H. Newton Whittlesey

Talks With Our Naval Architects: H. Newton Whittelsey

H. Newton Whittelsey received his education in this country at the University of Minnesota, and then went abroad in 1897 for a post graduate course in Naval Architecture at the University of Glasgow. After returning to this country he was employed as steel worker at the plant at the Bath Iron Works, at Bath, Maine, and then went with the Gas Engine and Power Company and Charles L. Seabury, Consolidated, of Morris Heights, New York City, where he worked for two years under Mr. Seabury and had charge of the drawings upon one torpedo boat and one destroyer for the Government. At the plant of the Maryland Steel Company, at Sparrows Point, Maryland, he later had charge of the drawings for the torpedo boat destroyers Truxton, Whipple and Worden.

After spending two years with the New York Shipbuilding Company, of Camden, N.J., Mr. Whittelsey was employed by a yacht building plant on Staten Island where he designed and took out a patent upon the hull construction of the well known 60-foot motor boat Standard, and then went with the Williams-Whittelsey Company, of Long Island City, where he designed a number of boats.

The work that has particularly characterized Mr. Whittelsey and which is especially distinctive, is the bringing out and developing of the modern type of large raised deck cruiser. The first of this type to be built was Raguda, and which belonged to the fleet of the Brooklyn Yacht Club. To Mr. Whittelsey belongs the credit of first designing a practical type of raised deck cruiser of large size, and the Dolph, 57 feet in length, closely followed the building of Raguda.

Mr. Whittelsey is a great believer in the heavy, solid cruiser of good freeboard equipped with a medium power, long stroke engine of a heavy type. He has endeavored to design hulls for the best possible speed in rough water and maintains that the U section forward form of hull is best. A noticeable feature of his designs is the strong flare, deep middle body with a large deadrise and a medium fine afterbody for the sea-going type.

"The keel," says Mr. Whittelsey, in discussing constructional detail, "should be designed so that the deadwood extends well aft in order that there may be a straight docking line upon which to haul out. An especially deep midship section is desirable and very important so that maximum strength may be obtained and particular care should be given in the design to obviate any quick breaks in the main shear.

Mr. Whittelsey is a strong believer in water-tight and stiffening bulkheads and uses from three to four such in all his later boats. He also believes in extra heavy interior longitudinals. A feature of his construction has been the installation of the engine which is landed on heavy side keelsons running two-thirds the length of the boat. By the use of this method in connection with solid interior construction, he has succeeded in substantially stopping all material vibration. For boats required to do service in heavy water, he believes in ballast and all his raised deck cruisers have been so fitted either inside or out.

Mr. Whittelsey has given his chief attention in later years to the production of cruisers of the largest type. "Long distance cruising races," said he, "while perhaps not attracting a large number of individual entries, have proved of inestimable value in bettering hull construction. I am a firm believer in heavy construction and long distance races have shown to the public the advantages of heavy and solid hulls for all kinds of service. It is the same principle that has been brought out in automobile construction. Everyone does not want a 90 horsepower racing car, but the building of such cars has had a material effect upon the manufacture of strong and substantial machines for general users. In the same way the seaworthy ability of the deep sea cruiser is copied and followed out to a considerable extent, and this is known to have had a good influence upon the general design of craft of all kinds.

(Transcribed from MotorBoating, June 1910, p. 16.)

[Thanks to Greg Calkins for help in preparing this page --LF]