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LEON FALK, JR. (US 247576) Collection - GLMS 61

Introduction | Vessel History | Scope and Content | Series Description | Inventory


This one-half cubic foot collection is available for research at Bowling Green State University's Historical Collections of the Great Lakes. Literary and property rights have been dedicated to the public. Photocopying is permitted for conservation and research purposes.

Vessel History

The LEON FALK, JR. (US 247576) was built as the WINTER HILL at Chester, Pennsylvania in 1945 by the Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company. Hull 477 was launched on April 2, 1945 under a United States Maritime Administration contract. The original vessel was classed as a T2-SE-A1 tanker. The original dimensions were a length of 504', width of 68'2" and a depth of 39'2".

As the WINTER HILL, this vessel was owned from 1945-1959 by the United States Maritime Commission. In 1949, Ships, Inc. purchased the vessel and retained it until 1960. The Skar-Ore Steamship Corporation of Cleveland, Ohio became the third and final owner in 1960. The Hanna Mining Company managed this line and changed the name to LEON FALK, JR.

Leon Falk, Jr. was born September 23, 1901 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Falk served in the management of the Federal Metals Corporation and Falk & Company before becoming director of the National Steel Corporation. At this time in 1961 the WINTER HILL was renamed in Falk's honor by the other National Steel Corporation directors.

Significant rebuilding occurred for the FALK in the years 1960-1961. Conversion was made to a dry bulk carrier in Baltimore, Maryland at the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Company. A new midbody was built by Schlieker-Werft at Hamburg, Germany. The new dimensions were 710'6" for length, 75'1' for width and 39'8" for depth.

Significant accidents in the FALK's career occurred on July 25, 1976 and January 16, 1980. In 1976 the FALK struck a lock wall in the St. Lawrence Seaway and suffered $80,000 in damage. A fire started by a welding torch in 1980 led to internal damage.

The FALK's forty year sailing career ended in September 1985 when the vessel arrived in Gijon, Spain for scrapping by Desguaces Heme.

Scope and Content

This one-half cubic foot collection records daily operational information for the LEON FALK, JR. (US 247576) for 1961-1981. Safety Committee minutes record the efforts to decrease crew injuries by improving working procedures for loading and unloading the vessel. Logs provide documentation on the types of accidents occurring on board with damage reports. Loading instructions reflect the prescribed tonnages of a cargo to be loaded through each deck hatch to balance the cargo in the hold. Individual trip records present an engineering diary of activities on the FALK for two decades. Cargoes, destinations, engine performance, bills paid and passenger data appear in descriptions for each of more than twenty voyages the FALK made during most shipping seasons.

Series Description


Box 1, Folder 1
Arranged chronologically
Series contains minutes of the Ship Safety Committee on the LEON FALK, JR. These meetings were held to discuss procedures designed to improve safety during the tasks performed on the boat. Loading and unloading of cargo presented frequent topics of discussion in order to avoid accidents.


Box 1, Folder 2
1974-1980 Arranged alphabetically by log type
Series contains reports maintained to document damage and circumstances surrounding how it was caused for crew and the vessel. Accidents including broken machinery and the settling of the vessel on the harbor bottom at an ore dock due to overloading the cargo holds reflect the types of incidents that damaged vessels and ate into company profits when repairs were needed.

Box 1, Folder 3
Arranged chronologically
Series contains sheets noting tonnage of cargo loaded into each deck hatch for the LEON FALK, JR. Each sheet gives the date of the loading and the port at which it occurred. Many of these sheets were completed at the Chicago and Northwestern dock in Escanaba, Michigan.

Box 1, Folder 4
Arranged chronologically
Series contains untitled log sheets related to loading the cargo holds of the LEON FALK, JR. Hold numbers and tonnages loaded are recorded.

Box 1, Folder 5
Arranged chronologically
Series contains a listing of lightbulb types purchased for use on the LEON FALK, JR.

Box 1, Folders 6-7
Arranged chronologically
Series contains notebook logs recording engineering information regarding vessel performance on each of the LEON FALK, JR.'s scheduled trips during the shipping season. Fuel consumption, cargoes, ports of call, loading data, and commentaries on activities are included.

Box 1, Folders 8-9
Arranged chronologically
Series contains individual sheets for recording data to be kept as a trip log. These sheets record the vessel and master names, trip numbers and dates, lists of bills for the trip, cargoes, and destinations, and passenger information.


Box 1, Folders 10-11
1964, n.d.
Arranged alphabetically by title
Series contains two printed publications. Item 1 is entitled Brief and Submission on Behalf of The Shipping Federation of Canada, Inc. to the Royal Commission on Pilotage in Connection with Pilotage on the Great Lakes. This item was produced as a result of hearings on Great Lakes pilotage rules held at Toronto, Ontario form April 6-24, 1964. Item 2 is the Loading Manual for the LEON FALK, JR. This volume presents the tables and diagrams to assist in the proper loading of the holds of the FALK.


Box 1


  1. Minutes, Ship Safety Committee, 1975-1979
  2. Damage Report Logs, 1974-1980
  3. Miscellaneous Logs, 1977-1978
  4. Order Book for Lightbulbs Log, 1977-1978
  5. Trip Logs, 1961-1967, 1972-1973
  6. Trip Logs, 1974-1975, 1977-1981
  7. Trip Sheets, 1978
  8. Trip Sheets, 1979
  9. Printed material: Brief and Submission on Behalf of The Shipping Federation of Canada, Inc. to The Royal Commission on Pilotage in Connection with Pilotage on the Great Lakes, 1964
  10. Printed material: Loading Manual, n.d.

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