For nearly thirty years, the boat building company founded by Andrew Jackson Higgins was an important fixture in New Orleans. What began as a sideline to the petroleum industry in 1930 soon developed into a thriving commercial concern. Higgins specialized in shallow-draft boats suitable to the bayous of Louisiana. With World War II that reputation enabled Higgins Industries to become one of the largest manufacturers of U. S. naval combat boats during World War II. The ability of the company to design and produce vessels in record time meant that during the war they produced 20,094 boats, employing 20,000 workers at seven plants in the New Orleans area. Their most famous vehicles were the landing craft used during the Normandy Invasion on D-Day, which prompted General Eisenhower to remark that Andrew Higgins "won the war for us."
The diagrams in this collection are of Motor Torpedo Boats (MTB), better known as PT boats, which formed a major part of the company's war effort. From 1939-1945 the U. S. Navy purchased or contracted for 808 of these boats, generally in squadron-sized groups of twelve. Of these, Higgins Industries built or contracted to deliver 221: Nos. 5-6, 70, and 564 (Hellcat) were prototypes; 71-94; 197-254; 265-313; 450-485; 625-660; and 791-802 were series, or "classes" of contracts. The contracts for Nos. 797-808 were cancelled in the latter half of 1945 and these boats were never completed. Most of the plans in this collection applied either to an entire class (designated by the number of the first boat in each group: e.g. Series 265; Series 450; Series 625), or a subset thereof (e.g. 199-210).
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