The tug Jupiter was built in the Philadelphia shipyard of Neafie and Levy in 1902. She is believed to be the oldest tug still active that represents their work. Built of steel, she was made for the Standard Oil Company and christened Socony #14. From 1902 to 1939, she was in service in New York, towing Standard Oil fuel ships and barges.
In 1939, Independent Pier Company of Philadelphia bought the tug and renamed her Jupiter. Philadelphia became her home port, and she was utilized by Independent Pier for various commercial towing activities. Typical work was docking ships along the Delaware, towing barges on the river, and towing commercial and naval traffic in the Chesepeake and Delaware Canal.
During World War II, the tug was involved in the launching of the numerous naval vessels from the shipyards along the Delaware River. She was the first tug to the catch the lines of USS New Jersey during her launching. Jupiter towed barges loaded with stone from Maryland to Brandywine Light in the Delaware Bay. This stone was used to build the support facility for the submarine detection cable that spanned the bay. At the end of the war, she towed USS San Francisco and many other vessels that had seen wartime service to the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.
In 1949, Independent Pier Company purchased two decomissioned LST landing craft. These vessels were towed by Jupiter to Spedding Shipyard in Baltimore. At the shipyard, Jupiter, along with the tug Saturn (also owned by Independent Pier), underwent major refits. The steam engines and systems were replaced with the engine room equipment from the LSTs. These steam/diesel refits were common at the time. Jupiter continued working commercially out of Philadelphia. Work of interest included towing tunnel sections for the Baltimore City and Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnels.
In 1999, Jupiter was purchased by Penn’s Landing Corporarion and turned over to the care of the Philadelphia Ship Preservation Guild. Currently, she takes part in educational programs, festivals, and boat parades. The operation and maintenance is performed by a volunteer group of active and retired tugboat professionals and enthusiasts. Jupiter is moored at the north end of Penn’s Landing, alongside the lighter barge Poplar, just upriver from Gazela.