Identifier: GLMS-0038

Collection Overview

Scope and Contents

This 2 cubic foot collection contains pilot house log books from the ERNEST T. WEIR for c.1954-1969. These logs give daily accounts of the progress the WEIR made during each trip of the shipping season. Cargo data reflects what was transported and the trip information reflects to where the cargo was shipped and how much time was require for shipment. These daily details document the reality of Great Lakes transportation repeated hundreds of times each year during the shipping season by vessels such as the WEIR.

The ERNEST T. WEIR was part of the fleet operated by the M.A. Hanna Mining Company. A small series of officer lists records the vessels in the Hanna fleet and the officers assigned to them in 1958, 1968, and 1969.

Weather reports compiled in the 1968 shipping season complete the collection. A listing of the primary weather reporting stations near each of the Great Lakes is included. The barometric pressure, wind speed and direction are recorded at each station.


  • April 1954-December 1969


2 Cubic Feet (4 legal manuscript boxes)


Vessel History

The ERNEST T. WEIR (U.S. 265246) was built at Lorain, Ohio as American Shipbuilding Company hull 869. Construction was completed in 1953. The Hanna Mining Company of Cleveland, Ohio managed the WEIR for the National Steel Corporation until March 1978 when the vessel was sold to the Oglebay Norton Company and renamed the COURTNEY BURTON.

The vessel was named for Ernest Tener Weir, chief executive officer of the National Steel Corporation when the WEIR was launched. Ernest Weir was born August 1, 1877 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His business interests led Weir to ownership of Jackson Sheet and Tin Plate Company in 1905. The company was changed to Weirton Steel Corporation in 1916. Weirton, West Virginia is named for the Weir family. The merger in 1929 of the Weirton Company with Great Lakes Steel Corporation led to the creation of the National Steel Corporation. Weir became chief executive officer and chairman of the board of directors for Nation Steel before retiring. Ernest Weir died June 26, 1958.

The ERNEST T. WEIR was 690 feet in length by 70 feet in width by 37 feet in depth when launched. Ore carrying records were set in the vessel's first season. The WEIR loaded 21,270 gross tons of iron ore at Superior, Wisconsin on September 10, 1953. Larger vessels soon broke the record, but the WEIR remains an economical vessel for its owner. On May 5, 1964 the WEIR collided with the MERCURY near the mouth of the St. Clair River and sustained severe bow damage. Repairs put the vessel back in service.

Significant modifications were made in the winter of 1975-1976 to place new tank tops on the WEIR. The Oglebay Norton Company bought the WEIR in 1978 and continued to operate it until 2006. American Steamship purchased the WEIR in 2006, renaming it AMERICAN FORTITUDE. It served until 2015, when it was scrapped at Port Colborne, Ontario.

Conditions Governing Access

No known access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers using this collection assume full responsibility for conforming to the laws of libel, privacy, and copyright, and are responsible for securing permissions necessary for publication or reproduction.

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This 2 cubic foot collection was donated to the Historical Collections of the Great Lakes by Robert Wright of the Hanna Mining Company on April 27, 1978.

Guide to the ERNEST T. WEIR Records
Mark Sprang
August 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note