« PreviousContinue »
hospitals, and nobody knows how extensive that may be necessary in many places. Take the Coast Guard Service. We will need to have hospitals to send those men to for treatment; and if any of them should be taken seriously ill we would have to send them to these private hospitals and pay for their care out of the funds which we have for that purpose.
Of course, as I say, we do not know what we may need in that direction, but I think everything is very well planned; I think it has all worked out very nicely, except that we are behind on this construction. It is construction that must be finished before winter, and if it is not finished before that time we are going to have a great deal of sickness from exposure. Everybody is living outdoors now, and things are running nicely, but just as soon as it gets cold and all of these men are concentrated in close quarters we will be where we were last spring, when we had so much trouble with contagious diseases originating, say, in Chicago and spreading to Norfolk and into. the fleet. I think I have told you all the places where we are either building or contemplating building, and you can see it will run something over $3,200,000. I thought you might like to know that we are carrying in the hospitals to-day 4,123 patients; that does not mean the number of sick that we have but it means those in the hospitals. We probably have altogether as hospital patients between 6,000 and 7,000. Of course, we have the Asiatic Fleet, the Atlantic Fleet, and they are all carrying cases, and we think we should have at least hospital accommodations for about 10,000.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 1917.
WASHINGTON, D. C., NAVY YARD-IMPROVEMENTS.
STATEMENTS OF REAR ADMIRAL FREDERIC R. HARRIS, CHIEF, BUREAU OF YARDS AND DOCKS, AND CAPT. A. L. WILLARD, ACTING COMMANDANT AND SUPERINTENDENT OF THE NAVAL GUN FACTORY.
The CHAIRMAN. The next item is "For yard improvements, fiscal year 1918, $5,000,000." This is submitted in connection with the item of $2,500,000 for the naval gun factory?
Capt. WILLARD. Yes; the other $2,500,000 is for the machinery. The CHAIRMAN. Please explain this item.
Capt. WILLARD. This item is to provide an immediate increase in the ordance output. It is becoming increasingly difficult every day to place contracts for ordnance material, guns, mounts, torpedoes, and torpedo tubes. It is also very difficult to place satisfactory contracts for castings and forgings for the fabrication of this material. Within the Washington yard we have an organization that has proved efficient in the manufacture of ordnance material, and the simplest and quickest way to meet the increased demand would appear to be to expand this existing institution.
This estimate includes as pointed out in the letter of transmittal, of July 14-an increase in the machine-shop facilities, the forging
and foundry facilities, increased facilities for the manufacture of mounts and optical instruments, and an increase in the brass and steel foundry equipment, the necessary cranes and yard facilities; powerplant extensions, and storehouse facilities to handle this work. Aside from the urgent military necessity of these things, the Government manufacture of this material has enabled us to get a pretty accurate idea of the total costs of materials, which is an important thing in showing what ought to be paid on contracts for similar articles. Furthermore, a Government-owned plant takes care of the experimental work, which is always extremely expensive if done on the outside. It is very difficult also to get outside people to take hold of experimental propositions.
Practically all ordnance of the Navy is designed at the yard, and a considerable portion of it is manufactured there. Now, as an instance of some of the savings. It is proposed by this extension to practically double the output of the foundry. It is almost impossible at present to get satisfactory contracts on steel, and particularly steel castings. It is very difficult also to get bronze castings. By doubling the present output, we will make an annual saving of, say, a million and a half dollars at the present prices. That is a conservative estimate. In the forge shop we propose to increase the output of heavy forgings about 100 per cent, or to practically double it.
Mr. GILLETT. How do you mean to do that-by putting in new buildings?
Capt. WILLARD. It will be by an extension of the present forge shop, an extension of the building and additions to the equipment. Drop forgings are almost impossible to contract for now at any price. We propose by this extension to increase our output of these about five times. The bronze drop forgings for torpedoes and parts of gun mounts and guns, we expect to increase to about four times our present output. On the basis of our present output that percentage of increase would show a saving based on contract prices and our present manufacturing prices at the gun factory-or, in round numbers, $1,094,000, or, we will say, $1,000,000.
The CHAIRMAN. A year?
Capt. WILLARD. Yes, sir. I mean if we had this running to-day on the basis of what we propose to increase it to. In gun mounts and sights, we would also increase our output very much.
Mr. GILLETT. I do not quite understand how you will do that. Do you mean to say that in each case you will increase the building? How will this money be spent-for the extension of buildings?
Capt. WILLARD. It will be spent for buildings and machinery and equipment. There will be power-plant extensions, a new machine shop, a new brass foundry, and pattern-shop extensions to the steel foundry and forge shops; an extension to two existing buildings by adding a floor to each; for the optical shop and administration building, an experimental tank for mines, a tower for testing optical instruments, which has to be on piles and separated, to make it free from vibration, and which must be of very special construction. All of those various things will go into the extension of the plant. This is a matter of plant extension.
Mr. GILLETT. All of this money goes for plant extension?
Capt. WILLARD. A part into buildings, a part into power-plant extensions, a part into storage facilities, a part to railroad-track extensions, and a part for seamen's quarters for the accommodation of the enlisted force, and so forth. This expenditure is for these extensions which are permanent and which are to be valuable for all time.
Now, as to mounts and sights for the 3, 4, and 5 inch guns: With these extensions we can practically double our output of those three calibers of mounts and sights. Taking a concrete example here of one hundred 4-inch mounts, our total cost-and I mean by that with all the overhead-of those mounts would be $598,300. On the basis of an actual contract that now exists it would be for a similar number of mounts, $1,210,000, making a saving on those mounts of $611,000 alone, if we were in a position to make them. On these three types of mounts, with a double output, it is figured we could save $2,868,000, or, say, $2,000,000. On torpedo tubes, with this increase, we would expect to double the present output. On the basis of the present output and the present contract price for those tubes we would have a saving of $168,000, or double that amount for double the output.
Mr. SHERLEY. By that, do you mean that you are paying extravagant prices for what you are getting?
Capt. WILLARD. I do not mean that they are extravagant prices, but those are the prices we have to pay. I am not prepared to say that those are extravagant prices
Mr. SHERLEY. You do not need to say it, because if your figures are accurate they say it. I say it, if you figures are accurate. Now, that brings me to another question, and that is why, under the power You now have to get material, you pay those prices? That is a matter of policy as to which you may not be able to answer, but if there is the difference that your figures indicate, then the Government has been charged more than it ought to have been charged for this ma
Capt. WILLARD. Of course, there are many things that enter into it. There are profits, insurance, cost of special equipment, fixed charges, and numerous other things that enter into it.
Mr. SHERLEY. That would not make this difference. Some of your figures, as I caught them, showed a difference of from 50 to 100 per
The CHAIRMAN. My recollection is that this plant has always been operated in such a way that the bureau cost has been much less than the contract price even in normal times.
Capt. WILLARD. It has been less, yes, sir, in normal times.
The CHAIRMAN. In normal times has the unit cost of manufacture been less than the contract price?
Capt. WILLARD. Yes, sir; in normal times that has been true.
So that, summing up, if we had this extended plant operating to-day at full time, you can see from these figures that at the present prices-some of which are based on people putting up special plants where they are contracting for ordnance material-there would be a saving of approximately $5,000,000 a year. But let us say that we would save only one-fifth of that. Even that would be sufficient to amortize the plant in seven and one-half years, and it would be a good investment.
The CHAIRMAN. If you had all of this money to-day, $7,500,000, how long would it be before your facilities would be ready to be utilized? How long would it take to erect those buildings and equip them for operation?
Capt. WILLARD. We hope to have them going in a year.
The CHAIRMAN. The whole outfit?
Capt. WILLARD. Yes, sir. We think we could do it in about a year. Admiral HARRIS. None of them is very large, extensive, or difficult buildings. For instance, the machine shop is a six-story building
The CHAIRMAN (interposing). Of steel construction?
Admiral HARRIS. Yes, sir; either steel or reinforced concrete. The CHAIRMAN. You spoke about a plant for optical instruments. Capt. WILLARD. Yes, sir. That is an urgent necessity. At the beginning of the war, or before the war, most optical glasses and material of that kind, of course, came from Germany and this country had gotten to be largely dependent on Germany for optical glasses. It is only recently that we have discovered ways through the Bureau of Standards, or by the Bureau of Standards working in conjunction with the Ordnance Bureau, of manufacturing certain quantities of optical glasses in this country. Now, we believe that we can produce our glasses in this country, and that we can grind the lenses and make the optical instruments and supply all of those demanded by the Army and Navy. The optical industry of the country has been practically swamped, and we are in a very serious condition as to optical instruments, sights, telescopic sights, etc.
The CHAIRMAN. Assuming that you had this plant, would you be able to obtain employees of sufficient skill to operate it?
Capt. WILLARD. Yes, sir. We now have operatives for such machinery as we have. We are grinding lenses and making repairs to optical instruments at the gun factory now. These men would come in more or less slowly, but we would have time while building these buildings to be getting up the organization. Since the war started we have taken on about 1,800 men, and we are building up the organization all the time.
The CHAIRMAN. Those machinists would be in a different category from the men employed in the manufacture of these optical instruments, would they not?
Capt. WILLARD. Yes, sir; but lens grinding, outside of a few experts, is a thing that the ordinary trained man can do if the machine is set for it. It does require a few, or relatively few, very highly skilled lens grinders, with a larger number of men not so highly skilled who can be taught to perform certain operations. Of course, we would have to work along this line and develop them. That is our only object in developing along these lines-that is, to utilize the expert services in teaching men less expert to do things that they can not now do.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you the details of these buildings, Admiral? Admiral HARRIS. They are given in the Secretary's letter here. There is one six-story machine shop.
The CHAIRMAN. What does that cost? Just put in the record a detailed statement of the buildings, showing their character and
Admiral HARRIS. I will do so.
NOTE. The following is a list of the improvements contemplated with the $5,000,000 for public-works features at the Washington Navy Yard:
1. Machine shop ---
Five stories; steel, brick, and concrete, 120 by 50 feet.
2. Pattern and woodworking shop and pattern storage_. Three stories, 170 by 300 feet, reinforced concrete.
3. Dry kiln for lumber.
One story, 40 by 100 feet, brick.
4. Power plant improvements, including distributing mains_
5. General storehouse_.
Five stories, 169 by 350 feet, reinforced concrete.
6. Administration building--
7. Brass foundry.
$1, 000, 000
Five stories, steel and brick, 300 by 110 feet.
Steel and brick, 107 by 300 feet.
8. Extension to steel foundry.
The proposed extension is 200 feet long, of steel and brick.
11. Mine-experiment tank
A steel tank 35 feet in diameter and 102 feet high is proposed.
1,500 linear feet of sea wall, approximately, with necessary fill.
17. Crane runways
18. Crane equipment---.
135, 000 275,000
SUBMARINE BASE, NEW LONDON, CONN.
ACQUISITION OF LAND.
(See p. 325.)
The CHAIRMAN. The next item is
For the acquisition, by purchase or condemnation, of the tract of land, comprising approximately twenty-six and eighty-eight one-hundredths acres, owned by the C. M. Shay Fertilizer Company, in the immediate vicinity of the property now owned and occupied by the United States as a submarine base at New London, Connecticut, including all easements, rights of way, riparian and other rights appurtenant thereto, fiscal year nineteen hundred and eighteen, $90,000. Admiral HARRIS. I think that is explained in the Secretary's letter of transmittal.
The CHAIRMAN. How near is it to the present submarine base?
The CHAIRMAN. Are you sure it adjoins it?
Mr. SMITH. It directly adjoins it on the south.
The CHAIRMAN. What kind of a fertilizer plant is there now?
Mr. SMITH. I have just seen it in going by; it is a three-story brick structure, and they carry on a fertilizer business there.