S.S. President Grant, 1907


North Atlantic Liners 1899-1913

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Two new ships launched by Harland & Wolff for International Mercantile Marine Co (IMM) – J.P. Morgan’s attempt to corner the shipping trade – were laid up in Belfast until 1907 when acquired by Hamburg-America. The only six-masted passenger vessels (intended to carry sail), Presidents Lincoln and Grant were well known on the Hamburg-New York service. With 17,000 tons cargo capacity the needed quick turn-round so an array of derricks worked the 11 hatches, hence 6 masts. 1st and 2nd class passengers were accommodated amidships, 3rd class aft for 1,000; 2,000 more forward in steerage. Fares were low. Britain to New York cost £14 to £18 1st class and £10 2nd. President Grant debuted in September 1907. Several years of successful service followed. With WW I the U.S. appropriated them as transports. The President Lincoln was torpedoed, but without heavy loss of life. Later the US found herself with a large passenger fleet of old ex-German and modern US ships. President Grant was chartered to the newly formed United States Mail Line which soon failed, and the State took over and called it United States Lines. President Grant was reconditioned and converted to burn oil in the early 20’s. As the Republic she re-entered service in 1924, a two-class ship carrying some 620 cabin- and 1,200 tourist-class passengers. For some years she plied on her original route between New York and Germany, making calls en route at Cobh and Channel ports. The ship finished her commercial career in 1931, when she was returned to the U.S. Government and laid up. The Second World War made her troop transport A P 33 but her speed had deteriorated to about 12 knots. Post-war years saw a final return to a lay-up berth from which, in 1952, she made her last trip to the breakers.

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Dimensions 48.5 × 23 cm