Charles Ward Engineering Works

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USCGC Greenbriar, a paddle wheel steamer built by Charles Ward Engineering Works in 1924

The Charles Ward Engineering Works, Charleston, W. Va. was an iron and steel fabricator and shipyard founded by Charles Ward in 1872. They produced shallow draught boats at a plant on the south bank of the Kanawha River. It remained in operation until 1931 headed by the founder’s son Charles E. Ward.

Ward designed and built many steam and diesel powered vessels, both paddlewheel and propeller driven. Customers include the Army, Navy and Coast Guard.

Ward manufactured water-tube boilers in many sizes. The firm also pioneered the development of the tunnel stern propeller driven towboats and were among the first companies to install diesel power in river towboats.

Notable vessels built by Charles Ward Engineering Works[edit]

See also[edit]


  • West Virginina state archives Manuscript Collections - Ward Engineering Works Collection, 1915-1930
  • Guide to the Records of the Ward Engineering Company: Maritime Innovators of Charleston, West Virginia, D. C. Cebula, Michael R. Ridderbusch West Virginia and Regional History Collection, 2006
  • Charles Ward and the James Rumsey: Regional Innovation in Steam Technology on the Western Rivers, by Parkinson, George P. Jr. and Brooks F. McCabe Jr., West Virginia History (magazine) Vol. 39, Nos. 2 & 3, 1978 January-April
  • Shipbuilding History: Charles Ward Engineering, Charleston WV
  • The History of West Virginia, Old and New, by James Morton Callahan, American Historical Society, 1923
  • Short history of Charles Ward Engineering