W and A Fletcher and Co

14th January 2009, 05:11
Discussion thread for W and A Fletcher and Co (http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/guides/W and A Fletcher and Co). If you would like to add a comment, click the New Reply button

Norman Brouwer
17th January 2009, 18:49
I began the Directory entry for this company.

There is much more information where that came from. I have the numerical list of engines, which I have been expanding over the last 20+ years to include histories and technical data, both for the engines and the boats they went into. I also have postcards or photos of many of the boats.

I had been hearing of Fletcher from the time I first joined the Steamship Historical Society of America in 1963. My direct involvement with their Hoboken yard began around 1980 when I was serving as historian/curator of the restoration of the sailing ship WAVERTREE. We had her in the yard for drydocking, and later to have 90 feet of her main deck structure restored that had been removed when she was a sand barge in Argentina.

Shortly after she left the yard I received a call from the chief estimator I had worked with there. He said the yard was going to be sold, and there was a locked vault under one building containing around 50 drawers of "drawings of parts of engines." This turned out to be the plan collection from the Fletcher period. I organized some volunteers and transported the 20,000 sheets of original drawings to the South Street Seaport Museum in Manhattan. The drawings were dated and identified by engine number. I listed the contents of each drawer (one contained 300 sheets) and later had volunteers do a cross index by vessel. Further Fletcher material turned up at the Museum of the City of New York, the Hagley Library near Wilmington, Delaware, and the Mariners Museum in Newport News, Virginia.

The Museum of the City of New York had been contacted years earlier. They had decided to keep the things on the walls of the yard offices; portraits of steamboats by James Bard, half models of a number of boats, and some framed photos of Denny turbine steamers. They decided not to take on business papers or plans. They notified Hagley and Mariners. Both places took cartons of business papers, including files of photos, about 10-12 cartons each. Another dozen cartons of papers were left in the vault and are now at South Street. Hagley also took about six drawers of plans. I later had these transferred to South Street to reunite the collection. Hagley and Mariners retain their other archival materials.

2nd January 2013, 20:22
I collect steam gauges and have recently acquired a "North River Iron Works" gauge from the W. & A. Fletcher Co. From my gauge research, I have determined that the gauge was made in 1869. I have been researching the Fletcher engined ships and would very much appreciate your posting the engine serial number list or sending it to me privately. There is a "56" stamped on the rear case of the gauge, which I feel may be the engine number. From my research thus far, it appears that engine no. 56 would have been installed in 1869. Any assistance you can provide would be much appreciated.