Aquitania and Titanic design same family


May 17, 2006
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SS Aquitania served as a War Bride ship when my Mother came over to Halifax in 1946. She has a framed pic of this ship and it looks remarkably like Titanic, Olympic and Britannic. Was this a common design after 1912 and approx how many ships had this similar look. Just another in a long list of trivial questions but interesting!
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
Barry, there were a total of 14 four stack liners that were built and you can find links to information about them at History's Fourteen Four-Funneled Liners

Generally, though not always, the four stackers were the largest vessels and some ships had a dummy forth stack built into the design because of the prestige and the perception that they were the largest and therefore safest.

Their outward resemblance notwithstanding, when one looked at the details, it's easy to see that they were very different vessels not only externally, but internally as well.
 
May 12, 2002
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Hi Barry,

White Star built the Olympic class in response to Cunard's Lusitania and Mauretania. They aimed for a slightly different sector of the market though, the Olympics being fast enough and very big, rather than big enough and very fast. Aquitania was Cunard's reponse to White Star's success in this sector, being very close to Olympic in size and style. I always thought the Olympic class were much nicer looking ships, and that Auquitania was something of a poor copy. However, there are plenty out there who will disagree with me.

Cheers

Paul
 
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Brent Holt

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Author John Maxtone Graham once called Aquitania "Cunard's White Star Liner" because of the design resemblance. Aquitania was very much Cunard's version of the Olympic Class. Hapag did the same thing with the Imperator and her sisters. White Star had introduced a new type of liner that the other companies strove to copy and exceed in every way possible.
"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."

Brent
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Hapag did the same thing with the Imperator and her sisters.<<

Unfortunately, they threw in some of their own vices at the expense of some virtues. The Olympic's did a nice job of avoiding the topweight problems of their competitors and to my understanding, were very good seaboats in terms of stability and handling.

Also, didn't the Aquatania and Balin's giants have longitudinal subdivision? The Olympic's did not until that double shell was built around the propulsion plant post Titanic.
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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Cunard's rivals faced a problem. How would they compete with Lusitania and Mauretania?

There was no point in building something a knot or so faster. They would need another four knots or so to be appreciably faster and impress the passengers. A 30 knot 35,000GRT ship could be built, but she'd gobble up coal and money. A 30 knot, 80,000GRT ship was a bit big to be considered in 1907-08.

They decided not to compete on speed and so they built ships of around Olympic size, or a bit bigger. They hoped for adequate speed and increased stability and comfort. They didn't always succeed.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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>Hapag did the same thing with the Imperator

Work on the Imperator commenced on June 10, 1910, four months and ten days before the launch of the Olympic. So, unless HAPAG had some really well placed 'moles' in WSL, the influence of the Olympic class, other than that they existed, would have been minimal. The Imperator represented the next step in the evolutionary process after the successful Amerika of 1905~a German ship, BTW constructed at Harland and Wolff, that represented the moment when HAPAG stepped out of the speed race and began building liners that stressed luxury, just as the Olympic represented the next evolutionary step after the Big 4. In both cases, HAPAG and White Star, the resulting ships were just larger, refined, versions of what they already had, and claims that these liners were in some way revolutionary are really stretching the point.

>Author John Maxtone Graham once called Aquitania "Cunard's White Star Liner" because of the design resemblance.

He was a bit off-target when he wrote that. Aquitania was Cunard's HAPAG Liner, internally decorated, in fact, by one of the pair of designers who did the interiors for the German superships, and she bore little, if any, resemblance to the Olympic class of liner. Her lounge strongly resembled that of the France, but the rest of her rooms had a decidedly Ballin-esque flavor. One can view her as an "evolved" Caronia or Carmania with large doses of HAPAG Beaux Arts thrown in to the mix more easily than one can relate her to the WSL trio.

"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."

Yes, I am sure that HAPAG was flattered, indeed, to see the Amerika's a la carte restaurant, and Turkish Bath co-opted for the Olympic class. HAPAG and Cunard must both have been delighted to see expanded versions of their suites de luxe incorporated into the new trio.
 
Jan 5, 2001
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quote:

He was a bit off-target when he wrote that.
I'm not sure I can agree as far as the exteriors go, and if I remember rightly, he was referring to exterior profiles. Of course, Aquitania's rather more cluttered -- even boxy -- superstructure did not have Olympic's clean lines.

quote:

Aquitania was Cunard's HAPAG Liner, internally decorated, in fact, by one of the pair of designers who did the interiors for the German superships, and she bore little, if any, resemblance to the Olympic class of liner.
Davies' work did undoubtedly take influence from HAPAG-style interiors, although it's worthwhile noting that Lusitania's James Millar did interior work. Mewes, of course, finished Bismarck/Majestic's designs before he died in 1914, yet he was under contract by HAPAG anyway in 1912-13. As I recall, Davies' focused on the larger public spaces. By the time of Aquitania's construction, the expenditure was focused on more lavish furnishings, while decor remained elegant yet simplier than on earlier vessels. This is also notable in some of the first class suites, as Peskett felt some of Olympic's suites were rather garish in their decoration. In some respects, I agree. The Prince of Wales once remarked that his suite on C-deck was 'too grand for me'!

Aquitania's interiors were very different to Olympic's overall, as you say, yet there were notable similarities. For instance, Cunard were worried that the Jacobean style grill would have an overly close resemblance to Olympic's dining saloon in terms of the ceiling and other decoration details. In 1913, they decided to alter some of the arrangements citing the Olympic similarity as a problem.

Aquitania's first class restaurant and foyer have a very similar floorplan to the 'Olympics', although I think Mark Warren also noted the difference in decor -- believing that more influence had been taken from Amerika. The Cunarder's famous long gallery was partially inspired by the aft corridor on Olympic between the lounge and smoke room. Greatly enlarged of course, yet the basic concept was considered after observing passengers relaxed and playing cards on the White Star ship in 1911. In turn, Aquitania's enclosed promenade areas are said to have been inspired by Titanic. I may have seen a primary source for that, too.

In general details, Cunard did consider something like twenty-five of Olympic's features and incorporated many of them into Aquitania's design. It's true that in many ways Aquitania was more similar to some of the HAPAG ships, yet overall I'm not sure this was to the extent you suggest.

Best wishes,

Mark.​
 

lance king

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Feb 5, 2007
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I believe that the aquitania cost about 25% more than an olympic class ship and was more technologically advanced, such as having four sets of turbine machinery and having turbo generators instead of reciprocating generators. I read that the aquitania produced electricity at 225 volts( i assume DC) while the olympics produced 100 volts DC. Why the difference I don't know, perhaps someone out there could enlighten me. I prefer the olympic class just because of the visualisation of dozens of men shoveling coal into the furnaces to make the giant steam engines come alive, and because it seems to me that the olympics were the perfect answer to the idea of efficiency and making money, and that they were at a technological tipping point and they looked really cool.
 
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Brent Holt

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In terms of efficiency, Aquitania and Olympic were nearly tied.

Coal consumption per horsepower per hour:
Aquitania-1.38/Olympic-1.4

April 1935 fuel oil use data:
Olympic 1.075 tons per mile at 21.8 knots
Aquitania 1.170 tons per mile at 22.6 knots

1934 operating costs per voyage:
Olympic £27,962
Aquitania £31,811

As you can see, the Olympic was a very efficient vessel for her type.
I am skeptical that Aquitania cost 25% more than Olympic to build. That figure sounds rather high.

Brent

Sources: Power of the Great Liners by Denis Griffiths.
RMS Olympic's Retirement by Mark Chirnside. (internet article)
Additional info from Mark as well.
 
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Félix

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We must bear in mind that HAPAG also had a competition from the Norddeutscher Lloyd with a quartet of very fast ships, and that the very fast HAPAG ship Deutschland had had vibration problems, so they decided to solve the problem in the same way o the White Star Line, a trio of luxurious giants, which were fast enough to mantain a weekly schedulde.
 

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