Hi all, I'm new to the forum, and just slightly sorry to start off with a non-steam/non-paddle wheel topic... but the subject boats are about 75 years old and imho, pretty enough to be celebrated!

I'm seeking design info (engineering drawings to be precise) for any of the Hillman-built towboats designed by Elmer Easter in the late 40's. I know that at least a couple of these still operate-- the current M/V Charleston and M/V Drema G. Woods with Amherst-Madison.

I've sent out a number of requests to possible sources, haven't heard anything back yet, but thought to try here as well.

An interesting tidbit: The HAER project documented the Hillman yard:
Hillman Barge & Construction Company, Paul Thomas Boulevard, Brownsville, Fayette County, PA
In the PDF at that link, some words regarding the Easter designs:

Towboats and Expanded Barge Facilities

It was Hillman's desire to employ the industry's foremost
architectural designer to construct a unique and distinctive
design for his towboats that would set them apart from others
already on the drawing board. By 1945, Hillman solicited Elmer L.
Easter of the Dravo Corporation to become his engineer and
architectural designer. Once in production, Easter's designs
distinguished Hillman towboats from all others on the river. In
the M.V. JAMES ZUBIC for instance, Easter designed uniquely detailed
chamber decks, curved plating in housing, S-shaped
contours to the roof and hull lines, and midship engines.

Compared to traditional towboats, these elaborate features
substantially added to the design, labor, and material cost of
production. The ZUBIC took nearly a year to complete. Easter's
test designs in unique curves and contours in the steel hull
required cutting and fabrication techniques that only blacksmiths
could supply. The high cost of the smiths, and the continual
reworking of the cutters insured that the ZUBIC would be the
first, and only boat which utilized blacksmiths. In his next
vessel, Silliman replaced the smiths with acetylene torch cutters
and welders. Silliman had the steel plates that Easter
designed copied into wooden patterns. The patterns were
constructed by carpenters and designed as templates for the
acetylene torch cutters and welders of the second boat. Although
this new method was laborious, it reduced construction time to
slightly over six months per vessel.

Because acetylene torch plate cutting was expensive and time
consuming, Silliman quickly justified purchasing a semi-automated
torch cutting table. Little information exists from either the
company or the union regarding the workers attitudes toward this
machine which required two to four operators. The number of
burners necessary for towboat fabrication was reduced, and the
classification of burner does not appear on any company records
after 1955.

Despite cost and production problems, new towboat design
continued. Today, many of these boats are still operating on the
Monongahela River. As evident in the M.V. SOLVAY (1947),
Easter's engineering and architectural innovations in towboat
design set Hillman's boats apart from traditional styles.
Contemporary trade journals such as The Waterways Journal, noted
that, "The Solvay was one of the standard towboats developed by
her builders, and is a distinct departure from previous industry
designs and methods. She is in the 1000-hp class and is 145 feet
long with a propulsion power supplied by 2-cycle, 6-cylinder
General Motors Model 6-278A Siedel engines with airflex clutchreverse-
reduction-gear units." Hillman Barge marketed these
towboats to local and national companies. (23)

(23) Hillman Barge and Construction Company, "Twin Screw Diesel
Boat," drawing number 4513-A. This drawing was used for the
following towboats: M.V. SOLVAY, M.V. LABELLE. and the M.V.
ONWARD. Richard Basci, Chief Engineer of HBC Barge, interview
with author, June 30, 1992, and August 20, 1992.