Founded in 1905, the Moore Dry Dock Company of Oakland, California, became famous for its high levels of production during World War II. Its earlier history, however, is also of note: it went through several calamities and name changes before things finally settled down for this ship repairing and manufacturing firm.
The company began life as the Moore & Scott Iron Works and was based in San Francisco. The next year, however, it fell victim to the fires stemming from the Great San Francisco Earthquake. In 1909, the facility was back up and running, and took over the Boole Shipyard over in Oakland. In 1917, Moore bought out Scott’s interest and the company’s name changed to Moore Shipbuilding. Finally, in 1922, the company’s name changed again, and this time, the change was permanent. Since then it has been known as the Moore Dry Dock Company.
In World War I, the company began to make a name for itself. It set a world record by launching six large ships in just 55 minutes. In the Second World War, the company shined as one of the most vital shipyards in the U.S. war effort. Speed was this firm’s ace; it gained a reputation as the shipyard with the ability to both make and repair ships in the least amount of time. This was essential in World War II thanks to the U.S.’s need to launch many seaworthy warships in very short order. Thanks to a massive capital investment by the United States Marine Corps and the U.S. Navy, the shipyard was able to expand its facilities. By the end of the War, it had built over 100 ships for the Merchant Marines and the Navy.
Building ships fast wasn’t the only specialty of Moore Dry Dock. It was also known for being able to fix ships quickly. The combined businesses of building and repairing large vessels allowed it to expand rapidly as well as to make its operations even more efficient.
Many of the ships produced here included asbestos. At the time, it seemed logical to use this naturally-fireproof substance for insulation as well as in anything that needed to be able to withstand high heat. Unfortunately, it was only years later that asbestos was discovered to cause mesothelioma and other diseases. Therefore, anyone who has worked for the Moore Dry Dock Company or any other shipyard may have been exposed to asbestos.