Imperator

Apr 11, 2001
4,565
4
168
Henning- boy do I need some lessons! Actually the correct motto is "Mein Feld ist die Welt"-My Scope is the World- I had mixed up a smattering of German with the French "Champs" which mutated in my peabrain to Campf by way of Kampf and so on...Here is the amusing description of that blasted eagle from Robert Wall's THE LINERS (a must have book- fabulous ship profiles in color):
"HAPAG fitted up the Imperator with the most amazing decorative device that ever went to sea. It took the form of a monstrous bronze-gilt Imperial eagle, 30 feet in length, which grasped in its claws, a globe mounted with the legend "Mein Feld ist die Welt" . Germany's critics felt they knew exactly what that meant, but the reason for the great figurehead had no more sinister explanation than that the Germans needed the extra length to maintain Imperator's superiority in size over Cunard's new Aquitania, then being completed at Clydebank....No one could deny that it had a most lugubrious look in its large dead eyes and that the total effect was most depressing on a ship which was already being criticized for a heavy appearance."
 

Dave Gittins

Member
Apr 11, 2001
4,931
194
193
Actually, the word used in the motto was "Feld", literally "field". It referred to the company's field of operations, or as Henning translates it, scope.

Henning is welcome to correct me, but in German ships and boats in general are neuter and hence are "das Boot" or "das Schiff". I'm told that when speaking of a ship by name the Germans use the feminine form, so it's "die Titanic". I wonder what happens if the ship is obviously named after a man. Is it "die Bismarck" or "der Bismarck"?
 
Jul 10, 2001
253
0
146
Hi Dave & Shelley,

the boat = das Boot (neuter)
the ship = das Schiff (neuter)
the steamer = der Dampfer (male)
the liner = der Liner (male)

it depends, Dave: if you are using these words without their names, they are neuter or male. But if you are using only ship names like Titanic, Britannic, even German steamers like Bremen, Albert Ballin, etc. they are all female ("die Titanic", "die Bremen" etc).

But the Imperator is "der Imperator", the Bismarck however is "die Bismarck". It seems that the Imperator indeed is the only German ship that is male...don´t ask me why...I believe there is a little story behind it. I try to find it out.

regards!
 
D

David Seaman

Guest
Me again...
Sincerest apologies to Mr Newman (+10 Points) for calling him "good ol'Jeffie".
Talk to you soon Jeffie...LOL!
 

Dave Gittins

Member
Apr 11, 2001
4,931
194
193
Many thanks for that, Henning. I can read a good deal of German but your grammar is beyond me. That's in spite of having a great grandfather called Johannes Goethe. I like to think I'm related to the man who wrote Faust and I don't want my illusion spoiled by the boring truth.
 
C

Cameron Scholes

Guest
Hello,

I have put together a freebie website for the HAPAG luxury liner, the SS IMPERATOR.
My site can be found through MSN search engine, or by the url:
communities.msn.com/theultimateimperator/home.html

My site (which is still growing) features info on the history of the Hamburg Amerika line 1900-1910, and info on the making, launching, and maiden voyage of the Imperator. There are lots of stats and rare info. You also get memorabilia, photos, a facts page, and large "Travel Aboard" Imperator diary - an account of passenger traveling aboard the ship in 1914 and meeting and experiencing many people, feelings, and sites of the great ship.
Please visit my site and join if you wish. Also, any info can be related to others via the message board.

I hope you find my site fun and informative!

Cameron
 
C

Catherine Stuart

Guest
Hi Cameron! :)

I've looked partway through your site and stop back in as my time permits. It's very nice! I enjoy the photographs and journal entries. I haven't yet looked at the other parts of the site, but I will. :)

I DO have one suggestion, though.... Maybe to make the diaries a bit more authentic looking, use a more...'antiquated' font? Something with a script look to it, as if written with a quill pen or something.... ? And maybe a tad smaller font size?
Bradley Hand ITC is nice, as is Rage Italic....

If it already IS formatted that way, I apologize and probably would need to download the font to view it properly.... :)

Thanks!

Catherine
 
J

Jason Lesonick

Guest
Hello! I've been lurking here for a while, reading threads, and finding it all very fascinating. Anyway, here's my first post concerning the German liner Imperator. Upon studying a cutaway map of her decks (which are impressively extensive and complex), I noticed that besides having "third class" accommodations in her stern, there also seems to be a separate "steerage" section in her bow. Now I've always used these terms interchangeably, but is seems that on Imperator third class and steerage appear uniquely distinct from one another. Am I correct in assuming that steerage aboard Imperator was almost like a fourth class, and if so what was the difference? Any ideas?
 
J

Jason Lesonick

Guest
Thank you Michael.

As far as sleeping arrangements, I was reading elsewhere on this forum that up until the mid 19th century, steerage on a ship crossing the Atlantic was little more than a large room full of cots. Obviously, third class accommodations on Titanic (and prior ships as well) were a vast improvement over this. My powers of reason lead me to believe that third class aboard Imperator was indeed comparable to that of Titanic. Imperator's Steerage, however, could have been a throwback to the days of cots meant to accommodate those traveling by themselves (without large families). Does this make sense? She was a German liner afterall, and leave it to the Germans to maximize every single solid square inch of space.

Besides being a newbie, I have read John Maxtone-Graham's "The Only Way to Cross." However, it was several years ago, and I don't remember if this may have been addressed. Although it seems likely.
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,582
373
283
Easley South Carolina
>>and leave it to the Germans to maximize every single solid square inch of space. <<

The Germans weren't the only ones. Steerage was little better in a lot of respects beyond "Three Hots And A Cot" for most of the 19th century. Sometimes, not even that. On the old sail and steam packets, you had to bring your own food and find your own place to sleep in the worst spots on the ship. Other then having a spot to lie down, you were pretty much on your own.

By the turn of the century, conditions had improved enormously. They weren't grand, but you had a place so sleep and you were fed as a part of the ticket price. As I understand it, Steerage was the bare minimum with 3rd class being a step up on the German ships. This was at least due in part to the burgeoning traffic in people who wanted to return to the Old Country who wanted better but who couldn't afford the price of a second class ticket or really didn't want to pay it.

In this respect, the Germans were industry leaders in that the recognized an emerging market and catered to it.
 
J

Jason Lesonick

Guest
So basically, am I to understand that third class on a German liner would cater to those who wouldn't necessarily be viewed as immigrants, but still not what would be considered middle class? If so, then essentially third class would be booked pretty solid from America to Europe, with steerage virtually left empty, and vice-versa.
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,582
373
283
Easley South Carolina
>>So basically, am I to understand that third class on a German liner would cater to those who wouldn't necessarily be viewed as immigrants, but still not what would be considered middle class?<<

Definately not immigrants although a few might be going back because they didn't do so well in America. The idea was to cater at least in part to a sector that was interested in travel abroad without having to fork over a king's ransom to pay for it. This would evolve into Tourist Class post war and in the wake of the severe curbs on immigration in the USA which ended the mass exodus of immigrants from Europe to the USA.
 
J

Jason Lesonick

Guest
That's a great way to put it. It makes perfect sense when you consider it in terms of the evolution of tourist class, and the virtual disappearance of steerage. Although now I can't help but picture the decks full of "tourists" sporting a variety of colorful Hawaiian shirts and Bermuda shorts. Haha.
 

Bob Godfrey

Member
Nov 22, 2002
6,046
56
208
UK
3rd Class in the German liners was similar to that offered by Cunard and White Star, but generally not quite so good - the cabins were more spartan, the menus rather less appealing. But in some respects the Germans offered more, like a small library and even a period during each day when the orchestra played in 3rd Class. In the same ships, steerage was sometimes quite a small step down in quality but in others (especially those operating from other than Northern European ports) it offered all the traditional horrors, and where there was an option only those who were desperately short of funds were prepared to endure it. I've read more than a few accounts by travellers who, after buying a steerage ticket, took one look at the conditions below decks and immediately forked out the extra to upgrade to 3rd Class.

During the Edwardian period it was recognised that there were in fact three classes of travel below the level of 2nd Class - the traditionally awful 'old steerage', a much improved 'new steerage' and 3rd Class, which was basically the best of the new steerage and the forerunner of Tourist Class. But the passengers arriving in American ports in all three of these Classes were still mostly immigrants and as such would not escape the experience of Ellis island. I've posted more details of these distinctions in several older threads, so I'll just do a quick cut & paste here from one of my earlier postings:

The 1911 report of the US Senate's Immigration Commission ... sought changes in the legislation and recognised three sub-divisions - old steerage, new steerage and, at the upper end of the 'new', an emerging third class which 'followed very closely the plan of the second-cabin arrangements'. The Commission had this to say about 'old' steerage:

'Considering this old-type steerage as a whole, it is a congestion so intense, so injurious to health and morals that there is nothing on land to equal it. That people live in it only temporarily is no justification of its existence. The experience of a single crossing is enough to change bad standards of living to worse. It is abundant opportunity to weaken the body and emplant there germs of disease to develop later. It is more than a physical and moral test; it is a strain. And surely it is not the introduction to American institutions that will tend to make them respected'.

The Commission recommended the total abolition of the 'old' steerage in favour of the new:

'There is nothing striking in what this new-type steerage furnishes. On general lines it follows the plans of the accommodations for second-cabin passengers. The one difference is that everything is simpler proportionately to the difference in the cost of passage. Unfortunately the new type of steerage is to be found only on those lines that carry emigrants from the north of Europe. The number of these has become but a small per cent of the total influx. Legislation, however, may complete what competition began'.
.
 
J

Jason Lesonick

Guest
Wow! I completely defer to you Bob Godfrey. So am I to understand that the distinction among these three classes (old steerage, new steerage, and third class) is not so much the traveler himself (as all were subject to Ellis Island), but rather the way he travels? Also when you refer to "old steerage", I assume you're talking about rows of cots that were mentioned above? If not, what exactly was so deplorable about old steerage compared to the new and third classes?

And could you point me in the direction of those other threads you mentioned? Instead of making you answer all my questions, I'd really like to read your other postings on this matter.

Thank you!

--Jason
 

Bob Godfrey

Member
Nov 22, 2002
6,046
56
208
UK
Jason, I've never kept a record of my postings or where they are. It took me a while with the search engine to find that one! :) But I can tell you that the worst horrors of the 'old steerage' were not matters of poor food or uncomfortable berths but rather in the way that passengers were treated, or allowed to be treated. In steerage, even in 1912, a woman or even a group of women travelling unaccompanied were taking a considerable risk of harassment and mistreatment by both other passengers and crew, and the voyage could be a nightmare experience. In 3rd Class they could expect to be treated with something like the respect accorded to other passengers, and the voyage (if the ship didn't sink!) was likely to provide only pleasant memories.
 

Dave Gittins

Member
Apr 11, 2001
4,931
194
193
Steerage lingered on the run to Australia until something like 1950. The South Australian Maritime Museum has a photo of steerage passengers, all male, in what may have been a former troopship.

Don't even think of modern third world ships!