R.M.S. Olympic, 1911

North Atlantic Liners 1899-1913

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White Star responded to Cunard’s Lusitania and Mauretania by placing orders for a far larger pair of moderate speed – the Olympic and Titanic. Olympic had a successful career, Titanic, as the world knows, did not. By far the world’s largest ship, she had triple screws and a novel system whereby each of the wing propellers was driven by a set of four-cylinder, triple-expansion engines while the exhaust steam from these was led into a low-pressure turbine which drove the central propeller. Amidships the Olympic had eight decks. Her hull was high and, unlike her Cunard rivals, of three-island type, resulting in a loftier stern. Of her four funnels, the last was a dummy. She entered the Southampton-Cherbourg-New York service in June 1911, a fortnight after the launching of Titanic. The loss of Titanic sent Olympic to Belfast for major alterations: extra lifeboats, an inner skin, heightening of bulkheads, and construction of others so the ship to stay afloat even if six compartments were flooded. These changes reduced her passenger accommodation by 300 in the first class and increased her tonnage by 1,000. The Great War saw Titanic’s replacement, Britannic, sunk by a mine in 1916. Olympic sank a U boat in the Atlantic that had tried to torpedo her. Converted to oil she returned to the Southampton New York run. The great depression culminated in the absorption of the White Star fleet into that of the Cunard creating Cunard-White Star Line in 1934 and in May she ran down and sank the Nantucket lightship with the loss of all hands. In 1935 she was retired and broken up.

Additional information

Dimensions 48.5 × 23 cm