Charles E. Moore

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Charles E. Moore
CEMOORE Pres Truman revised.jpg
Charles E. Moore (right) with Senator Harry S. Truman at the Joshua Hendy Iron Works in 1942
Born 1894
San Bernardino, California
Died 1953 (aged 59)
Nationality American
Occupation Industrialist
Known for Manufacture of liberty ship engines during World War II

Charles E. Moore (1894–1953) was an American industrialist who is best known for his contribution to the maritime shipbuilding industry during World War II.

Early life and career[edit]

Charles E. Moore II, was born in San Bernardino, California, to a Canadian immigrant who established the jewellery firm of Moore & Lewis. At the age of fourteen Moore entered the workforce with only an eighth grade education.

He went to work for the Santa Fe Railroad as a machinist. At age 18, he became a “boomer”, the machinist’s name for a drifter. He travelled all over the U.S. and Mexico until the age of 21, at which time he set his sights on working at a machine tool company. As legend has it, Moore’s ambitions were thwarted by the owner who told him that he didn’t have the education to succeed.[1] “I was horribly insulted” he later said, “but then I calmed down and realized that he was right.” So Moore immediately enrolled in high school as a 6-foot-6-inch, 285-lb freshman and finished four years' work in one.[2] He later served as a lieutenant in the Coastal Artillery during World War I.

After the war, Moore again applied to work at the machine tool company. Years later, after working his way up the ranks, Moore bought the company outright in 1927, renaming it: “The Moore Machinery Company”.[3]

World War II[edit]

Moore ascribed to “a fundamental policy of never selling a machine that we wouldn’t take back if the customer didn’t like it”.[4] It was this policy that eventually led to Moore's purchase of the Joshua Hendy Iron Works in Sunnyvale, California. He paid a visit to the owners in an attempt to quiet their complaint. He then saw the vast untapped potential of Hendy. He and his partners, The Six Companies, purchased Hendy for $500,000 in November 1940.[5] In seven years (1940 to 1947) through World War II, under Moore's leadership Hendy grew from 60 employees to over 11,000. During the war, the Hendy work force, "The Iron Men and Women of Hendy", produced a record breaking number of 754 Liberty Ship Triple Expansion EC-2 Engines at the rate of one every 40.8 hours.[6] Each of these engines weighed 137 tons and stood 24 feet high.[7] Moore became known as "America's No. 1 'Can Do' Man".[8]

In mid 1942, the Crocker-Wheeler Electrical Manufacturing Company in New Jersey was also acquired for $3,200,000 to become part of the Hendy team.[9] After the war, Moore sold his interest in Hendy to his partners, The Six Companies.[10]

Moore traveled widely as a technical advisor to The Federal Government of the United States as an expert on heavy machinery. In 1941 he went to Europe for the US office of Production Management, Harriman Commission, to advise tool manufacturing plants in The United Kingdom.[11] Following the war he was an industry consultant in Greece for the State department. He went to Italy in 1947–49 as a Marshall Plan consultant.[12]

Boy Scouts of America[edit]

Moore also became involved in the Boy Scouts of America (Santa Clara Council), as VP and chairman of the Boy Scout Memorial Foundation Board. In 1954 a building in Santa Clara was dedicated as "The Charles E Moore Memorial Boy Scout Building" at the corner of Park & Newhall.[13]

Moore died suddenly in 1953 at the age of 59 of a massive heart attack while horseback riding. He is buried in San Jose's Oak Hill Memorial Cemetery.


  1. ^ "Big Dams and other dreams, The Six Companies Story" by Donald E Wolf p98,99,1996, University of Oaklahoma Press, ISBN 0-8061-2853-4
  2. ^ "The Iron Men of Hendy" by George F. Gayer, p15
  3. ^ Moore Machinery
  4. ^ The Iron Men of Hendy p 15, George Gayer, 1985
  5. ^ San Francisco Chronicle, "The Impossible Takes Longer" by Jonathan Waldo May 10, 1942,[1]
  6. ^ Engine #754 at Joshua Hendy Iron Works - Sunnyvale Public Library Digital Collection.
  7. ^ Joshua Hendy Iron Works - informational brochure produced by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
  8. ^ The San Francisco News, "Charlie Moore Called America's No 1 'Can Do' Man"[2], by Robert Letts,
  9. ^ "Perfect Hedge", Time Magazine, Monday Nov 30, 1942.
  10. ^ "Machine Maker for the West", Time Magazine, March 25, 1946.
  11. ^ "Big Dams and other dreams, The Six Companies Story", by Donald E. Wolf p 153 1996, University of Oklahoma Press, ISBN 0-8061-2853-4
  12. ^ History of Santa Clara County Boy Scout of America, ISBN 0-9628133-0-3, Biographies: p145
  13. ^ "Scouting in the Santa Clara Valley, the 70 year adventure, 1920-90" James P. Sturrock,ISBN 0-9628133-0-3 p116,117 [3]



  • Wilson, Neil C. and Taylor, Frank J. (1957): The Earth Changers, Doubleday & Company, N.Y. Library of Congress Catalog Card # 57-7288
  • Wolf, Donald E. (1996): Big Dams and other Dreams, The Six Companies Story, University of Oklahoma Press, ISBN 0-8061-2853-4.