Henry John Kaiser

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Henry J. Kaiser

Henry John Kaiser (born May 9, 1882 in Sprout Brook , New York , † August 24, 1967 in Honolulu , Hawaii ) was an American industrialist who became known as the father of modern American shipbuilding . Kaiser Steel and Kaiser Aluminum were formed from his Kaiser Shipyards after World War II .

The first years

Kaiser began his professional life as a cashier in a women's clothing store in Utica and then had to move often because he took over the photography and weapons business; eventually he landed in Vancouver , Canada . In 1912 he founded a road construction company with offices in Spokane , Skagit and Vancouver. The Henry J. Kaiser Company Ltd. was founded in Vancouver in 1914. Among the early orders there was also a challenge abroad: he built the first concrete-surfaced roads in Cuba . In 1921 Kaiser got his first road construction contract in California and relocated his company to Oakland. From then on, he benefited from the expansion of California's ever-growing road network. Through skilful management of the business, which also included particularly good wages for the workers, Kaiser succeeded in completing his orders cheaper than calculated and also ahead of schedule. This brought him further public contracts in road construction and infrastructure, such as As the construction of the Hoover Dam on the Colorado and the construction of dams in Bonneville , Grand Coulee , and Shasta , laying of natural gas - pipelines in the southwest of the USA, River construction work on the Mississippi and the setting of the underwater foundations of the Bay Bridge in San Francisco .

Second World War

During World War II , Kaiser made a name for himself with his Richmond shipyard as he found a way to complete a cargo ship every 30 days. These ships became known as Liberty freighters . When his team built a ship in just 4 days, he even became world famous. On Sunday, November 8th, 1942, the freighter with 10,500 to. Robert E. Peary laid down and on Thursday, November 12, 1942, four days and 15½ hours later, the completed ship left Dock No. 2 in Richmond. The construction time record for this class of ship was previously 10 days for the Joseph M. Teal .

There were other Kaiser shipyards in Ryan Point on the Columbia River in Washington and in Portland (Oregon) . A smaller ship was built on November 16, 1942 at the Vancouver shipyard in just 71 hours and 40 minutes. The concepts that Kaiser developed for the series production of merchant and war ships are still used today. At his shipyard in Richmond, he first realized his idea of ​​a health insurance company, for which he is best known today: the Kaiser Permanente HMO . America's first escort aircraft carriers were also built from the hulls of Kaiser , over 100 small aircraft carriers that took part in the naval battles in the Atlantic and Pacific. A film was made in Hollywood about the construction of the Liberty freighter, which showed the new methods, such as arc welding and the assembly of larger ship sections, which were only later welded together.

post war period

As a major real estate agent, Kaiser founded the suburbs of Hawaii Kai near Honolulu (where a high school is now named after him) and Panorama City near Los Angeles .

In 1945 Kaiser teamed up with Joseph W. Frazer and founded a new automobile factory from the remains of Graham-Paige , of which Frazer was previously managing director. Production began at a former Ford plant in Willow Run , which Ford originally built to manufacture war aircraft during World War II. Kaiser Motors manufactured automobiles under the names Kaiser and Frazer until 1955 . Then the company closed its doors and sold the manufacturing facilities to companies in Argentina and Brazil . In the late 1960s, these South American companies were sold to a consortium of Ford and Renault . 1953 bought Kaiser Willys-Overland , which u. a. made the Jeep , and renamed the company the Willys Motor Company . In 1963 the name changed again, this time to Kaiser Jeep Corporation and in 1970, when Kaiser finally left the automotive business, the company was sold to AMC . As part of this transaction, Kaiser acquired 22% of the shares in AMC, but later sold them again.

In 1946 Kaiser established itself in the aluminum industry with Kaiser Aluminum . In 1948, he established the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation , a US-based private foundation that made a difference in health care planning in America.

Henry J. Kaiser spent most of his last years in Honolulu and became increasingly involved in urban development. He founded the Kaiser Hawaiian Village Hotel , now one of the most famous Hilton hotels in the world. Kaiser also built one of the first commercially used geodesic domes there. He was involved in building district centers, roads, and schools. He was part of the consortium to build the Hoover Dam and the Grand Coulee Dam . Kaiser also promoted medical development by designing and building various hospitals, medical centers, and educational institutions. His mining center in Eagle Mountain (now a modern ghost town), part of the first manufacturing network for mining and processing on the west coast, connected to his mill in Fontana by rail, was the birthplace of Kaiser Permanente , the first health maintenance organization . In Fontana there is now another high school named after Kaiser.

His son Edgar F. Kaiser became his successor in the management of his company . Kaiser's grandson, Edgar F. Kaiser jr. , was formerly Chairman of Kaiser Steel . From 1981 to 1984 he also owned the Denver Broncos football team , which played in the NFL . Another grandson, whose name is also Henry Kaiser , is known as an experimental guitarist.

Henry J. Kaiser is buried in Mountain View Cemetery , Oakland .

Web links


  • "Henry J.'s Pink Hawaii," Time Magazine , Oct. 24, 1960