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United States Lines (USL) History and Ephemera

United States Lines (USL) Historical Archives

United States Lines operated cargo services from 1921 to 1989, and ocean liners until 1969—most famously, the SS United States and the Leviathan. The company was formed with three ships from the tonnage of the failed United States Mail Steamship Company. Two of the ships, the America and George Washington, were originally German vessels that had been seized during World War I and kept as reparations. One of the most famous ships, The 52,000 ton Leviathan, formerly the Vaterland and one of the largest liners in the world, was acquired in 1923. United States Lines absorbed the American Line in 1932, the Baltimore Mail Line in 1937, and the American Merchant Line in 1938.

Documents and Other Ephemera of the United States Lines

Sorted in Date Order by Topic, Our United States Lines Archival Collections include Passenger Lists, Vintage Brochures, Vintage Menus, Books, Immigrant Passage Tickets, and Other Ephemera.

Steamship Ticket, Third Class, United States Lines - 1928

 

1921-06-22 Passenger Manifest - SS Hudson

Rare Passenger Manifest / Passage Contract for the 22 June 1922 Voyage on board the SS Hudson of the United States Mail Steamship Company, Inc. from Bremen to New York for Yugoslavian Immigrant Theresia Floc and Daughter.

1921-09-17 Contract for Third Class/Steerage Passage on the SS George Washington

Contract for third class/steerage passage on the SS George Washington by a German Immigrant on 17 September 1921, sailing from Bremen to New York.

1922-10-10 Prepaid Passage Polish Immigrant

Prepaid Ticket and Contract for Polish Immigrant from Bremen to Chicago IL on the United States Lines. Ticket included Train to Chicago and Transatlantic Ocean Fare in the Cabin Class.

1923-12-11 Prepaid Steamship Ticket - Polish Immigrant Girl

Janina Kozlowski was a 13 Year-Old Polish Immigrant girl traveling from Antwerp to New York on the SS Zeeland who arrived in New York on 10 November 1923. If you look under Terms of Contract, #16 prohibits children under 16 traveling alone.

1928-10-03 Passenger Ticket SS George Washington

Third Class Passenger Ticket for a German national for a transatlantic voyage from Bremen, Germany to New York on 3 October 1928. The contract was written in both German and English.

1932-09-10 Tourist Cabin Contract SS Leviathan

Steamship Ticket - United States Lines, Tourist Cabin Contract Ticket, Dutch Woman, Rotterdam (Cherbourg) to New York aboard the SS Leviathan.

 

Front Cover of 1924 Brochure from the United States Lines for Travel Between New York and Several European Ports.

 

1922 Brochure - Passenger Ships of the United States Lines

One of the first and most comprehensive brochures on the early beginnings of the United States Lines. Many photographs documents the cabin class (First Class/Second Class) amenities on the many ships of the USL. Undated, but likely published in 1922 before the Leviathan came into service in 1923.

1923 Brochure - United States Lines The Steamship Leviathan

This 1923 Brochure captures the grand elegance and beauty of the World's Largest Steamship - the SS Leviathan of the United States Lines. The large photographs will allow you to envision the incredible luxury found on this very popular ocean liner.

1923 Brochure - USL Third Class Passage to Europe

The ships included in this 1923 brochure from the United States Lines include the great Leviathan, the largest liner in the world; the popular George Washington; America, largest "cabin" ship in the world; the famous "President" ships, President Harding and President Roosevelt, and the newly reconditioned Republic.

1924 Brochure - USL - New York - Plymouth - Cherbourg - Southampton - Bremen

32-Page brochure from the United States Lines provides many interior views of their fleet of transatlantic steamships published in 1924. This brochure does not include their flagship -- the SS Leviathan as they prepared a separate booklet for that ship.

1924 Brochure - United States Lines - The American Way to Europe

Comprehensive brochure from the United States Lines developed to provide information and photographs that describe the ships and amenities geared to Americans traveling to Europe. Also contains brief information on sites to see in European countries along with passport information.

1938 Brochure Spring and Summer Travel Number United States Lines Log

1938 USL Brochure covers the Officers and Staff, Scenes of Voyages and Passengers, Interior Photographs and Sailings to Europe.

 

1923-07-18 SS President Van Buren

 

 

Front Cover, Musical Concert Program on Board the SS President Monroe on 10 August 1922 in Aid of Seamen's Charities.

 

1922-07-20 Musical Concert Program - SS President Monroe

Early United States Lines Musical Program to raise funds for various seamen's charities, on board the SS President Monroe, performed for cabin class passengers in the Veranda Cafe on 20 July 1920.

1922-08-10 Musical Concert Program - SS President Monroe

Musical Concert Program to raise funds for various seamen's charitable organizations, held for cabin class passengers on 10 August 1922 in the Veranda Cafe onboard the SS President Monroe of the United States Lines.

1926-10-03 Musical Concert Program - SS Republic

Musical Concert Program held on the SS Republic of the United States Line on 3 October 1926 to benefit various seamen's charities and the Actors Fund of the United States. Talented passengers likely performed in the concert in addition to the Ship's Orchestra.

1928-06-21 Concert Program - SS Leviathan

Elegant Concert program and variety show for second class passengers on board the United States Lines Flagship -- the SS Leviathan. This production from Thursday, 21 June 1928 featured classical and popular music numbers, vocalists, readings, and a scene from a comedy playlet.

1931-07-07 SS George Washington Farewell Dinner Menu and Musical Program

Stately Farewell Dinner Bill of Fare and Musical Program, complete with a photograph of the dinner guests for this 7 July 1931 meal on board the SS George Washington of the United States Lines. Includes Photo of Dinner Guest at Farewell Gala.

 

 

Menu Cover, Farewell Dinner Bill of Fare & Musical Program, SS George Washington, USL 1931

 

1922-08-10 SS President Monroe Farewell Dinner Menu

Vintage Captain's Farewell Dinner Bill of Fare from 10 August 1922 featured Poached Halibot, Normandie, Lamb Cutlets, Dartois, and Glacé au Chocolat for dessert. A list of chief officers for this voyage was included.

1923-10-19 SS President Arthur Dinner Menu

Vintage Dinner Bill of Fare from Friday, 19 October 1923 featured Boiled Beef Tongue à la Florentine, Roast Fresh Ham, Hollandaise, and Isabella Cake for dessert. The menu, published in English and German, included a Concert Program.

1923-10-21 SS President Arthur Dinner Menu

Vintage Dinner Bill of Fare from Sunday, 21 October 1923 featured Calf’s Head en Tortue, Roast Loin Pork Paysanne, and Sponge Cake for dessert. The menu, published in English and German, included a Concert Program.

1923-10-22 SS President Arthur Dinner Menu

Vintage Dinner Bill of Fare from Monday, 22 October 1923 featured Patties à la Reine, Fried Lamb Tongue Tomato Sauce, and Jelly Rolls for dessert. The menu, published in English and German, included a Concert Program.

1923-10-23 SS President Arthur Breakfast Menu

Vintage Breakfast Bill of Fare from 23 October 1923 featured Scrambled Eggs aux Crevettes, Fried Flounder with Melted Butter, and Calfs Liver with Bacon. The Bill of Fare selections were printed in both English and German.

1923-10-23 SS President Arthur Luncheon Menu

Vintage Luncheon Bill of Fare from 23 October 1923 featured Beef Roulade, Sauce Piquante, Chicken Maryland, and Blueberry Pie for dessert.

1923-10-23 SS President Arthur Dinner Menu

Vintage Dinner Bill of Fare from Tuesday, 23 October 1923 featured Tripe à la Viennoise, Roast Surrey Capon, Bread Sauce, and Richelieu Cake for dessert. The menu, published in English and German, included a Concert Program.

1923-10-24 SS President Arthur Breakfast Menu

Vintage Breakfast Bill of Fare from Tuesday, 24 October 1923 featured extensive offerings including Fried Cod Fish Steaks in Tomato Sauce, Omelette Sarah Bernhardt, and Poached Eggs Rothschild. The Bill of Fare selections were printed in English and German.

1923-10-24 SS President Arthur Luncheon Menu

Vintage Luncheon Bill of Fare from 24 October 1923 featured Baked Weakfish Créole, English Steak & Kidney Pie, and Compote of Apricots for dessert.

1923-10-24 SS President Arthur Dinner Menu

Vintage Dinner Bill of Fare from Wednesday, 24 October 1923 featured Veal Cutlets à la Pojarski, Fricandelles aux Morilles, and Brabanter Tart for dessert. The menu, published in English and German, included a Concert Program.

1923-10-25 SS President Arthur Breakfast Menu

Vintage Breakfast Bill of Fare from Thursday, 25 October 1923 featured an extensive selection including Fried Eel in Drawn Butter, Scrambled Eggs à la Kleber, and Goulas à la Minute. The Bill of Fare selections were printed in English and German.

1923-10-25 SS President Arthur Luncheon Menu

Vintage Luncheon Bill of Fare from 25 October 1923 featured Fried Flounder, Potato Salad, Hamburger Steak with Onion Sauce, and Peach Pie for dessert.

1923-10-25 SS President Arthur Dinner Menu Card

Vintage Dinner Bill of Fare Card from Thursday, 25 October 1923 featured Croquettes of Beef Tenderloin, Mushroom sauce, Prague Ham à la Metternich, and Raisin Tartlets for dessert. The menu, published in English and German, included a Concert Program.

1923-10-26 SS President Arthur Breakfast Menu

Vintage Breakfast Bill of Fare from 26 October 1923 featured fruits, Cereals, Fish, Eggs & Pancakes, Meats, Mutton Chops, Potatoes and Toast.

1923-10-27 SS President Arthur Breakfast Menu and Concert Program

Vintage Breakfast Bill of Fare and Concert Program from 27 October 1923 offered Salted Cod and Fried Sole along with Stewed Apples for the Day's addition to standard American breakfast fare.

1923-10-27 SS President Arthur Luncheon Menu

Vintage Luncheon Bill of Fare from 27 October 1923 featured Boiled Turbot, Horseradish Butter, Creamed Pork Tenderloin, and Blackberry Pie for dessert.

1923-10-27 SS President Arthur Dinner Menu

Vintage Dinner Bill of Fare from Saturday, 27 October 1923 featured Croquettes of Beef Tenderloin, Mushroom sauce, Baked Bluefish Creole, and Linzer Cake for dessert. The menu, published in English and German, included a Concert Program.

1923-10-28 SS President Arthur Breakfast Menu

Sunday's Breakfast Bill of Fare from 28 October 1923 featured Fried Codfish Steak, Fried Flounder, Rossini Eggs à la Turbigo and Diamond Stew in addition to traditional American fare.

1923-10-28 SS President Arthur Luncheon Menu

Vintage Luncheon Bill of Fare from 28 October 1923 featured Filet of Sole, Sauce Rémoulade, Corned Shoulder of Pork, Red Cabbage, and Apricot Pie for dessert.

1923-10-28 SS President Arthur Dinner Menu

Vintage Dinner Bill of Fare from Sunday, 28 October 1923 featured Sweetbread Patties à la Toulouse, Salmi of Gosling Chipolatas, and Wiener Cake for dessert. The menu, published in English and German, included a Concert Program.

1923-10-29 SS President Arthur Dinner Menu

Vintage Dinner Bill of Fare from Monday, 29 October 1923 featured Yorkshire Ham Glace & Asparagus Tips, Chicken Croquettes Petits Pois, and Pound Cake for dessert. The menu, published in English and German, included a Concert Program.

1923-11-01 SS President Arthur Breakfast Menu

Vintage Breakfast Bill of Fare from Thursday, 1 November 1923 onboard the SS President Arthur featured Omelette à la Jurassienne, Shirred Eggs Meyerbeer, and Fricandelles, Onion Sauce in addition to tradational American fare.

1926-09-26 SS Leviathan Farewell Dinner Menu

Vintage Farewell Dinner Menu from Sunday, 26 September 1926 on board the SS Leviathan of the United States Lines featured Boiled Brook Trout, Sauce Niçoise, Boiled Potatoes, Roast Sirloin of Beef, Southern Style, and Pudding Milanaise, Strawberry Sauce for dessert.

1926-10-03 SS Republic Farewell Dinner Menu and Music Program

Vintage Farewell Dinner Bill of Fare and Music Program from 3 October 1926 featured Filet of Solo à la Doria, Saddle of Lamb, Brabant, and Profiteroles Glacé au Chocolat for dessert. This beautifully scripted Bill of Fare also listed chief officers of the ship.

1928-05-10 SS Leviathan Farewell Dinner Menu

Vintage Farewell Dinner Bill of Fare from 10 May 1928 featured Reindeer Steak, Poivrade, Plovers à la Souvaroff, and Soufflé Confiture for dessert.

1928-06-10 SS Leviathan Private Dinner Party

Elaborate Private Party Dinner Bill of Fare. This Sunday Dinner hosted by Mr. S. B. Applebaum featured Filet of Sole and Roast Vermont Turkey with Crème Dame Blanche. This four-page Bill of Fare was bound by an elegant Red, White and Blue striped and tasseled string.

1932-07-06 SS Washington Luncheon Menu Card

Expansive luncheon Bill of Fare selections make this Tourist Cabin Luncheon a feast for the passenges. The Bill of Fare features a chef's special consisting of Home Cured Corned Beef and Steamed Green Cabbage, Boiled New Bermuda Potatoes & Bran Biscuit.

1933-11-22 SS Washington Dinner Menu

Vintage Dinner Bill of Fare from Wednesday, 22 November 1933 on board the SS Washington of the United States Lines featured Veal Tenderloin, Mouquin Style, Vichied Loin of Pork, Périgord Sauce, and Fruit Jell-O, Whipped Cream for dessert.

1933-11-24 SS Washington Dinner Menu

Vintage Tourist Cabin Class Dinner Menu from 24 November 1933 on board the SS Washington of the United States Lines featured Tournedo with Sauce Madeira, Prime Ribs of Beef au Jus, and Neopolitan Ice Cream for dessert.

1933-11-25 SS Washington Dinner Menu

Vintage Tourist Cabin Dinner Bill of Fare from 25 November 1933 featured Boiled Red Snapper, Sauce Américaine, Double Entrecôte, Lyonnaise, and Tutti Frutti Ice Cream for dessert.

1933-11-26 SS Washington Farewell Dinner Menu

Vintage Tourist Cabin Farewell Dinner Menu from 26 November 1933 on board the SS Washington of the United States Lines featured Smoked Ox Tongue with Sauce Florentine, Prime Ribs of Beef au Jus, and Plum Pudding with Sabayon Sauce for dessert.

1933-12-13 SS Washington Private Dinner Menu & Dance

Vintage Private Dinner Menu & Dance from 13 December 1933 on board the SS Washington of the United States Lines featured Bluefish au Four with Cardinale, Filet Mignon à l'Alsatienne, and Cup aux Fraises for dessert.

1934-04-07 SS President Harding Dinner Menu Card

Vintage Dinner Bill of Fare Card from Saturday, 7 April 1934 on board the SS President Harding of the United States Lines featured Calf’s Head en Tortue, Baked Mackerel, Mexicaine, and FeaturedDessert for dessert. The reverse side contained weather notations by the passengers.

1934-04-08 SS President Harding Breakfast Menu Card

Colorful breakfast Bill of Fare card from the SS President Harding offered a Third Cabin viewpoint through the passenger's diary of the day written on the back of the menu.

1934-04-10 SS President Harding Luncheon Menu

Vintage Third Cabin Luncheon Menu from 10 April 1934 on board the SS President Harding of the United States Lines featured Braised Short Ribs of Beef, Fermière, Irish Lamb Stew, and Bon Bon Biscuits for dessert. Reverse Side contained personal notes from the passenger regarding voyage.

1934-04-12 SS President Harding Farewell Dinner Menu

Vintage Farewell Dinner Bill of Fare from 12 April 1934 featured Fried Plaice, Meunière, Baked Irish Ham, and Neapolitan Ice Cream for dessert. The Bill of Fare included the Credo for the United States Lines.

1934-04-13 SS President Harding Breakfast Menu Card

Vintage Third Cabin Breakfast Bill of Fare Card from 13 April 1934 featured Salt Mackerel, Clear Butter, Scrambled Eggs with Bacon or Plain, and Fried Country Sausage.

1934-04-13 SS President Harding Dinner Menu Card

Vintage Third Cabin Dinner Bill of Fare Card from Friday, 13 April 1934 featured Lamb Stew à la Bretonne, Roast Beef au Jus, and Chocolate Pudding, Vanilla Sauce for dessert.

1934-07-24 SS Manhattan Dinner Menu

Elegant Vintage Second Cabin Dinner Bill of Fare from Tuesday, 24 July 1934 featured Fresh Sole Sauté, Meunière - Potato Salad, Râgout Financière en Cassolette, Fleurons , and Soufflé Mercedes for dessert. The four page Bill of Fare included a Musical Program.

1935-04-12 SS Manhattan Dinner Menu

Vintage Dinner Bill of Fare from Friday, 12 April 1935 featured Fried Filet of Lemon Sole, Sauce Cavour, Stuffed Egg à la Parisienne - Fried Parsley, and Crêpes Parisienne for dessert. The Bill of Fare included a Musical Program.

1935-04-13 SS Manhattan Dinner Menu

Vintage Dinner Bill of Fare from 13 April 1935 featured a very extensive selection including Lobster à la Newburg, Chester Straws, Fresh Ox Tongue, Sauce Polonaise, and Cheese Soufflé for dessert. A musical program accompanied this menu.

1935-04-21 SS Manhattan Easter Dinner Menu

Elegant tassle string bound Easter Dinner Bill of Fare featured Boiled River Salmon, Sauce Colbert, Roast Stuffed Vermont Turkey and Legs and Saddle of Easter Lamb. Music Program included.

1954-08-10 SS America Captain's Dinner Menu

Large Format Vintage Captain's Dinner Bill of Fare from Tuesday, 10 August 1954 featured Lobster à la Newburg, Grilled Choice T-Bone Steak, Sauce Bercy, and Compote: Preserved Black Bing Cherries for dessert. The Bill of Fare includes autographs and statements by the guests.

 

Menu Cover, Captain's Dinner Menu, SS America, United States Lines, August 1954

 

Leviathan: "The World's Greatest Ship" Volume 1

 

1972 - Leviathan: "The World's Greatest Ship" Volume 1

In September 1911, workers in the shipyard of Blohm & Voss in Hamburg started on a new ship that would be christened VATERLAND. The world would come to know her best as the LEVIATHAN, one of the grandest and most storied ocean liners of all time.

1974 - Leviathan: "The World's Greatest Ship" Volume 2

United States Lines: "LEVIATHAN: The World's Greatest Ship, Volume 2", by Frank Braynard, published in 1974, hardbound with original dust jacket, 380 pages. Braynard has created what is probably the most extensive history ever written about a single ship.

1976- Leviathan: "The World's Greatest Ship" Volume 3

This book is volume 3 and picks up the LEVIATHAN saga as the ship begins transatlantic service for the United States Lines in 1923 and continues through 1926. Braynard tells the story of life aboard, prominent passengers, and her problems as a government owned ship. There are hundreds of great photos which makes for wonderful browsing and reading.

1978 - Leviathan: "The World's Greatest Ship" Volume 4

This book is volume 4 and picks up the LEVIATHAN saga in 1926 during the height of the ship's popularity and ends with the stock market crash in 1929. The ship's fortunes fell quickly after that. There are hundreds of great photos, including a section of color ones, which makes for wonderful browsing and reading.

1981 - Leviathan: "The World's Greatest Ship" Volume 5

This book is volume 5 and picks up the LEVIATHAN saga as the Great Depression starts and deeply cuts into passenger loads. The great ship produces nothing but red ink for USL and even bargain cruises do not help. The ship is put into lay-up and offered for sale. There are hundreds of great photos which makes for wonderful browsing and reading.

1982 - Leviathan: "The World's Greatest Ship" Volume 6

This book is the final volume and picks up the LEVIATHAN saga in her final years of lay-up in Hoboken. She sailed a few voyages in 1934 but otherwise spent her final years rusting at the pier. In 1938 her old boilers were fired one last time for a slow journey to the breakers. Many large photos of her abandoned interiors, as well as a fold-out color Albert Brenet painting of the ship approaching the breakers. There are hundreds of great photos which makes for wonderful browsing and reading.

2003 - Picture History of the SS United States

An international authority on ocean liners and the author of more than 45 books on the subject, William Miller has had a lifelong love affair with these magnificent ships--including the SS United States. Like many of this ship's loyal following, Miller was awed by its size, beautiful lines, aura of glamour, and speed. (Its maiden voyage in 1952 was a record-breaking one.) All these elements are captured in a book that pays tribute to this symbol of brilliant maritime technology.

 

The George Washington - America’s Largest Passenger Liner (1921)

The George Washington, distinguished by war service and peace missions, now taken over by the U. S. Mail Steamship Company (United States Lines)

 

Letterhead Stationery, SS Leviathan

Letterhead correspondence stationery with matching envelope for the most famous ship SS Leviathan of the United States Lines.

 

The "Big Five” of the United States Shipping Board

Our Bid for the Transatlantic Passenger Trade

IF you should drop into the headquarters of the Shipping Board in New York seeking information, or on a business call, you would probably hear more than once the phrase, "The big Five." It is the Shipping Board's generic term for the largest and choicest of the transatlantic passenger steamers that were shut up in American ports and held there by the blockading force of British cruisers outside, and upon our entrance into the war were seized by the United States Government.

After the Armistice we obtained permanent possession of these ships, which form the leading members of a fleet whose total tonnage amounted to some 600,000 tons.

Although it is an old story, we cannot forbear making reference just here to the very able work which was done by our Navy Department in repairing the wreckage which had been wrought upon the engines of most of these ships by their German officers, just prior to our entrance into the war.

Steam cylinders and steam chests, from which the Germans had smashed large fragments, were repaired by electrically welding new sections in place and reboring and refacing them. The repairs were so efficient that we were able to put the whole of the fleet, or as much of it as we wished, into our transport service, and the vessels did yeoman work in carrying our Army across the Atlantic.

After the Armistice the various transports, or most of them, were tied up to different docks until the Shipping Board was able to, overhaul the engines and re store the interior passenger accommodations. Much of this work has been done, and some of the largest of the ships are today in operation. Upon others, the work of reconditioning involves so much expense that it has not yet even been commenced. Conspicuous, of course, among these is that great ship, the “Leviathan.” In the order of their size and importance, the “big five“are: the "Leviathan," the "George Washington," the "America," the “Agamemnon," and the "Mount Vernon." In addition, for the particulars of these vessels, reference is made to the accompanying table.

Particulars of the Shipping Board’s “Big Five”

Measure-ment

Leviathan
Ex-Vaterland

George Washington

America
Ex-Amerika

Agamemnon
Ex-Kaiser Willhelm II

Mount Vernon
Ex-Kron-prinzessin Cecile

Length of Deck, feet

927.5

699

669

684.3

685.3

Beam, feet

100

78

74

72.25

72.25

Depth, feet

57.1

50.1

47

40

40.5

Gross Tons

54,292

23,788

21,144

19,360

19,503

Speed in Knots

23

17

16

23

19

Passengers, First Class

 

485

450

600

600

Passengers, Second Class

 

440

250

320

301

Passengers, Third Class

 

1,771

1,500

663

657

Leading particulars of the five large passenger ships with which the United  States Shipping Board will compete for the transatlantic passenger trade

The “Leviathan"

With the single exception of the “Majestic," which has been assigned by the Shipping Board to the International Merchant Marine for operation, the “Leviathan” is the largest ship afloat, the “Majestic,” (ex “Bismark") is six feet longer.

These two liners were built side by side upon the building way of the firm of Blohm and Voss at their celebrated Hamburg yard, from the designs of Dr. Foerster, the chief naval architect of the Hamburg-American Company, for whom the ships were constructed.

The “Leviathan” then the "Vaterland," made her maiden trip to New York in the early summer of 1914, and after two or three voyages,  the war found her at the Hamburg-American dock at Hoboken, where she remained until the Spring of 1917.

The “Leviathan" is 927 1/2 feet long on deck; her beam is 100 feet; and her molded depth is 57.1 feet. The gross tonnage is 54,292 tons, and the four turbines of 90,000 horsepower, driving four shafts, were designed to give her a speed of 23 knots, which she is able to make today.

The ship was most sumptuously furnished and decorated in the German style, the special features being a large assembly room about 75 x 55 feet and about 25 feet high, which is entirely free from supporting columns, the great roof being carried by overhead plate girders, extending from side wall to side wall.

Another remark able feature is the Ritz-Carlton restaurant of about equal width and height and about 55 feet wide. There is also a main dining room, which measures about 115 feet by nearly 100 feet. Below decks is a Pompeiian swimming pool and a series of electric baths, massage rooms and other equipment of the same character.

In preparing the ship for transport service a large number of her elaborate private cabins were torn out to make way for pipe berths for the men; and so far as her decorations were concerned. she was subjected to that all-around wrecking which is involved in turning a passenger vessel of this kind into a transport.

The “Leviathan” Well Cared For

Contrary to the popular impression, which has been created by irresponsible newspaper reporters, the “Leviathan" has been very well cared for during the three years in which she has lain at the Hoboken docks.

A force of some 200 men has kept the machinery, including the main engines, auxiliary pumps, et cetera, in first-class condition. They have been periodically inspected, turned over, and protected against deterioration; and, thanks to the excellence of this care, the ship at a few hours ‘notice would be able to steam out of her dock and make her maximum speed of 23 knots.

In addition, the talk about this valuable ship rusting at her moorings is sheer nonsense. The International Merchant Marine under a contract with the Shipping Board has cared for her, and the patches of red lead paint with which she is disfigured are evidence of the fact that rusting is just the one thing against which the caretaking crew are guarding. The hull is in fine condition, for the ship was built of the best materials and with the careful workmanship, which characterizes the best German shipbuilding yards.

At the same time, it must he confessed that the “Leviathan” is something of a “white elephant;" for it would take between six and seven million dollars to reconstruct the interior passenger accommodations of the ship and refit her to meet American ideas of comfort, decoration and sanitary arrangements.

The work would be enormous, involving the construction of many miles of electric cables, the complete overhauling of her baths and sanitary and general plumbing arrangements, and the redecoration of her great assembly and dining halls and the vast suite of private cabins. She stands as a monument to the folly of the Shipping Board during the early part of its administration; for it is a fact that the International Merchant Marine Company made a bid of four million dollars for this ship—a reasonable offer if we bear in mind the enormous cost of her reconditioning.

This was turned down, and Heaven alone knows what will become of the ship! Any firm that bought her would have to spend six or seven million dollars upon her and would be hard put to it, even with full cabins, in get any profits out of the venture.

The "George Washington"

The next largest ship, the well-known “George Washington," in which the President of the United States so frequently crossed to France during the peace negotiations, has been entirely renovated and is now in service. The engines and general mechanical plant are in first-class condition, and she has been entirely rebuilt and redecorated throughout.

This ship belongs in that class which used to be called “intermediate express steamers,” in which a large freight-carrying capacity is combined with commodious passenger accommodations. The “George Washington," according to the American register of ships, is exactly 699 feet in length; her beam is 78.2 feet, and her molded depth, 50.1 feet, gross tonnage is 23,788 tons, and her engines of 20,000 horsepower, drive the ship at a sustained sea speed of 17 knots. She has accommodations for 485 first-class, 440 second-class and 1,771 third-class passengers—a total of 2,696. The cost of renovating the interior of the ship was $2,000,000.

The “America”

Another fine vessel of the same class, built by Harland and Wolff, of Belfast, but older than the “George Washington,” is the “America.”  Her dimensions are: Length of deck, 669 feet, beam 74 feet, molded depth, 47 feet.  Her gross tonnage is 21,144 tons, and she is capable of a sustained sea speed of 16 knots. 

She can carry 450 first-class, 250 second-class and 1,500 third-class passengers.  The engines of the “America” have been partially rebuilt and subjected to a thorough overhauling, and today are in excellent shape.  Passenger accommodations have been entirely rebuilt and redecorated and this part of the work is attractive, highly artistic and very restful to the eye.

The “Mount Vernon” and “Agamemnon"

These two ships, built for the North German Lloyd Line, in their day held the blue ribbon of the Atlantic conjointly with the “Deutschland" of the Hamburg American Line. They are practically sister vessels, and under the German flag they were known as the “Kaiser Wilhelm II” and the “Kronprinzessin Ceciiie." "Kaiser Wilhelm II” equaled the record speed of 231-3 knots made by the “Deutschland” for the whole crossing of the Atlantic, and both ships were exceedingly popular in their day.

After they came into the possession of the Shipping Board, they were overhauled. The work on the “Mount Vernon” (formerly the “Cecilie”) was done at the Boston Navy, where the engines were overhauled from the engine foundations up; they are now in first-class running order, Work on the “Agamemnon" was done at the New York Navy Yard. Renovation of the cabin accommodations in these two vessels is not yet complete; but we understand it is to be put through by firms acting under contract with the Shipping Board.

The dimensions of the “Agamemnon” are: length 684.3 feet: beam, 72.3 feet; depth, 40 feet; gross tonnage, T9360 ions, and the engines today are capable of driving her at a speed of 23 knots. She has accommodations for 600 first-class, 320 second-class, and 663 third-class passengers.

The five ships mentioned above, with the exception of the “Leviathan,” have been operated under contract with the Shipping Board by the lately defunct United States Mail Service. At present, they are being operated by a company of patriotic officials, who are giving their services for nothing, the company receiving a certain sum from the Shipping Board to cover the expenses of running the ships.

The “Majestic” and “Homeric” of the White Star Line

When the war broke out, the “Bismarck,” sister ship to the “Leviathan," then known as the “Vaterland," was under construction at the Blohm and Voss yards at Hamburg. Little was done upon her during the war; but since the Treaty representatives of the White Star Line and of the German builders are working together to outfit her with stores and minor equipment.

She will be operated for the Shipping Board who will pay the company a certain sum for that service. On taking her place in the New York-Cherbourg-Southampton service, she will conform in the details of her passenger fittings to the standards of the “Olympic," with which she will ply in that service.

She is about 10,000 tons larger than the “Olympic,” and about 2,000 tons larger than the “Leviathan,” or 56,000 tons. The increase in size is due to the fact that after she was designed, it was determined to introduce two additional frames amidship, giving her an increased length of six feet, so that, according to the American Maritime Register, her length on deck will be 938.6 feet.

This great ship will have 1,245 staterooms, including 472 first-class, 212 second-class and 561 third-class cabins. The dimensions of the vessel are enormous. The tops of the three smokestacks are 144 feet above the Water line of the ship and 184 feet above the keel, which is about equal to the height of an ordinary 14-story building.

There is a great suite of halls on the boat deck, including a lounge 26 feet high, with floor dimensions 76 by feet. The main dining room is 117 feet long by 98 feet wide, and its ceiling is 31 feet high. The flrst-class restaurant is 110 feet long by 54 feet wide, with a ceiling 23 feet high. There is an unbroken view through the center of these halls of 250 feet. This is made possible by the arrangement of the uptakes to the smokestacks, which are brought up, from the boiler rooms, near the sides of the ship in two parts, which unite above the saloon deck.

The grand staircases are also built on the sides instead of in the center of the vessel. These arrangements insure a clear sweep unimpeded space throughout the great public rooms. The estimated sea speed of the ship is about 23 knots, though it is probable that, in common with all big, fast passenger steamers today, that in order to economize fuel, she will be run at a lower speed. Her crew of over 1000 men, the full complement of the ship will be more than 5000 souls.

Another fine ship that will be operated by the International Merchant Marine is the “Homeric" (formerly the “Columbus"), which was practically completed for the North German Lloyd Line at the outbreak of the war. She was designed to be an improvement on the "George Washington,” which she resembles in general appearance. She is 775.6 feet long; her beam is 83.1 feet and draft 33.8 feet. The gross tonnage is 32,000.

“The Big Five,” in the Scientific American: The Monthly Journal of Practical Information, Volume 125-A, Number 17, New York, November 1921, P. 9-10

 

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