Dubuque County Historical Society Images

Achievement Award Winners

return to menu

Albert J. Dawson

Born in 1891, Albert J. Dawson graduated from Webb Institute. In 1914 he was a draftsman and estimator at the Fore River Plant of Bethleham Shipbuilding Company. He became naval architect, and served as chief engineer with the Charles Ward Engineering Works before becoming chief engineer with Dravo Corporation.

In the 1920s the German Ministry of Transport instructed the owners of large canal tugs to install guards around propellers to reduce propeller wash and lessen erosion to the canals. A strange phenomenon resulted - the boats were faster and able to deliver much greater thrust. Ludwig Kort of Hanover, Germany, began to experiment with shapes and sizes of propeller guards and in 1930, obtained a United States patent for the Kort nozzle.

Albert Dawson and his assistant, Clancy J. Horton, went to Germany to investigate the design, and Dravo obtained exclusive rights to promote the nozzle in the United States, except the Pacific Coast states. Albert Dawson improved and refined Dr. Kort’s original design. He then had two small single-screw diesel towboats built, one with and one without the Kort nozzle. The towboat with the Kort nozzle had 25% more push power. The Kort nozzle was rapidly adopted by the towing industry. The number of towboats with the Kort nozzle went from 161 in the 1930s, to over 1,500 in the 1970s and 1980s.

Albert Dawson, who passed away in 1961, also worked on the design of the LST’s used for the invasion of Normandy during World War II. He served on the Control Committee for the book Design and Construction of Steel Merchant Ships, and was the author of several important papers published by the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers.

Honored in 1988.



return to menu