Provisioning A Transatlantic Liner - 1901

Provisioning a Transatlantic Liner - Equivalent in Live Stock and General Stores.

Provisioning a Transatlantic Liner - Equivalent in Live Stock and General Stores. GGA Image ID # 1014ed4ab9


The Scientific American article from June 29, 1901 details the provisions for passengers, crew and coal for the boilers, needed for a transatlantic voyage of the North German Line Steamship Deutschland. The ship's capacity including passengers and crew is 1,617.

Provisioning the SS Deutschland

Not by any means the least impressive evidence of the huge size to which the modern transatlantic steamship has grown is to be found in the graphic representation, on the front page of this issue, of the bewildering amount of provisions that have to be taken aboard for a single trip across the ocean.

A mere tabulation of the various kinds of food which go to replenish the ship's larder, during the few days which she spends in port, fails to convey any adequate idea of the vast amount of stores taken aboard.

Our pictorial representation (Shown at Right) is, of course, purely imaginary, particularly as regards the live stock; the beef, mutton, game, etc., being received on the ship in the dressed condition, no live stock whatever being carried.

The drawing was made up from a list of the actual amount of provisions carried on a recent eastward trip on the Hamburg-American liner "Deutschland," and the number of live stock which contributed to meet the supplies for one voyage was estimated from the actual number of cattle, sheep, etc., that would be required to make up the total weights in dressed meats given in the table. With the exception of the live stock, the provisions are shown in the actual shape in which they would be taken on board.

Size and Length of Voyages of the Deutschland

The dimensions of the vessel are: Length, 686 feet; beam, 67 feet, and displacement, 23,000 tons; her highest average speed for the whole trip is 23.36 knots, and she has made the journey from Sandy Hook to the Lizard in five days, seven hours and thirty-eight minutes.

In considering the question of feeding the passengers on a vessel of this size, the thought is suggested that there are other hungry mouths within the hull of the ship besides those to be found in the dining saloons of the passengers and the mess rooms of the crew; mouths that are so voracious that they require feeding not merely at the three regular meal hours of the ship, but every hour of the day and night, from the time the moorings are cast off at one port until the vessel is warped alongside at the other.

Coal Requirements

We refer to the 112 furnaces in which the fuel of the sixteen boilers in the boiler-room is consumed at the rate of 572 tons per day. Now, although the voyage from New York to Hamburg lasts only six or seven days, according to the state of the weather, the bunkers of the ship are constructed to hold a sufficiently large reserve of coal to cover all contingencies, her total coal capacity being about 5,000 tons; and at each voyage care is taken to see that they are pretty well filled.

Capacity of the Deutschland

The total number of souls on board of the vessel when she has a full passenger list is 1,617, made up of 467 first cabin, 300 second cabin, 300 steerage and a crew of 550, the crew comprising officers, seamen, stewards and the engine-room force.

Sixteen hundred and seventeen souls would constitute the total inhabitants of many an American community that dignifies itself with the name of "city."

It is a fact that the long procession which is shown in our illustration, wending its way through the assembled provisions on the quay, by no means represents the length of the line were the passengers and crew strung out along Broadway or any great thoroughfare of this city.

If this number of people were to march four deep through Broadway, with a distance of say about a yard between ranks, they would extend for about a quarter of a mile, or say the length of four city blocks.

Feeding the Passengers and Crew

To feed these people for a period of six days requires, in meat alone, the equivalent of fourteen steers, ten calves, twenty-nine sheep, twenty-six lambs, arid nine hogs. If the flocks of chickens, geese and game. required to furnish the three tons of poultry and game that are consumed were to join in the procession aboard the vessel, they would constitute a contingent by themselves not less than 1,500 strong.

The ship's larder is also stocked with 1,700 pounds of fish, 400 pounds of tongues, sweetbreads, etc., 1,700 dozen eggs and 14 barrels of oysters and clams.

The 1,700 dozen of eggs packed in cases would cover a considerable area, as shown in our engraving, while the 1,000 bricks of ice cream would require 100 tubs to hold them.

Of table butter there would be taken on board 1,300 pounds, while the 2,200 quarts of milk would require 64 cans to hold it, and the 300 quarts of cream 8 cans.

In the way of vegetables there are shipped on board 175 barrels of potatoes, 75 barrels of assorted vegetables, 20 crates of tomatoes and table celery, 200 dozen lettuce; while the requirements of dessert alone would call for 4% tons of assorted fresh fruits.

For making up into the daily supply of bread, biscuits, cakes, pies, and the toothsome odds-and-ends of the pastry cook's art, there are taken on board at each trip 90 barrels of flour, each weighing 195 pounds, this item alone adding a weight of 8 1/2 tons to the cooks' stores. To this also we must add 350 pounds of yeast and 600 pounds of oatmeal and hominy.

Under the head of liquids the most important item is the 400 tons of drinking water, whose bulk is adequately represented by the circular tank shown in our engraving.

This is supplemented by 12,000 quarts of wine and liquors, 15,000 quarts of beer in kegs, besides 3,000 bottles of beer. Last, but not by any means least, is the supply of 40 tons of ice.

Planning for the Unexpected

Of course, it will be understood that, as in the case of the coal, it is not to be supposed that all of tills supply will be consumed on the voyage. There must be a margin, and a fairly liberal margin, of every kind of provision. Moreover, the extent to which the larder and cellar are emptied will vary according to the conditions of the voyage.

In tempestuous weather, where the trip is a succession of heavy gales, and the dining room tables are liable to be practically deserted for two or three days at a stretch, the consumption will be modified considerably.

Stormy voyages of this character, after all, occur at infrequent intervals, and as a rule the supplies are pretty well consumed by the time the passage is over.

Scientific American: A Weekly Journal of Practical Information, Art, Science, Mechanics, Chemistry and Manufactures, Volume LXXXIV, No. 26, New York, 29 June 1901, p. 401, 406.


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