Sun Shipbuilding History Log From 1916 thru 1919

Date Last Revised: 10.22.01

Transcribed By: D.Kavanagh (33M)

Note: This information has been compiled from numerous sources. Comments, additions or corrections are welcome. Leave information at


01: In the spring of 1916 the Sun Shipbuilding Company was formed, acquired the necessary land at Chester, Pa., and started operation of a shipbuilding concern to relieve the scarcity of ships brought about by the shipping losses being caused by the World War which was then in progress

02: A well-designed shipyard was erected at Chester, consisting of five building ways of the latest design and capable of building vessels up to 500 feet in length, with machine shops, boiler shops, copper shops, wet basins and other facilites equipped with cranes, locomotives and with all that goes to make up a modern and compact shipbuilding unit.

03: At that time because of the war conditions it was practically impossible to obtain machine tools for engine building purposes; to meet that situation the well-known Robert Wetherill Engine Works at Chester, PA, was acquired by the Sun Shipbuilding Company and later equipped with special tools to meet the demand for building large reciprocating engines and other engineering work necessary for shipbuilding purposes.


01: In 1917 the first keel was laid for contract No. 1, a 10,500-ton single-screw tanker. The vessel was launched on October 30, 1917, and named the Chester Sun. She was delivered in December 1917 to the owners, the Sun Oil Company. The yard continued to build tankers and other cargo vessels for the United States Shipping Board and private interests and established a well developed shipbuilding and engineering corporation.