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The Luna and Boston Harbor

A Beauty Is BornThe Luna is wrapped in a protective covering during restoration.
The Luna was designed by John G. Alden (1884-1962), one of America’s greatest and most prolific yacht designers. She was engineered by General Electric, a leader in the development of direct current (DC) electro-motive power in the first half of the 20th century. The Luna’s engines were developed by the Winton Company of Cleveland, OH, a highly-innovative automobile and engine builder that created some of the most innovative early large-scale diesel engines.

As a result, the aesthetics of the Luna embody the classical sweeping profile of the American harbor tug. This grace was coupled with a very innovative propulsion plant: two diesel engines, each turning a generator and exciter to create DC current, which was then shunted (via prototypical switchboards) to a single DC motor (weighing 20 tons) attached to a single propeller shaft. The project was a showpiece for Thomas Edison’s General Electric Corporation, which seized the challenge to design, build, and deliver the components in conjunction with their control subcontractors. Six years after Luna’s delivery, GE reported that there were 33 diesel-electric tugs in service, 21 of which were GE installations.

The Luna’s wooden hull and deckhouses were built by the M.M. Davis Shipbuilding Company in Solomons, Maryland. The empty hull was towed from the Chesapeake to East Boston for outfitting at the Bethlehem Steel Shipyard in East Boston. (homenext)