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Monday, 31 October 2016

Ocean liner

The Black Ball Line was a passenger line founded by a group of New York Quaker merchants. In 1817 they offered the first regular passenger service with emphasis on passenger comfort running between England (Liverpool) and North America (New York City) For the first ten years the passages of the fleet averaged 23 days outward and 40 days to the westward.

The SS Great Western, a paddle-wheel steamship designed by railway engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, began its first Atlantic service in 1838. She took 15 days to cross the Atlantic, as compared with a month by sail-powered ships.

The first voyage of SS Great Western (1838)

The Great Western was the first steamship to provide a regular transatlantic service. It confounded critics who asserted that such a vessel would never be able to carry sufficient coal to make the crossing.

In 1838 John Lea and William Perrins started manufacturing their Worcester Sauce. To help promote it they arranged for cases of their product to be on all ocean liners that came in and out of British waters. They paid the stewards to serve the sauce in the dining rooms, which led to passengers requesting to buy a bottle of this new appealing concoction to take home. As a result, the fame of Worcestershire Sauce spread very quickly.

The SS Great Britain was also designed by Brunel. Launched on July 19, 1843, it was the first ocean-going craft with an iron hull and screw propeller.

 SS Great Britain in dry dock at Bristol in 2005 Photo by mattbuck., Wikipedia 

When launched, the Great Britain was by far the largest vessel afloat. She was the longest passenger ship in the world until 1854.

Great Britain was the first iron steamer to cross the Atlantic. She did so for the first time in 1845, in the time of 14 days.

The requirement for comfortable, but easily stowable, outside seats for use in the brisk ocean liner trade saw in 1884 the introduction of the foldable "deckchair", made by Edward Atkins of Bethnal Green, London on P&O liners.

In 1900 The German liner SS Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse became the first ship to send wireless signals to shore.

The SOS distress signal was used for the first time on June 10, 1909, when the Cunard liner SS Slavonia was wrecked off the Azores.

The Belfast slipway from which the British passenger liner RMS Titanic was launched in May 1911 was smothered in 22 tons of soap and tallow to ensure a smooth passage. The launch took just 62 seconds.

RMS Titanic at the docks of Southampton (1912).

The Titanic was one of the first ships to include an indoor heated swimming pool. The pool was 30 feet long and cost a shilling (5p) to use.

At 11:40 PM on April 14, 1912, during Titanic's maiden voyage, she hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean. The iceberg broke the Titanic's hull (bottom), letting water into the ship. The Titanic sank two hours and forty minutes later; 1,517 people were killed.

Before The Titanic sailed, many people thought it would be almost impossible for ships of such a design to sink.

On May 7, 1915, an U-20 torpedoed and sank the liner Lusitania off the West of Ireland. Almost 1,200 died including 120 Americans. The sinking was an important factor in the USA's decision to join the Allied cause during World War 1.

Lusitania arriving in port

In 1941, ten years before his The Catcher in the Rye was first published, J.D. Salinger took a job as activities director on board a luxury Caribbean cruise liner, the MS Kungsholm.

The SS United States was launched in 1951 and still holds the record for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic in either direction by a passenger liner.

The cruise liner Queen Elizabeth II moves only six inches for each gallon of diesel that it burns

Source Food For Thought by Ed Pearce

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