The AMERICAN SHIP BUILDING CO., a major designer and builder of vessels for Great Lakes shipping, was incorporated in New Jersey 16 Mar. 1899--a consolidation of 3 Cleveland firms: the Cleveland Ship Building Co., the Ship Owner's Dry Dock Co., the Globe Iron Works, and 5 other companies in the Great Lakes region. The Globe Iron Works began in 1869 and entered the shipbuilding industry by purchasing interest in a dry dock under construction along the west bank of the CUYAHOGA RIVER. Soon Globe was building iron-hulled freighters for shipping on the lakes. In 1886 Globe founders, Robt. Wallace and Henry D. Coffinberry, expanded their shipbuilding interests by organizing the Cleveland Ship Building Co., which occupied the old CUYAHOGA STEAM FURNACE CO. plant. In 1897 Globe took over the Ship Owner's Dry Dock Co., which had 2 docks in Cleveland.
Two years later, the new American Ship Building Co. established Cleveland offices at 120 Viaduct and prospered in the early 1900s with the steel industry's increased demand for new ore carriers. By 1952 the company was the largest shipbuilder on the Great Lakes, but as lake shipping declined during the next 10 years, the company began to diversify its operations. A new group of younger investors gained control of the company's Board of Directors, making Geo. M. Steinbrenner, III, owner of the Kinsman Marine Co., the chief executive officer in 1967. After buying the Tampa Ship & Dry Docks Co. in 1972, the firm expanded its facilities there and moved its corporate headquarters from Cleveland to Tampa in 1979. Hit hard by the continuing decline in Great Lakes shipping and a strike that closed its shipyards in Lorain, Toledo, and Chicago in 1978-79, the company turned increasingly to defense contracts for its business and began to close its Great Lakes shipyards. It closed its Lorain shipyard in Dec. 1983.