Viking Pumps Used in 1941 Icebreaker Ship
November 16, 2021
Viking Pumps have been used for decades on marine vessels and aircraft across the globe. Recognized as a trusted leader and innovator, Viking’s durable pumps built many years ago are still used on some ships today.
While on a trip with family to Michigan, a Viking Pump colleague visited the USCGC Mackinaw Icebreaker. After returning to the office, she was curious and discovered that nine Viking pumps were installed on the ship in 1941. The pumps ranged in function from diesel fuel transfer and lube oil transfer, to pressure lubrication.
“When I stepped foot on the deck of the Icebreaker, my intuition told me I was standing on a piece of treasured history, not just from World War II, but also from Viking Pump,” Marketing Coordinator Robyn Watson said.
After returning to the office, Robyn partnered with another team member and quickly located the 1945 Spring edition of the “Viking Vacuum” publication. Take a look at an excerpt from the publication below:
Ten days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States Congress approved the construction of the Mackinaw, to help forge paths for transport ships and break up thick ice that formed on the Great Lakes during frigid winter months. This allowed iron ore, limestone, and coal to be transported, keeping vital war materials in production.
Displayed to the right is a ZHLH pump – a pump so old that nobody at Viking Pump has even heard of it. There were six of these pumps aboard the Mackinaw for pressure lubrication of the propeller bearings. The propellers played a critical role in the breaking of large sheets of ice.
According to an Ice Breaker Mackinaw fact sheet, “The Mackinaw’s innovative 12’ bow propeller – weighing 7.2 tons – draws water from under the ice causing it to weaken and sag under its own weight and then, when crushed by the force and the weight of the ship, sends it streaming along both sides of the ship reducing friction.”
With the propellers’ significant role in breaking ice and maintaining a clear path across the lakes, keeping bearings lubricated was of upmost importance.
Weighing in at over 5,200 tons with a length of 290 feet, the Mackinaw worked faithfully for 62 years before retiring in 2006. Since then, it’s been converted to a museum.
To learn of other interesting places where Viking Pumps are being used, click here.