Sometime in 1894, while his Great Lakes steamer W. P. Thew lay tied to a Cuyahoga River wharf in northeast Ohio, 48-year-old Capt. Richard P. Thew, failed farmer and hardware salesman, observed a railroad steam shovel take one clumsy scoop of ore after another from the heap on the wood docks and dump them into a hopper car sitting on nearby railroad tracks. He noticed that the shovel bucket’s teeth gouged the dock’s timbers and left much of the ore behind.
Sometime in 1894, while his Great Lakes steamer W P. Thew lay tied to a wharf on the banks of the Cuyahoga River in northeast Ohio, Capt. Richard P. Thew whiled away many hours as men laboriously unloaded his iron ore cargo onto the wooden docks.