Page images
PDF
EPUB

It appearing that some action would have to be taken by the Government to nave the matter of grade crossing definitely settled, the United States district attorney was requested, under date of May 14, 1908, to give his opinion regarding the jurisdiction of the United States over the land comprising that part f Fort Hill street running through property of the United States. A favorable opinion was not obtained until June 22." The bureau then referred the matter to the department for further reference to the Department of Justice for confirmation and decision regarding points of law.

All construction work is necessarily held in abeyance pending a decision as to grade crossing, and it is of much importance that this question be settled without delay.

The work of preparing plans for buildings is going forward, and under date of July 29 1908, there was submitted for the bureau's approval plans of power house, storehouse, magazine, and a plan covering both a fixed ammunition house and shell house. The intention is to construct all the principal buildings of reenforced monolithic concrete. The stone, gravel, and sand for all buildings will be supplied from the reservation itself. All buildings will be constructed as nearly alike as possible, thus allowing the same forms being used in all construction.

Up to August 1, 1908, $154,433.14 had been paid for the 681 acres acquired to that date. This acreage is 75 per cent of the total 905 acres and is all on the Hingham side, leaving 9 parcels, totaling about 25 acres, with a total appraised value of $3,805, on the Hingham side of the river, and all (about 198 acres) on the Weymouth side yet to be acquired. The property on the Hingham side was appraised at a value of, approximately, $125,000, and on the Weymouth side at, approximately, $20,000, a total of $145,000. Hence it will be seen that court awards in contested cases and increases allowed over appraised values to aviod litigation have already brought the cost for the Hingham property alone to an amount considerably in excess of the total appraised value.

The bureau has included in its annual estimates for the fiscal year 1910 an item of $100,000 (balance of the $500,000 authorized by Congress for this purpose), and the appropriation of this amount will be necessary in order to carry on the work of construction another year.

The CHAIRMAN. The next is “Naval magazine, Saint Juliens Creek, Virginia."

Admiral Mason. Yes, sir.
Mr. HOBSON. Where is St. Juliens Creek?
Admiral Mason. It is just above Norfolk.

The CHAIRMAN. “Gravity blending house for smokeless powder, five thousand dollars."

Admiral Mason. It is necessary sometimes to reblend smokeless powder-that is, to take two or three powders that give slightly different ballistic results and blend them together in certain proportions. The gravity blending house is a place used for such work.

The CHAIRMAN. “Fencing recently acquired lands (about seven hundred and fifty feet of new fencing and moving two thousand two hundred feet old fencing), four thousand four hundred and fifty dollars."

Admiral Mason. The old fence is a galvanized corrugated iron fence with jron posts set in concrete foundations. It was put there as a protection against fire on account of the brush and grass outside. This appropriation contemplates moving a part of this present fence and adding to it. The fence is a little expensive, but it is very effective. It is about the only fence that will stop fire that I know of.

The CHAIRMAN. “Electrical apparatus for lighting magazine grounds, barracks, quarters, and offices; motor for running re-forming plant; and a small lathe, eight thousand dollars."

Admiral Mason. This magazine has never had any lighting system except ordinary kerosene-oil lamps at necessary points. That is rather a hard way of lighting a magazine. There is power enough now at the Norfolk yard. We have a working agreement with the trolley company to use their poles for two-thirds of the way. We have a little power house at the magazine station, and we want an appropriation of $8,000 to purchase the necessary wire and the additional poles and two or three small motors to light this magazine station and furnish the necessary power to run the re-forming plant and one or two small lathes. It is a very cheap estimate for the work that is to be performed.

The CHAIRMAN. Does that finish that? Admiral Mason. Yes, sir; I think that is all, from my standpoint. Then it comes to the “Increase of the navy, armor and armament." That is on page 173.

The CHAIRMAN. "Armor and armament. Toward the armor and armament of domestic manufacture for vessels authorized : Provided, That writers, draftsmen, and other technical employees whose employment is authorized by the act approved March third, eighteen hundred and eighty-seven, shall be paid on a per annum or per diem basis, as the secretary may elect, and allowed leave with pay in accordance with the provisions of section seven of the act approved March fifteenth, eighteen hundred and ninety-eight, five million dollars."

Admiral Mason. That was put in by the department. All of our “Increase of the navy, armor and armament" clerks go to the other appropriation.

The CHAIRMAN. It would not be necessary to put that in under here?

Admiral Mason. No, sir.

This is a tentative estimate for continuing work during the fiscal year 1910 on the ordnance outfits of vessels heretofore authorized. In case no additional vessels are authorized by the next Congress there will be but a very small amount of work under this appropriation remaining unfinished at the close of the fiscal year 1910, now estimated for. If the next Congress authorizes additional vessels, a substantial increase in this estimate will be required, as it will be desirable and necessary to at once take up the manufacture of their ordnance outfits.

Mr. PADGETT. If you will turn to page 13 of the bill, you will find this language:

And that all such employees shall be allowed leave with pay in accordance with the provisions of section seven of the act approved March fifteenth, eighteen hundred and ninety-eight.

Admiral Rogers explained that to be to give them thirty days' leave of absence in lieu of fifteen days that is now allowed to per diem employees. They only get fifteen days, and it was to put them on the basis of thirty days, the same as civil establishment per annum employees, so as to remove the friction between the two..

Admiral Mason. Yes; and unless there is a certain amount of care taken with that you will have every laborer wanting thirty days leave.

Mr. PADGETT. Admiral Rogers was to prepare a statement to come to the committee with the view of safeguarding against laborers, so as to call them clerks.

Admiral Mason. Wipe out the term “special laborer.” Call them clerks, pure and simple, or per diem clerks. We have gotten out of it by calling our people ordnance experts and electrical experts and first, second, and third class draftsmen.

you that.

The CHAIRMAX. Does this five millions for armor and armament complete the ships now authorized!

Admiral MASON. In case no additional vessels are authorized there will be but a very small amount of work under this appropriation remaining unfinished at the close of the fiscal year 1910 now estimated for. In case Congress authorizes more vessels this year this appropriation will have to be added to. Do you want that in my hearing?

Mr. Hobson. Give us how much per battle ship? Admiral Mason. If two more Utahs or Floridas, or only one more Utah and one more Florida, are appropriated for, the estimated cost would be

Mr. Hobson. The amount you ask for?

Admiral MASON What I would ask for for the coming year would be $1,300,000 for armor and $1,350,000 for armament, making $2,650,000 for one more Utah.

The CHAIRMAN. For each vessel ?

Admiral Mason. Yes, sir. For one more destroyer it would be $85,000, for one more submarine $25,000, under Armor and Armament. That, I think, had better go into the appropriation.

The CHAIRMAN. On the theory that we use the same plans?

Admiral Mason. Of the Utah and Florida. Then I have something still further. In case you are going on to a big battle ship, I can give

The CHAIRMAN. How long will it take to make that statement?

Admiral Mason. Only a minute. This is only approximate, of course. For armor it would be $2,250,000.

The CHAIRMAN. That is the first year?

Admiral Mason. No, sir; the total for armor $2,250,000, and for armament $2,000,000, of which the total of $3,000,000 would be necessary the first

year. Is that plain enough? Mr. Hobson. Yes. You intend to put it on the department's plans, but I would put the question to you: What would be the estimate in case of a larger battle ship of 25,000 or 26,000 tons?

Admiral Mason. The estimate given in answer to the last question would be approximately correct.

The CHAIRMAN. Here is the situation as to armor. You have contracted for all the armor that is necessary for the ships now author-, ized ?

Admiral MASON. For the last two; for the Utah and the Florida. The CHAIRMAN. What did you pay for that armor?

Admiral MASON. Four hundred and twenty dollars a ton for the face-hardened Class A armor, which was the bulk of the amount.

The CHAIRMAN. Have you made any new contracts this last year for armor?

Admiral Mason. We are just making them now. We have not signed them yet for the Utah and the Florida.

The CHAIRMAN. I wish you would put that new contract in your hearing, and also what the bids were of the different companies.

Admiral Mason. Yes, sir. As a matter of fact, they all bid alike on the heavy Class A armor, and then they bid differently on the smaller amounts of little armor, the thin armor, which was not very hard to make, and on the other kinds, tubes and conning towers and things harder to make, they went up a little higher, some as high as

$450. In making the award we preserved the competition almost throughout, so that we did not put ourselves in the position this time of stating the price, although we set the price of $420 last year by making the highest bidder come down to $420.

The CHAIRMAN. Did you give some of the contracts to all three of the concerns ?

Admiral MASON. Yes, sir; it was practically divided between the Carnegie, the Midvale, and the Bethlehem companies; and it was divided almost equally. At the same time the competition was obtained within a thousand dollars, anyway, in the whole contract.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you regard that as a fair and reasonable price?

Admiral Mason. Yes, considering that the companies are working, two of them, at less than half their output-their possible output. They have to expend the same amount for oversuperintendance and for their experimental plant for this contract on armor as they would have to for three or four ships.

Statement showing bids and awards for armor for the Utah and Florida, made November,

1908.

[The three bidders, the Bethlehem Steel Company, the Carnegie Steel Company, and the Midvale Steel

Company, all bid for the total amount of armor required.)

BETHLEHEM BID.

[blocks in formation]

For the class A armor, which amounts to 90 per cent of the total amount, the bide are identical. For class B armor, Midvale is the lowest bidder. For class C armor, Carnegie, and for class D, Bethlehem.

In the grouping of armor it is necessary to take into account the order in which the armor will be required by the shipbuilders, and in assigning groups to competing bidders there should be an equitable division, taking into consideration varying difficulties of manufacture and amount of machine work required. It is also necessary that structures should be assigned as a whole in order that they may be set up at the contractor's works and inspected for shape, dimensions, and closeness of joints.

Having these requirements in view, and, in addition, the inclusion in the assignment of armor to a company of as large a portion as practicable of the class of armor for which they were the lowest bidder, the following assignment was made:

[blocks in formation]

The assignment of Class “C” armor to others than the lowest bidder was necessitated by a division of the ten turrets of the two ships. The Class “A” armor, composing the walls of the turrets, requires an excessive amount of machining, owing to gun-port and sight-hole openings. The division of Class “D,” armor bolts and nuts, is in accordance with the practice of present contracts, the Midvale Steel Company supplying the bolts and nuts for its portion of the armor plates and the Bethlehem Steel Company the bolts and nuts for armor plates awarded to it, and also for those awarded to the Carnegie Steel Company, the bid of the latter company being $92 in excess of the lowest bid for this class of armor.

[blocks in formation]

It will be observed that this assignment increases the cost to the Government $1,586 over the price that would be paid had it been practicable to assign each class of armor to the lowest bidder.

« PreviousContinue »