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P-057: Herman T. Pott Collection

SCOPE: This collection contains personal materials of Herman T. Pott.

EXTENT: Scrapbooks, photograph albums, and personal papers.

HISTORY:  Herman T. Pott, the son of German immigrants, was born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin in 1895. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin as a Civil Engineer in 1916.Mr. Pott was one of the 20th century's best known and most distinguished river transportation executives and pioneer river industry entrepreneurs.  

In 1933 Mr. Pott purchased the old Philip A. Rohan Boat, Boiler & Tank Co. in St. Louis, where river vessels had been produced since the Civil War.  He changed its name to St. Louis Shipbuilding & Steel Co., and set to work developing a new enterprise.  His commitment to quality and cutting-edge engineering was exemplified in his innovative manufacturing process of welding rather than riveting steel hulls and an early and strong push toward diesel propulsion technology. 

During World War II his company constructed ships for the United States and Russia, and by the 1950s, was the world's largest designer and builder of inland river towboats.  In 1953 Mr. Pott purchased the Federal Barge Lines from the government, and built the M.V. America and the M.V. United States, the two most powerful towboats in the world. Mr. Pott expanded the company under the name St. Louis Shipbuilding - Federal Barge Lines, Inc.  In 1967, Mr. Pott changed the company's name to Pott Industries, Inc.

Mr. Pott is also credited with the development and refinement and construction of the Kort Nozzle, a short metal tube that surrounds the propeller.  The improved design increased a towboat's "push power" by more than 30%. 

Herman Pott's name lives on at the Herman T. Pott Inland Waterways Library at the University of Missouri-St. Louis

(Biography courtesy of the Pott Foundation: www.pottfoundation.org/herman-pott-phenie-pott.htm)

ACCESS: This is collection P-057. This collection is available for on-site use only in the Rare Book and Manuscripts Reading Room. Some of the collection may be photocopied, digitally scanned or photographed, depending on condition. Researchers are advised to call ahead concerning changes in hours due to University intersessions and holidays. The St. Louis Mercantile Library is located on levels one and two of the Thomas Jefferson Library building. More information about conducting research with the archival collections of the Library, including current building hours and reading room policies, can be found on our Research page.

Preferred Citation note: The preferred citation for this collection is "From the collections of the Herman T. Pott National Inland Waterways Library at the University of Missouri - St. Louis.”

See Also: P-002 Federal Barge Lines Collection


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