California Series Pile Hammers

Although not the “flagship” of the Vulcan line, the “California” series pile hammers are an interesting part of the company’s story, both in themselves and how they came about.

The California series hammers were developed by James N. Warrington.  His ill health forced him to leave Chicago and live in Los Angeles, California. It was there in 1911 that he developed the “California G” hammer (U.S. Patents 1,019,386 and 1,020,467.) It was a major departure from the rest of the Vulcan line in that it was a closed hammer and provided downward assist for the ram. It also used the steam expansively (“compound acting”), something no production Vulcan hammer did before or since (although the single-compound hammer did on an experimental basis.)

The “G” hammer was first produced in 1922 and officially introduced into the product line two years later.

The “G” hammer was discontinued in 1951. Although James Warrington had envisioned a replacement design for the line around 1930, the actual replacement by the DGH-100 hammer did not take place for many years.

After his brother William’s death, James assumed “remote control” of the business from California. This situation was repeated in the 1960’s when the executive office was relocated to Florida for basically the same reason. This tended to give the employees left behind a great deal of autonomy, which created a contentious situation when the new generation took command (this too repeated itself in the late 1970’s.)

James’ death ended the Warrington family’s second generation’s control of the business, which had spanned almost a half century. It then passed to his nephew Chester, although he was busy with other things when this happened. He returned from Washington to Chicago to assume full command in 1940.


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