Conte Di Savoia and Rex


David Whan

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Oct 7, 2004
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Hello

Just been here a very short time as a member but love all the messages and the website itself is a font of knowledge!!!

However, I am looking for any information on the Rex and Conte di Savoia. I have read the posts and seen the pics on here. But I am looking for exterior and interior shots and if possible the deck plans. Has anybody seen them?

Man Thanx.

Contedisavoia
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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Hello, David:

There are at least four easily found books containing histories of the Rex and Conte di Savoia, each of which has its own strength:

Rex and Conte di Savoia (Frank Braynard)
The Lido Fleet (Peter C. Kohler- an exhaustive history of the Italian Line. Sold via eBay and worth the investment)
Transatlantici (Maurizio Eliseo and Paolo Piccione)
Six Wonderful Days (lavish catalogue for the Italian Line art exhibit in Genoa)

There is also one work by Maurizio Eliseo dedicated entirely to the Rex, but I have not read it and cannot vouch for its contents. Of the books, I'd say buy Peter Kohler's first (best text) and Transatlantici second (best illustrations) but make sure you buy the full size hard cover English text version and not the smaller edition initially released.

Italia heavily promoted their two flagships, and there were many 'photo illustrations only' brochures issued for all four classes. The Ca. 1934 hardcover ones are prohibitively expensive, but good copies of the others can often be found for $20 or less.

I have interior shots of all of the public rooms in all four classes (First, Special, Second, Third) are there any in particular for which you are looking? The respective Third Classes aboard the two ships are a study in contrasts -that of the Rex was quite florid and looked like First Class aboard one of the Lancastria class Cunard vessels of the 1920s, while Conte di Savoia might be described, charitably, as minimalist Art Deco.

The one thing I do not have are the deckplans, but the internal layouts for the two liners are discussed at length in Braynard and Kohler's books.

The one thing I am looking for and have not been able to find are photos of the portion of the Rex which survived as late as 1958.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Special CLass was an Italian Line innovation, and can be seen- as you said- as "First Class Minus" or "Second Class Plus." THe public rooms were elegant, the cabins were large and, as you might expect, it was discontinued (1936) and never returned - the cabins were added to the Second Class roster, but I do not know what became of the redundant public rooms.
 

David Whan

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Oct 7, 2004
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Hello Jim

Thank you for all your information regarding the Rex and Conte Di Savoia. It is very much appreciated. I have found that of all the types of liners that were produced throughout the ages, that the italian liners were among the most beautiful, both inside and out.

I am very interested in seeing those photos of all classes of the Rex and Conte Di Savoia if you dont mind sending them to my email. I would greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Dave
 

Jim Kalafus

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Here is a shot of the Rex, making one of her final appearances in NYC, in the winter of 1940. The neutrality markings on the ship's side are a dead giveaway that this shot was post 1939. The ice clogging the river further helps to pin the time down. Rex and Conte di Savoia were the two final superliners to call in NYC, both being withdrawn from service "for the duration" in late spring. At the time Italia assured the public that the ships would resume service "in September, when the war is over" but neither would ever return to NYC.
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Jim Kalafus

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A second view from the same collection, taken from on board as the Rex departs. There would only be a handful more sailings before the externally most attractive liner of the decade would leave NYC forever.
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Jul 9, 2000
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Those tugs look like they're having quite a time of it in the ice. Have you ever considered getting your collection in an album for publication? While it would probably fall in the dreaded "Coffee Table Book" genre, I've seen you post a lot of truly rare and remarkable photos here and I think any such would be a winner!
 

Jim Kalafus

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It has crossed my mind from time to time, but my horror of the coffee table format and regard for those who utilise it are such that I quickly banish the thought. I've made the offer here repeatedly, and will reiterate it, that these photos can be used by (just about) anyone who wishes in any context (article, report, book, documentary...) without fee. Ask and I will send a large high resolution file of whichever photo is required. I only request A) that I be asked, and B) that I be given photo credit. In the last year I've had the pleasure of contributing to several worthwhile projects, and hope to continue doing so for the forseeable future, HOWEVER, a bit of a serious note here- twice I've found laser copies of my pictures being sold on eBay as originals. That is the one area where I draw the line since it is a fraud being perpetuated against myself and whomever buys the photocopy. To the person who did this- don't bother to ask, the answer is "no."

Here is another neat series. Ile de France was leaving an overhaul in St Nazaire in 1933, and a crewman caught these shots of the incomplete Normandie as he passed.
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Jim Kalafus

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Going back for a moment to the two Rex photos. They were taken in Mid February 1940. Rex had arrived on February 15, and departed a few days later, carrying US Undersecretary of State Sumner Wells. Crossing on the 'neutral' Italia ships in 1940 was stressful. There were long delays in Gibraltar as the ships, cargo and mail were searched for contraband. German passengers going and coming were frequently arrested and removed from onboard, and service was reduced to one crossing per month by both superliners. Rex made her final voyage from Genoa on April 30th 1940, and her final voyage from NYC on May 11. Conte di Savoia made her final departure on May 25th, after which Italia cancelled the announced June sailing dates for both liners. Italy declared War against England on June 10th.- Rex would have sailed from NYC on the 11th had she been allowed to complete her final scheduled voyage.
 

David Whan

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Oct 7, 2004
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It is interesting to note that while there are many beautiful websites concerning the Queen Mary, Normandie, P & O liners, that no websites exists that primarily deal with the Rex and Conte di Savoia. With the wealth of information that exists I am quite surprised that no one from Italy or even the United States has created such a website.

Dave
 

Jim Kalafus

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David- It is a good idea. Time permitting I would not mind doing it myself.....but I'll likely be 60 before time permits.

Here is a 1933 image of the Normandie, from a brochure issued only in Hungary, showing her with elliptical dome topped funnels like those later installed aboard Liberte. I've placed this here, rahter than in the Normandie thread, as a complement to the 3 1933 Normandie photos I posted above while in a fugue state
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I thought, for some reason that they were being posted on the Classic Liner Photos thread. Age is hitting me hard....
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Nov 22, 2004
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Hello!

I found this thread yesterday, and am thrilled to come across people knowledgeable about the Conte di Savoia.

My father immigrated to the USA on this ship in November 1939 and arrived in New York on Thanksgiving Day, November 23. Does anyone know where there is information available about specific crossings? This was Genova - New York crossing, possibly with a stop in Naples.

There is a photo which I found on the web -- an aerial view of the Conte di Savoia, the Aquitania, the Queen Mary, the Normandie and the Ile de France (see: the first image at http://www.worldshipny.com/normandie.html). Do any users here know the exact date when this was taken -- The webmaster of the site I mention above says only late November 1939 -- or where and when the image was published?

Over time, I have come across photos of the Conte di Savoia with Manhattan behind her as she steams in or out of New York harbor. For an album I'm assembling for my father's 80th birthday, and the 65th anniversary of his arrival in the US, I'd like to be able to print these images -- not for any commercial use at all. Does anyone have good jpgs of these pictures, or know where I can find them?

This research has been a labor of love, and I have encountered very kind and generous people along the way. As I am going to present this album on Thanksgiving Day, I'd love to have any great and rare images to add to it.

Thank you in advance to anyone who can point me in the right direction
 

Jim Kalafus

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Hello, Margaret: The color photos are from the collection of Charles Sachs, and were used in his liner magazine Ship to Shore back in the 1980s.

I have quite a bit of CdS material for you to use, if you wish. My most "complete" set of material is a scrapbook of about 100 pages kept by a pair of college girls who crossed aboard her in 1936- they saved virtually everything from menus to sugar packet wrappers, and took lots of photos. I shall send you scans of a random selection of items from this collection, as well as photos, within the next few days.

If you have access to a large library, read through the NY Times for November 1939. You'll find the dates for the voyage in the "Shipping arrivals" column. By November, non-American Liner arrivals were becoming rare, more so the "superliners," and frequently photos were run in the Sunday Photo Section showing the few vessels still arriving in regular service. Don't know if any of the Nov. arrivals of CdS were featured, but it is worth looking.

You should go over to eBay and buy a copy of The Lido Fleet, which is an excellent history of Italia aka the Italian Line. Just enter "Italian Line" and you'll find it. It is being sold by the author, and he may be able to help you pin down more specifics about your father's voyage. For some nice photos atm a good price, you can buy William Miller's picture history of the Italian Line at Amazon and get it within two days!

My email is in my profile (just click on my name, to the left) if you wish to give me the email address to which the files are to be sent.

Take care,
Jim
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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Here are scans of a couple of travel agent promo pieces (ca. 1935) I recently bought. Each stands about 2.5 feet high, is printed on heavy cardboard, and has a fold down easel-leg on the reverse side which allows it to be used either as a posters or a floor display. The artwork was also used in the beautiful Italia color ad campaign which ran in Fortune 1932-37, and when looking at the ads I always thought "too bad these were never used as posters." Was pleased and surprised to see that at some point they were.
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Rich Davidson

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Nov 7, 2006
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Can anyone help? I read somewhere (I forget now where) that in 1945-1947 there were serious plans by the Yugoslavians to purchase the raised Conte di Savoia and restore her as a passenger liner? I understand that the Conte was in far better condition than the Rex which was totally written off.
 

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