarce and coal mounted to unprecedented prices, and even then was hard to procure, the use of oil fuel increased by leaps and bounds. The much decreased space used for bunkers on vessels using oil fuel, releasing increased stowage capacity or passenger accommodations, the reduction of stoking force in the boiler room, the increased cleanliness and absence of ashes, the more even generation of steam and reduction of time needed for bunkering, led shipowners in large numbers to decide on transforming their vessels from coal-burning to oil-burning. The Atlantic Basin Iron Works has made a specialty of this work and is unsurpassed in ability in oil-fuel equipment and installation.

The company are agents for the "Kinghorn" multiplex valve, and they also do carpenter, joiner and electrical work.

America's Maritime Progress By George Weiss

1920: Atlantic Basin Iron works was advertising for coppersmiths "for marine work steady highest prices".

1922: The Atlantic Basin Iron Works was advertising for pipe fitters.

1929: BROOKLYN, N. Y. - Atlantic Basin Iron Works, 168 Van Brunt street, has plans for the construction of a 2 -story shop building to be erected at Imlay and Summitt streets. G. L. Slaight, 343 Columbia street, is architect. (The Iron Trade Review, Volume 85)

1941: On September 25, 1941, the Atlantic Basin Iron Works conveyed to The City of New York the permanent easement for tunnel purposes. (Major Reports of the City Planning Commission)

1943: The Atlantic Basin Iron Works was still active.

1951: Atlantic Basin Iron Works was out of business in 1951 and the company was up for sale.

Valentine and Butler Safes

Valentine and Butler safe makers were in business from at least the early 1850s

They advertised fire proof and burglar proof safes with "patented alum" and patented rotary locks "that cannot be picked" in 1862.

1870: April - Wanted ten good burglar proof safe makers at the corner of Imlay and Summit streets, Brooklyn, Valentine & butler safe and lock company.

1870: August, Safe Makers Wanted by Valentine & butler, Safe and Lock Company corner Imlay and Summit, South Brooklyn

1874: 26, August "While Calvin Peper, a workman was experimenting with steel at Valentine & Butler's safe and lock factory, corner Imlay and Summit streets, he as stricken wit paralysis. He was removed to the Long Island College Hospital in an unconscious condition (BE)

1877: Valentine and Butler Safe who had their offices at broadway and Reade street failed and filed for bankruptcy. W. H. Butler was president at the time. "The company with a large factory in Brooklyn with a capacity of 400 men, with the expensive machinery was too heavy for the company to carry" (New York Times 8 May 1877)

"The great fire in New York of 1835 gave rise to several new inventions for increasing the fire-proof quality of safes. That patented by Mr. B. G. Wilder of New York obtained the precedence, and the safes made on this plan are still in extensive use in this country and in Europe. They consist of a double box of wrought iron plates strengthened at the edges with bar iron, and in the larger sizes witii a bar across the centre. The space between the outer and inner plates is filled in with the patented composition of plaster of Paris and mica. The use of asbestus with plaster of Paris has also been patented. The lattor answers a very good purpose used alone, and other good incombustible nonconductors also employed for filling are clay, hydraulic cement, and a mixture of alum, fire clay, and carbonate of lime or chalk. The latter is the preparation employed in tho safes of Valentine and Butler, made in Now York.

The New American Encyclopaedia: A Popular Dictionary of General ..., Volume 14, 1872

1897: William Henry Butler, 324 Union Street, age 72, died in March 1897. He was born in New York May 20, 1825but grew up in Sterling conn. He returned to New York at age 19. He married Dorcas Catherine Brown, daughter of Ambrus Brown. He became a member of the safe and lock manufacturing company of Holmes, Valentine & Butler. The firm later became Valentim& Butler and finally Butler Safe and Lock company. He moved to Brooklyn in 1870. "He was in the Crystal palace on October 5 , 1858 when a fire occurred in the building, and succeeded in making his escape by dropping from on of the windows" 9Brooklyn Eagle) His death was precipitated by a simple accident. On March 3 his foot caught in a "car track frog" and he badly wrenched his ankle. The next day erysipelas* set in resulting in his death.

He was survived by one son and two daughters. Buried Greenwood.

*an acute, sometimes recurrent disease caused by a bacterial infection. It is characterized by large, raised red patches on the skin, esp. that of the face and legs, with fever and severe general illness.

Antique Office Safes

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