Neafie & Levy

Former American shipbuilding and engineering firm / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Neafie, Levy & Co., commonly known as Neafie & Levy, was a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania shipbuilding and engineering firm that existed from the middle of the 19th to the beginning of the 20th century. Described as America's "first specialist marine engineers",[1] Neafie & Levy was probably the first company in the United States to combine the building of iron ships with the manufacture of steam engines to power them.[2] The company was also the largest supplier of screw propellers to other North American shipbuilding firms in its early years, and at its peak in the early 1870s was Philadelphia's busiest and most heavily capitalized shipbuilder.

Quick facts: Type, Industry, Founded, Defunct, Fate...
Neafie, Levy & Co.
ProductsIron and steel steamships, marine engines, propellers, industrial equipment
Total assets$1,000,000 (1870)
Number of employees
300 (1870)

Following the death of one of its proprietors, John P. Levy, in 1867, the company grew more conservative and eventually became a "niche" shipbuilder of smaller high quality vessels such as steam yachts and tugs. A few years after the retirement and death of its founder and longstanding manager Jacob Neafie in 1898, the company folded through a combination of indifferent management, bad publicity and unprofitable US Navy contracts.

Neafie & Levy's 1907 ferry Yankee, seen here in its heyday, is still operational today

Amongst the more notable vessels built by the company were the US Navy's first submarine, USS Alligator in 1862, and the Navy's first destroyer, USS Bainbridge, in 1902.[3] Several of its vessels, such as the tugboats Jupiter and Tuff-E-Nuff and the ferry Yankee, are still operational today more than a hundred years after first entering service. In all, the company built more than 300 ships and 1,100 marine steam engines during the course of its 63-year history,[4] in addition to its non-marine manufactures, which included refrigeration and sugar refining equipment.