Most Hulett unloaders, starting with the 15-ton machines at Ashtabula, followed the same basic concept, through each installation, at nearly every different dock or location, was unique. The Hulett/Wellman design evolved over time through four 'generations':
1st generation Huletts - 10-ton units (11) built from 1899 to 1903:
The first Huletts were the 4 original steam/hydraulic units at Conneaut, rated at 10-tons capacity per "bite". Around 1902-1903 these machines were retro-fitted with an early type of larry car system; these were commonly called "bucket cars", which held a 10-ton load but had no scales or weighing equipment. Buffalo had 2 similar steam units (BR&P) and 5 electric/hydraulic units (Lackawanna), which followed the original Conneaut design quite closely, except that they were equipped with bucket cars as originally built.
2nd generation Huletts - 10-ton open-truss units (17) built from 1905 to 1909:
Starting in 1905, the Wellman Company engineers, and George Hulett, substantially improved the basic Hulett design to take advantage of complete electrical power and control. The bucket leg was increased in height and the auxiliary arm, or stabilizer, was now placed below the main walking beam, so that they could dig deeper into the holds of ever larger ore boats. The main walking beam was now a partial open-truss construction (forward of the trolley pivot posts) and gave these Huletts the appearance of a dragonfly. The "bucket car" feature was equipped with a separate scale or weighing hopper on some of these open-truss units, where the ore was weighed by an operator who stood in a separate machinery house built on the rear sills of the main girders. The original 5 open-truss Huletts at Gary Indiana in 1907 were the first Huletts that were originally installed with weighing hoppers.
3rd generation Huletts - 15-ton and 17-ton units (44) built from 1909 to 1950:
By 1908, bigger boats and ever increasing demand for ore necessitated another updating of the Hulett design. The new design returned to the original, heavier, girder constructed walking beam as with the original Huletts, because it provided more strength to carry larger capacity 15-ton and later 17-ton buckets. The main base and girders were now much longer than in the open-truss units. Perhaps the most significant improvement, was the refined "larry car" and its new features. First, a separate receiving hopper was now positioned above the larry car traveling rails, holding each "bite" of ore from the bucket. The larry car's capacity was increased to 30 tons or more, and the operators rode right inside the car itself to more quickly and accurately weigh the unloaded ore with scales built as part of the car unit. The operators were also now able to load railroad cars just by stopping above them, being able to see the entire line of cars and tracks located under each unloader. These third generation electric machines, starting with the Ashtabula units, became the "standard" Hulett unloader design for almost all subsequent Hulett installations.
4th generation Huletts - 20-ton units (9) built from 1944 to 1960:
A 20-ton Hulett design was speculated as far back as 1913, but was not seriously considered until the early 1940s, when WW II pushed ore demand to its highest levels ever. The 20-ton units featured a flatter receiving hopper, positioned lower than those on a standard 17-ton Hulett, in order to reduce the time needed to raise the bucket up over the main girders after coming up with a "grab" from a vessel's hold. Apart from this the 20-ton Hulett was nothing more than a "beefed-up" version of a 17-ton machine. These units were heavier, more bulky, and less graceful in their appearance. Seven of the nine 20-ton Huletts were built for U.S. Steel's Gary and Lorain plants, as replacements for their ageing 10-ton open-truss Huletts.
(Jeff Clark, 2012)
|Ashtabula OH||4||15t(17t)||1909 > 1987||Ashtabula & Buffalo (A&B)||LS&MS/NYC||1st conventional design - upgraded to 17t by 1940's|
|4||15t(17t)||1910>1980-81||Union - Dock 4 (Superior)||LS&MS/NYC||#4 wrecked 7/72 by the 'George M. Seedhouse'||Pix|
|Buffalo, NY||2||10t||South-1903>1930's North-1908>1930's||Buffalo Ship Canal||BR&P||steam/hydraulic||Pix||Link|
|1||10t||1908>1950's||Wickwire Steel||NYC||open truss beam|
|1||10t||1906>1957-58||James Thompson||PRR||open truss beam|
|5||10t||1902-06>1930's||Lackawanna-1922- Bethlehem Steel||SB||electric/hydraulic, replaced by 17t|
|4||17t||#2----1950>1983-84 #3----1940>1983-84 #4,5-1930>1983||Bethlehem Steel||SB||Belt conveyor system, instead of larry car||Pix||Link|
|Cleveland, OH||2||10t||1908 > 1984||U.S. Steel (upper dock)||NSS||open-truss beam|
|3||10t||1909>1982-83||Republic Steel (lower dock)||RT||open-truss beam||Pix|
|4||17t||1911-2>2000||Cleveland & Pittsburgh||PRR||1st 17t units, #1 & #2 dismantled-stored 2000||Pix|
|3||17t||#1-1924>1983 #2-1916>1983 #3-1946>1983||NYP&O||ERIE|
|2||17t||1943 > 1982||Republic Steel||RT||#4, #5|
|Conneaut, OH||4||10t||#1,2-1900>>1929 #3----1899>1929 #4----1901>1929||Pittsburgh & Conneaut||B&LE||steam/hydraulic, #3 was 1st Hulett ever built||Link|
|5||17t||#1,2-1916>1994 #3----1910>1994 #4,5-1924>1994||Pittsburgh & Conneaut||B&LE||Pix|
|Dearborn, MI||2||17t||1918-22>1944,56||Ford Motor||DT&I||South unit wrecked 11/44 by the 'Carl D Bradley'|
|Erie, PA||1||10t||1908>1982-83||Philadelphia & Erie > Republic Steel||PRR||open-truss beam, moved to Republic lower dock in 1960||Pix|
|Ft. William, Ontario||2||17t||1919>1960-61||Canadian Pacific||CP||coal service only, 8 ton coal rating|
|Gary, IN||5||10t||1907>1944||U.S. Steel||EJ&E||open-truss beam||Pix|
|2||17t||1917>1959-61||U.S. Steel||EJ&E||one unit moved in 1954-55, but unused until scrapped|
|Lorain, OH||4||10t||#1,2-1905>1945 #3----1907>1960 #4----1907>1950's||U.S. Steel||LT||open-truss beam||Pix|
|3||20t||#5,6-1944>1985-88 #7----1960>1985-88||U.S. Steel||LT||#7 was last Hulett ever built||Pix|
|South Chicago, IL||2||17t||1943>2010||Republic Steel||IHB||1985 - coal unloading. Last running Huletts||Pix||Link|
|2||15t(17t)||#1,2-1911>1990||CH&D>Lakefront||B&O||moved in 1947-8||Pix|
|3||17t||1930>1990||Presque Isle||C&O||1st AC units||Pix|
|Bayonne, NJ||1||17t||1916>1940 (?)||Constable Hook > Claremont Term. - Bethlehem Steel||LV||Moved to new terminal in 1922|
|New York, NY||1||?||1938 > ??||Port Reading / Staten Island ?||Fresh Kills landfill ?||unload garbage barges. Fixed base, clamshell bucket||note 2|
|Ajo, AZ||1||?||1919 > ??||Comelia Copper Smelter||narrow gauge||unload copper refining sludge. No larry car, dumped at end of carriage||note 1|
Note 1 - RR Industry SIG 'Lineside' #7.1 - pictures and info of the Hulett and smelter plant
Note 2 - actual location in dispute...
Total of 83 Huletts built. Electrically operated unless noted. Table adapted from Hirsimaki, 1984
(June, 2012) - Significant corrections and updates thanks to info from Jeff Clark, John Teichmoeller, and many others !
Please help to fill in missing info and correct errors in this information. Contact me.
Tne Pennsylvania Railroad's Cleveland Docks
Great Lakes Industrial History Center
Boatnerds Hullet pix and info, if you search
Gary, IN Huletts
Buffalo, NY Hulett photos, maps, etc.
Early Conneaut Hulett pix
The Riverís Genial Monster - Good read !
Wikipedia on Huletts
ASME Hulett history PDF(very good !)
Remains of 2 Cleveland Huletts
"The Ore Docks of the Lower Lakes" by Eric Hirsimaki
Mainline Modeler - May, June, July 1984
"The Huron Hustler - Huron, Ohio" by Eric Hirsimaki
Nickel Plate Road Magazine - Winter/Spring 1988
"Ore Dock Dinosaurs" by Jay Williams
Trains - Feb. 1991
"Hulett Ore Unloaders" by Lawson Stevenson, O&NE model RR (Ashtabula docks
Railmodel Journal - Jan. 1997
"Hulett Iron-Ore Unloaders - Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark"
ASME International report, Cleveland, Ohio, August 2, 1998
Online pdf file
"Hulett's Mechanical Marvel," Ohio Historical Society 'Timeline' - September & October 1994, Vol. 11, No. 5
? 2005 NCR convention clinic - Hulett Unloader History by Stu Sonta
565 Forest Road
Wayne, PA 19087
Bearco Marine Model (440-298-1243)
Peach Creek Shops (301-498-9071)
Current price for the Hulett drawings is $36.00 + $7.50 shipping (rolled)
Sandusky #3 Car Dumper drawings. $42.00 + $7.50.
"Build a Hulett Ore Boat Unloader" by Lawson Stevenson
Railmodel Journal - July. 1998
(more pictures of his industrial models - Jan. 1997
"Building a Hulett Ore Unloader" by Garry Lance
Railroad Model Craftsman - Oct. 2007
Railroad Line Forum thread on scratchbuilding an HO Hulett
Gary Lance's 'N' Hulett models and more of his steel mill work
Brass Hulett model
Brass Hullet model from China
Lego Hulett model
1:32 scale Meccano Hulett by Norbert Klimmek
Great Hulett operation video
Eric Hirsimaki's video
Crewmember's Hulett video tape
Videos of the Huletts at A&B Docks, Ashtabula, OH unloading Interlake's J.L. Mauthe, circa 1980, by Don Lloyd
Movie 1, Movie 2, Movie 3, Movie 4