June 1911: Olympics's Maiden Voyage


Mark Baber

Staff member
The New York Times, 3 June 1911

New Liner Sails Here on Maiden Trip from Southampton June 14
Officials of the White Star Line in this city received a cablegram
yesterday from the Liverpool office of the company stating that the new
steamship Olympic left the latter city on Thursday for Southampton.

The vessel was thrown open to the general public for a nominal sum, the
proceeds of which went toward the Seamen’s Charity. The visitors
numbered many thousands. A similar opportunity to view the new steamer
will be given the public at Southampton today.

The Olympic will sail for New York on her maiden western trip June 14.


Mark Baber

Staff member
Notwithstanding the language of this article, it's pretty clear that neither Smith nor Haddock was ever officially designated as White Star's Commodore. See the analysis contained in Parks' FAQ, with which I concur.

The New York Times, 6 June 1911

Capt. Haddock to Head White Star Line at Increased Pay
Capt. E. J. Smith, R. N. R., the Commodore of the White Star Line, who
is to command the new mammoth liner Olympic, will retire at the end of
the present year, it is understood, as he will have reached the age
limit. He will be relieved by Capt. H. J. Haddock of the Oceanic, a
naval reserve commander, the only skipper in the Atlantic trade who
wears the mid-Victorian mutton chop whiskers without a beard or

The second big liner, the Titanic, which is to enter the New
York-Southampton service toward the end of the year, will be commanded,
it is said, either by Capt. B. H. Hayes of the Adriatic or Capt. Henry
Smith. To mark the advent of the Olympic into the service the pay of
the Commodore of the White Star Line has been increased from $5,000 to
$6,000 a year, which will be the highest pay in the Atlantic trade. The
salary of the Captain of the Titanic will be $5,000 unless he should
happen to be the Commodore of the fleet.

Owing to the fact that the first voyage of the Olympic will be made
while the coronation is taking place, Lord Pirrie, head of Harland &
Wolff's shipyard at Belfast, where she was built, and a number of
invited guests, will cross from Southampton to New York on the second
voyage, arriving here on July 19. The party will stay at the
Ritz-Carlton while the Olympic is here.

The Olympic has been open to the public in Liverpool and Southampton at
a charge of 60 cents each person, the proceeds being handed over to
local charities. The officials of the White Star Line in Liverpool,
when asked for passes for their families had to pay for tickets, it was
said, the same as the ordinary public. On her arrival here the new
leviathan will be open for inspection at 50 cents admission, which will
be given to the charitable organizations in New York City. When the
Oceanic came out in 1899 the same charge was made, and a sum of $10,000
was thus obtained for local charities.


Mark Baber

Staff member
The typography of the original article makes it clear that the word "here" in the last paragraph refers to New York.

The New York Times, 10 June 1911

Olympic Crew Quits and St. Paul Lacks Coal---World Strike May Fall
Special Cable to THE NEW YORK TIMES
LONDON, June 9---What is regarded in some quarters as the first move in
the international seamen’s strike predicted for this Summer began at
Southampton to-day, when the crew engaged by the White Star Line for the
new Olympic walked off the ship.

The American liner St. Paul, scheduled to sail to-morrow, has no coal in
its bunkers, owing to a strike of Southampton coal porters.

An important pronouncement on behalf of the Seamen’s and Firemen’s Union
is expected on Sunday. According to the labor correspondent of The
London Times, there is good reason to believe that Sunday evening, June
18, has now been provisionally settled upon by the organizers as the
date for the commencement of the international strike.

The seamen’s strike leaders are confident that the signal to cease work
will be acted upon by a sufficiently large number of men at various
ports throughout the world to paralyze the transport trade during the
coronation week.

It is understood, however, that developments which have taken place
within the last few days have materially altered the general situation
and will prove a bitter disappointment to the strike organizers. Much
importance was attached to the necessity of enlisting the support of
various unions covering other branches of the transport trade, and
efforts were made to induce these unions to join with the seamen.

It may be taken as certain that these efforts have failed, and should
the Seamen’s and Firemen’s Union persist in the strike, they will enter
upon it without the support of the Transport Workmen’s Federation. If
the strike is declared, a few dockers and carters may make common cause
with the seamen, but, on the whole, they will be left to fight their own
Officials of the transatlantic lines said they anticipated no trouble
among the coal passers here. The passers are engaged for the round trip
and must complete the trip both ways or suffer arrest.


Mark Baber

Staff member
The New York Times, 11 June 1911
Get More Pay from White Star Line---Coal Porters’ Strike Extends
SOUTHAMPTON, England, June 10---The White Star Line to-day yielded to
the demands of the seamen and agreed to pay a crew for the Olympic the
same rate of wages as that received by the crews of the Mauretania and
Lusitania. It is hoped that this will obviate the threatened trouble
and enable the Olympic to sail for New York as scheduled on Wednesday.

The trouble on the Olympic began yesterday when in attempting to engage
a crew the officials found the men united in a demand that their wages
be increased to $30 a month.

The strike of coal porters became more serious to-day. A number of
outside laborers who had been brought here quit work, claiming that they
had been induced to take the place of strikers through false pretenses.
The idle men are appealing to the coal porters at other ports to join
them in launching a general strike.

The port is overcrowded with liners waiting for coal.


Mark Baber

Staff member
1. Sorry this is late; I overlooked it until tonight. 2. 12 June 1911 was the "Monday" referred to in the article.

The New York Times, 12 June 1911

Liner May Sail on Tuesday---Olympic in Trouble with Deckhands
SOUTHAMPTON, June 11---Owing to the strike of the coal carriers the officials of the American Line are having difficulties with reference to the sailing of the steamer St. Paul. It was expected that the St. Paul, which was scheduled to sail for New York on Saturday, would be able to start on her voyage by way of Cherbourg on Monday. There has been another postponement, however, and the officials hope now that she will be able to sail on Tuesday.

It is doubtful whether the White Star liner Olympic will be able to sail from here on Wednesday, as expected, because the demands of the deckhands, which are that they should receive the same rate of wages as that paid on the Mauretania and Lusitania, have not yet been satisfied. There probably will be some trouble also in provisioning the vessel.


Mark Baber

Staff member
General strike-related dispatches from London, Antwerp, Amsterdam and New York were also reported under this headline. None of those dispatches relate directly to Olympic, so they are not included here.

The New York Times, 14 June 1911

Has Already Begun at Antwerp---English Owners Appear Unconcerned
British Subjects Refusing to Go on Their Vessels Liable to Deportation and Jail at Home
SOUTHAMPTON, June 13---The long-threatened strike of the International Seamen's Union has been definitely fixed to begin to-morrow.

The striking coal porters to-day rejected the employers' proffered compromise and demand an immediate increase in wages.

The coaling of the American Line steamer St. Paul, which should have sailed last Saturday, is proceeding slowly.

The new Olympic of the White Star Line, which is scheduled to sail to-morrow, is coaling with imported labor.


Mark Baber

Staff member
The New York Times, 15 June 1911

Largest Completed Vessel Afloat Begins Her Maiden Voyage
LONDON, June 14---Despite the efforts of the strike leaders to hold her
up, the Olympic of the White Star Line, the largest completed steamer
afloat, got away from Southampton on her maiden voyage to New York early
this afternoon.

Even this morning there was some doubt as to whether the Olympic would
sail on time, bur a settlement with her deckhands was finally
effected. Great crowds witnessed the departure of the new craft and
gave her a rousing sendoff. She carried 450 saloon passengers, a
record for a westward voyage in June. J. Bruce Ismay, Chairman and
Managing Director of the White Star Line, is on board, as are many
Americans who decided not to wait for the coronation ceremonies.

The Olympic is due in New York next Wednesday.
The Olympic and the Titanic, sister ships of the White Star Line, are
the largest vessels in the world, the gross tonnage of each being about
45,000, or about 12,000 tons more than the Mauretania. Both vessels
were built at Belfast by Harland & Wolff. The Titanic has been
launched, and will enter the transatlantic service in the Autumn.

The length of each overall is 882 feet 9 inches, and between
perpendiculars 850 feet, the extreme breadth is 92 feet, and the depth
molded 64 feet 6 inches. They are propelled at a continuous sea speed
of 21 knots, by three screws, the two outer ones being driven by two
sets of triple expansion reciprocating engines, while the central one is
worked by a Parsons exhaust steam turbine. The total horsepower is
about 46,000.


Mark Baber

Staff member
This report appeared in the middle of a series of dispatches
from London, Southampton, Antwerp, Hamburg and New York, all concerning
the threatened international seamen's strike. None of those dispatches
have any direct bearing on Olympic, and the headlines over this column
of reports don't refer to her.

The New York Times, 16 June 1911

QUEENSTOWN, June 15---The White Star Line steamer Olympic, which left
Southampton on her maiden voyage yesterday, notwithstanding the efforts
of strike leaders to delay her departure, continued on her voyage to New
York to-day.

During the run from Southampton to Queenstown the vessel's mammoth
engines worked most satisfactorily.


Mark Baber

Staff member
The New York Times, 18 [sic] June 1911

Carries 3,346 Persons---Turkish and Swimming Baths and Racket Court
Special Correspondence THE NEW YORK TIMES
LONDON, June 10 [sic]---Engineering gives details in regard to the Olympic and
Titanic, the sister ships of the White Star Line, which surpass in
tonnage every other vessel now afloat. The Olympic begins her maiden
voyage across the Atlantic next Wednesday, and the Titanic, recently
launched at Belfast, will be put into commission later in the year. The
Olympic is due at New York on June 21.

The dimensions of these 45,000 ton vessels---12,000 tons more than the
Mauretania---have been given in previous dispatches, but other details
will be found interesting. On each there are in all nine decks. The
topmost of all, or boat deck, is about 492 feet long, and is at a height
of 97 feet above the keel. The forward end constitutes the navigating
bridge and contains the accommodation for the officers, for whose use a
part of the promenade space is marked off. Another portion of the space
is divided between the first and second class passengers. The only
public room on this deck is a gymnasium.

On the next or promenade deck are situated all the public rooms, apart
from the dining saloon and restaurant. The smoke room, which opens into
a palm court and veranda, divided into two halves by the second-class
companion way, is at the extreme after end and is entered from one of
the two first-class entrances. From the opposite side of this entrance
corridor leads forward to the lounge and reading and writing room, from
which access is gained by another corridor to the main first-class
entrance and to a group of state rooms, the inner berths of which are
lighted and ventilated from the boat deck above.

The next or bridge deck is mostly occupied by passenger accommodations,
including several suites with sitting room, one or two bedrooms, and
bathroom, though at its after end there is an a la carte restaurant for
first-class passengers and a second-class smoking room. Round it there
runs a promenade, partly for first-class and partly for second-class,
protected for a great part of its length by solid steel screens pierced
with large windows. A similarly sheltered promenade for second-class
passengers is provided on the shelter deck below, running round the
second-class library. Aft of this there is deck space for third-class
passengers, and also a smoke room and general room for their use.
Forward this deck is given up to first-class passengers’ rooms,
including a number of suites. Some of these cabins are on the tandem
principle, the inner ones having a large passage running to a port-hole
in the side of the ship. There is also a saloon for maids and valets.

A large portion of the saloon deck amidships is occupied by the
first-class dining saloon, an apartment extending the whole width of the
ship and nearly 120 feet long. It is entered from a reception room,
which itself can be used for dining purposes if required. Aft of it
there comes, first, the first-class pantry, then the first and second
class galley, the second-class pantry, and then the second-class dining
saloon, which also extends from side to side of the ship. This deck
further contains rooms for first, second, and third class passengers,
and toward the bow a third-class open deck space.

Much of the next deck below, known as the upper deck, is given up to the
accommodation of stewards, cooks, seamen, &c., but there are also many
rooms for first, second, and third-class passengers. The middle deck,
which is still well above the waterline, has accommodation for second
and third-class passengers, as well as for the engineer officers, and on
it are situated a Turkish bath and a swimming bath, the latter being 33
feet long and over 17 feet wide. The last two decks, known as the lower
deck and the orlop deck, have but little interest for passengers, since
they are mainly devoted to the purposes of the ship; there are, however,
rooms for second or third-class, and on the lower deck a squash racket
court which rises through the middle deck.

The full complement of each vessel is given as 3,346 persons, made up of
730 first-class passengers, 100 of whom are carried in single-berth
cabins, 560 second-class, some also in single-berth cabins, and 1,200
third-class. The officers and crew number 63, the engine-room
complement 322, while the remaining 471 are accounted for by the
stewards and victualing department.


Matthew O'Brien

"A large portion of the saloon deck amidships is occupied by the
first-class dining saloon, an apartment extending the whole width of the
ship and nearly 120 feet long. It is entered from a reception room,
which itself can be used for dining purposes if required."

I borrowed this from the post above. How is it that the reception "be used for dining purposes if required"? I know that light refreshments and tea were served in this room, but could it be converted into an extension of the First Class Dining Saloon? Does anyone know if this was ever done?



Mark Baber

Staff member
The New York Times, Tuesday, 20 June 1911

Made 542 Knots Sunday and Should Reach Ambrose Channel To-night
The following wireless dispatch from Capt. Smith, commander of the White
Star Line leviathan Olympic, was received at the offices of the company
in this city yesterday:

On Board Olympic, via Cape Race,
9:30 A. M., June 19, 1911

Up to this hour the Olympic has exceeded the speed promised by her
builders, her average from noon Saturday to noon Sunday being 21.89
knots. Since passing Daunt’s Rock at 4:22 P. M. Thursday she has done
the following: To noon Friday, 458 knots; to noon Saturday, 524 knots;
to noon Sunday 542 knots. Weather fine. Present weather outlook less
favorable. At this writing all going smoothly.

The Olympic will probably reach the Ambrose Channel late to-night and
come to her pier Wednesday morning.


Mark Baber

Staff member
1. There was a third article in this paper, containing a lengthy passenger list, which I have not transcribed. 2. As has been noted here in the past, Smith was never officially named White Star's "Commodore" notwithstanding the use of that title here. 3. The ship which struck and damaged the temporary pier extension on 22 May 1911 was Cedric, not Celtic. Source: The New York Times, 23 May 1911.

The New York Times, 21 June 1911

Newest and Biggest of Ocean Steamships Sighted Off Fire Island at 12:17
Arrives with 500 Saloon Passengers Who Enjoyed All the Latest Luxuries
of Ocean Travel--The News Abroad
The marine observer at Sandy Hook was straining his eyes seaward at
midnight last night for the lights of he new 45,000-ton White Star liner
Olympic, the biggest ship in the world, steaming toward this port at
nearly 22 knots an hour with 500 cabin passengers aboard. His vigil was
rewarded at 12:17 A. M., when he sighted her east of Fire Island,
incoming at full speed, several hours ahead of her scheduled time.

The Olympic was reported 433 miles east of the Ambrose Channel Lightship
at 6:58 o’clock yesterday morning. Her commander, Capt. E. J. Smith,
Commodore of the White Star Line, wirelessed to the liner [sic] soon
afterward that he expected to reach Quarantine about 3 o’clock this

A revenue cutter to meet her will leave the Barge office landing at 6:30
A. M. As the liner, coming from Southampton via Cherbourg and
Queenstown, has a clean bill of health, she will not be detained long at
Quarantine by Dr. Doty, so that she will meet the revenue cutter on her
way up the bay to her pier, at the foot of West Nineteenth Street, she
should dock there about 8:30 o’clock. [sic]

The White Star pier, No. 59, has been extended temporarily for the
accommodation of the Olympic and Titanic, her sister ship, after a long
struggle between the White Star Line officials and the War Department at
Washington. Owing to the somewhat slender construction of the extension
to the pier the pilots say that the huge liner will have to be handled
with great care while she is being docked.

One gentle jolt from such a floating mass, and the new section of the
pier might be separated from the rest and float away down the river. It
has already received one knock from the Celtic which shook the beams up
somewhat but did not do any serious damage.

To dock the Olympic more easily there will be a fleet of twelve tugs at
the pierhead, which will hold her back and prevent her from swinging
over too hard on to the pier.

James [sic] Bruce Ismay, President of the International Mercantile
Marine Company, is a passenger on the new liner with his wife, and Col.
Thomas Denny of the famous Dumbarton firm of shipbuilders is making the
trip to watch the developments of the triple engines, two of the
reciprocating type, one on either side, and a cetnre [sic] low pressure
turbine. Mr. Ismay and Col. Denny will return next Wednesday on the
Olympic, for which already there are 700 first-class passengers booked.
Manager Jeffries says there is still room in the first cabin for more.

According to the wireless messages received from passengers aboard the
Olympic she has done splendidly on her maiden voyage. She has been
equipped with all the latest improvements for the amusement and safety
of her passengers.

The Olympic is the largest ship that has ever entered the port of New
York or any other port in the world. The Mauretania and the Lusitania
lose their places as the leviathans of the Atlantic, but retain their
speed records as a consolation. The Olympic is also the more costly.
She represents anu [sic] investment of $10,000,000.

The dimensions of the Olympic are 882½ feet long and 99½ feet beam, with
66,000 tons displacement and a depth of 175 feet from the top of her
funnels to her keel. Pier 59 North River was extended 100 feet to
accommodate her. She is ninety feet longer than the Mauretania and the
Lusitania and 13,000 tons bigger in size, and carries a crew of 850
officers and men.

Here are some of her other measurements: Height of funnels above
casings, 62 feet; draught, 34 feet 6 inches; largest shell plates, 49
feet long and 11/8 inches thick; number of decks, 11; number of
watertight bulkheads, 15; capacity of double bottom, 5,700 tons; cargo
capacity, 5,600 tons; number of passengers provided for, 2,650. Sixteen
boats are carried at the davits on her top deck.

The swimming bath on the promenade deck is 33 feet by 14, with a depth
of 9 feet of water. The huge rudder, which is operated electrically,
weighs 100 tons; the anchors weigh 15½ tons each, the center propeller
22 tons, and each of the two wing propellers 38 tons. Each link in the
chain anchor weighs 175 pounds, the huge after bosses from which the
three propeller shafts are suspended weigh in all 73½ tons.

In appearance the new leviathan has more of a bluff bow than the
Mauretania or Lusitania, and resembles the lines of the Adriatic. She
has four funnels, the last of which is used as a ventilator.

There are three passenger elevators in the first class sections and one
in the second class. The bridge deck promenade is 550 feet long, which
gives a good idea of the huge scale on which the vessel has been built.
Five times around this deck measures more than a mile.

The width of the ship is noticeable in the main dining saloon, which
runs right across the ship, a distance of 90 feet, 114 feet in length,
and contains seating accommodations for 532 persons. Its interior
decoration is done in the style of the early seventeenth century. The
White Star Line officials say that the Olympic will maintain an average
speed of 21 knots and will make her landing here regularly on

It is said that the bilge keels with which she has been fitted, combined
with the machinery of the reciprocating engines operating the two wing
propellers with the centre turbine, eliminate all vibration, and serve
to steady the ship in all kinds of weather.

According to reports of Capt. Smith sent by wireless to the office here,
the Olympic encountered fine weather after leaving Queenstown last
Thursday until Sunday, when she ran into a fog bank which caused her to
lose some time.
Opinion of One Passenger on Incoming Olympic---What’s Doing Abroad
By Marconi Wireless to The New York Times
ON BOARD S. S. OLYMPIC. June 20---The initial trip of the new monster
White Star liner Olympic is exceeding expectations. We expect to dock
early on Wednesday. From the time we passed Daunt’s Rock, at 4:22 o’
clock on Thursday afternoon, to noon on Friday, we steamed 428 knots.
The next day’s run was 534 knots, to noon Sunday 542, to noon Monday
525, although we slowed down for four hours on account of fog.

As we left Southampton, flying the royal Naval Reserve ensign, we were
saluted by the British fleet at Spithead. We have received many
congratulations from passing ships, and the wireless equipment has been
kept very busy from the time we started.

The passengers are unanimous in praise of the big ship. Miss Jane Cowl,
who is aboard, says this isn’t a ship, but a bridge across the Atlantic.
It takes the best part of the voyage to find one’s way about the vessel.
The public rooms and the staterooms are huge, and the ventilation is

The French restaurant is a great feature and heavily patronized. The
forty-foot swimming pool, electric and Turkish baths, and racket court
are all much used and highly appreciated. Olympic games were held
yesterday, and a dance last night, which had a bizarre air from the
Moorish decorations.

The weather has been beautiful and the ship very steady, without
vibration. On board are 489 first-class passengers, 263 second-class,
and 564 third-class. The crew numbers 850.


Mark Baber

Staff member
The New York Times, 22 June 1911

Giant Olympic Greeted Enthusiastically All the Way from Quarantine to
Her Pier
Passengers Enjoyed Her Maiden Voyage and Found the Big Ship Just Like a
Standing so high out of the water that the throng waiting on the pier
could barely see the tops of her four smokestacks as she came alongside,
the world’s biggest liner, the Olympic, was safely moored with the
assistance of twelve tugs at 10 o’clock yesterday morning in her berth,
Pier 59 North River.

With the exception of a playful touch given to the stern of a tugboat,
drawn under the counter of the Olympic by the suction of the tide, that
carried away the flagstaff, the liner was made fast without accident to
the newly extended pier. This was a delicate task for Pilot Julius
Adler and Capt. E. J. Smith. The docking took the better part of an
hour, as there was a delay in getting the ship far enough in to allow
her gangways to be opened, and even then only one was available for the
first-cabin passengers.

The Olympic left Quarantine at 7:45, and was saluted on her way up the
harbor by all kinds of craft, from tiny motor boats to the ferryboats
plying on the North River and lower bay. The Cunarder Lusitania swung
out into the river at 9 o’clock, just after the Olympic had passed and
gave the small army of photographers on the piers a chance for a good
picture of the two big ships.

The Lusitania did not salute the latest addition to the Atlantic fleet
as she passed either by whistle or dipping the ensign, which was
generally done by other liners moored at their piers along the water
front. It was thought that in the hurry of getting his ship under way
ands receiving congratulations on his coronation honor of Commander of
the Bath, Capt. Charles, skipper of the Lusitania, overlooked the
Olympic as she passed the Cunard pier.

Looked a Real Monster

The view of the liner at Quarantine as she loomed up off Staten Island
gave an impression of immense bulk to observers. She looked to be a
genuine sea monster. Two daring passengers emerged through the cloud of
galley smoke coming up from the depth and waved their hats as they
walked around the rim inside the top of the fourth funnel, which is
devoted to the carrying off of the foul air exhausted by the electric
ventilators and smoke of the kitchens and auxiliaries. A ladder inside
led to a small circular platform at the top.

The Olympic made the journey from Daunt’s Rock to the Ambrose Channel
Lightship in 5 days 10 hours and 42 minutes, at an average speed of
21.17 knots without being forced, Chief Engineer John Bell said. With
the exception of a strong northeast breeze with rough sea on June 17 the
new liner experienced fine weather all the way across.

Capt. Smith said she had done all that was expected of her, and behaved
splendidly. There was no really bad weather to try her seagoing
qualities, but he felt confident that the Olympic would be steady under
stormy conditions of weather.

“Will she ever dock on Tuesday? he was asked.

“No,” he replied emphatically, “and there will be no attempt to bring
her in on Tuesday. She was built for a Wednesday ship, and her run this
first voyage has demonstrated that she will fulfill the expectations of
the builders.”

The ship brought over 489 first class, 263 second class, and 564
steerage passengers, a total of 1,316, with 2,500 bags of mail and about
2,000 tons of cargo.

The impression of hugeness given by the external appearance of the
Olympic is intensified on entering the interior of the ship where the
amount of space on every deck cannot fail to impress the observer. The
saloons, staterooms, bathrooms, swimming pool, smoking rooms, lounges,
squash and racket courts, promenade decks, and dining saloon are so
large that they resemble the rooms of a Summer hotel more than those of
a ship.

The alleyways are so wide that there is no danger of that peculiar
jostling that passengers inflict as they pass each other in rough
weather on smaller ships. It would not be very difficult for two
elephants to walk abreast down the main alleyways on the Olympic. When
passengers were asked for an expression of opinion about the
accommodations on the liner they referred to her as “just a big hotel in
which it was a hard task to imagine one’s self afloat, she was so
steady.” One passenger said it was difficult to remember off-hand
whether the barber’s shop was an E deck and the squash court on B deck
or vice versa.

Miles and Miles

Purser McElroy averred that the daily tour of inspection, which he made
at 10:30 A. M. with Capt. Smith, Dr. O’Loughlin, and Chief Steward
Latimer, was fully nine miles. The Captain computed the distance at
one-third of that, while the surgeon insisted that it seemed like nine

The stewards all appeared to be good walkers and had ample opportunities
for judging distances. The main dining saloon, with seating
accommodations for 532 persons, has a width of ninety-two feet, being
the widest part of the ship. To the onlooker standing in the reception
room at the foot of the main companion, where hats and coats are
checked, it looks like hanging one’s hat up in Times Square and walking
down to Thirty-fourth Street and Broadway to eat.

This is realized by the waiters, to whom an order for another slice of
bread or a glass of water means a walk of 300 or 400 feet. Distance
makes no difference to the service, passengers said. The most agile
among the stewards is the night watchman, who has to cover alleyways 550
feet long with staterooms on either side. While he is going to answer a
bell at one end another rings at the other end of the alleyway, and the
watchman has to glide swiftly to keep up with his calls so that they do
not get ahead of him. It was noticeable yesterday that there were no
fat, comfortable-looking stewards on the Olympic.

One of the difficult tasks for the second steward is to get his men
together when there is some job to be done that requires a squad of
stewards to handle it. When the Olympic left Quarantine for her pier,
he started to find the delinquents who had not mustered on C deck to
assist with the baggage, doing what is known aboard ship as “soldering.”
After walking up and down the five decks the second steward found a man
sitting calmly in a quiet alleyway leading to the squash and racquet
court, away from the busy throng. In an impressive manner he asked:

“Why aren’t you working in that baggage with the rest of the gang? I am
not going to try to round you up again as it would be impossible for me
to keep track of you, but remember this. I may not see you again
to-day, Mivvins, but I shall see you again some day, and if you don’t
get to work on the baggage the meeting will be very interesting for

James [sic] Bruce Ismay, President of the International Mercantile
Marine, which owns the White Star Line, was a passenger. He said he was
greatly pleased with the ship and the satisfaction she had given to the
passengers on her maiden voyage. There were a few minor details that
might be corrected in the next ship, the Titanic, he said, but nothing
of any importance. Mr. Ismay appeared to be especially interested in
the squash and racquet court, which was so popular on the trip that the
passengers were limited to half-hour games.

A Great Achievement

H. P. Davison, a partner of J. P. Morgan, also a passenger, said that in
his opinion, the Olympic is the achievement of the age. Mr. Morgan went
to Southampton to see him off, and will return on the next westbound
trip of the Olympic with Lord Pirrie, head of Harland & Wolff of
Belfast, the builder of the ship.

The decorations on the Olympic are an elaboration of the White Star
liners of the Adriatic type, with the addition of carved mahogany panels
in the spacious smoking room, bronze reliefs and tapestries in the
companion ways and silken hangings in the lounges, but the most
luxurious of them all in its appointments is the a la carte restaurant
on the bridge deck, 60 by 45 feet, decorated in Louis XVI style, paneled
in French walnut and hung with Arbbusson tapestries. The deck is
covered with a fine rug of Rose de Bari tint.

The big dining saloon with its double ports is decorated in the early
Jacobian [sic] English, after Haddon Hall, in white instead of carved oak.
Comfortable arm chairs, upholstered in green leather, are provided for
the passengers, instead of the usual small seats, and they are not
screwed down to the deck, as the Olympic is considered to be too steady
a ship to cavort wildly in any sea.

The principal attraction of her five decks in the first-class, is the
promenade deck, which is 530 feet long and 30 feet wide. There are also
two other promenade decks for the use of the passengers.

The second-class, which has seven decks, is equally well appointed, and
has numerous persons to look after the wants of the passengers.

The majority of the first-class staterooms are fitted with brass
bedsteads, and the upper berths are on hinges on the Pullman plan. The
suites on B and C decks are decorated in the style of the seventeenth
and eighteenth centuries. The twelve most expensive ones consist of
parlor, two bedrooms, two dressing rooms and bath. All the good rooms
are fitted with wardrobes with full length mirrors.

The swimming bath, which is 30 by 14 and 9 feet in depth, was popular on
the voyage. It is free from 6 to 9 A. M., it was said, and can be used
later as a plunge for the Turkish baths, which cost $1.

Passengers said that there was very little vibration from the two
reciprocating and the centre turbine engines, which develop 46,000 horse
power to drive the ship through the water. The thud of the wing
propellers, however, could be plainly felt in the after end of the
dining saloon and in the smoking room, it was said. The Olympic will be
open for inspection to-morrow and Saturday to the public at a charge of
50 cents, to be given to charity.

Mayors Exchange Greetings

One of the passengers bore a special message to Mayor Gaynor from the
Mayor of Southampton, Col. E. Bance. It read:
The Mayor’s Parlor,
Municipal Building, Southampton
The Mayor and his fellow-townsmen of Southampton send greetings and
congratulations to the Mayor and his fellow-citizens of New York upon
the advent of the Olympic, another link in the chain of friendship
binding our two countries together in terms of peace and amity.
BANCE, Mayor.

To this Mayor Gaynor replied by cable:
Bance, Mayor of Southampton.
The Olympic is arrived, and the Mayor of New York returns his
congratulations and those of the people of New York to you and your
people. Some day we will return the compliment by sending over to you a
still bigger ship. W.J. GAYNOR, Mayor.

One of the first persons to board the Olympic after she had made fast to
her pier was Police Commissioner Waldo, who, with his wife, was there to
meet Mrs. John W. Norton, his sister-in-law. After finding a seat for
Mrs.. Waldo in the companion hall on the promenade deck the Commissioner
started at a rapid gait to find their relative. The third time he came
up the companion from the lower decks he murmured, “There’s an awful lot
of space here on this ship.,” then he wiped the perspiration from under
his Panama and ascended to another deck in his quest for Mrs. Norton.

Impressive Olympic Figures

In length the Olympic overtops by 182 1/2 feet the tower of the
Metropolitan Building, and by 132 1/2 feet the height of the new
Woolworth Building. She is four times as long as the Bunker Hill
Monument is high, and 327 feet longer than the height of the Washington
Monument. Here are some other big things about her:

Registered tonnage............. .................... .......45,000
Length, feet................ .................... ............... 882
From keel to boat deck, feet................ .......... 97
Funnels above casting, feet................ ............ 72
From keel to funnel tops, feet................ ........ 157
Number of steel decks............... .................... . 11
Watertight compartments........ .................... ... 15
Passenger capacity............ .................... ......... 2,500
Number of crew................ .................... ......... 860
Weight of electrically operated rudder, tons... 100
Weight of anchors, each, tons................ ........ 22
Each link in anchor chain, pounds.............. .... 175

She has also 2,000 sidelights and windows. Three million rivets,
weighing in all about 1,200 tons, are used in her. Altogether she
represents an investment of $10,000,000.


Mark Baber

Staff member
The New York Times, 24 June 1911

The $2,000 They Paid to Inspect Big Ship Goes to Seamen's Charities
More than 4,000 persons visited the steamship Olympic at Pier 59 North River yesterday and viewed the great ship from end to end. An admission fee of 50 cents was charged, for the benefit of the Seamen's Charities, and the aggregate will amount to more than $2,000 for yesterday, while even more persons are expected to take advantage of the opportunity and visit her to-day.

No one was allowed aboard until 10 o'clock, from which hour until 5 o'clock they came in an endless chain, passing along every deck rapidly, and yet a complete view of the ship required more than one hour of fast walking.

Booked already in the first cabin of the Olympic are 707 passengers, the largest number ever taken from this port in a first cabin, while the bookings in the second cabin yesterday had reached 450 names.

The Olympic leaves for England on Wednesday, June 28, at 3 o'clock in the afternoon.


Mark Baber

Staff member
The New York Times, 25 June 1911

Thousands Visit the Olympic
Twelve thousand two hundred and fifty persons visited the Olympic, the
world’s largest steamship, on Friday and yesterday, according to figures
given out by Dave Lindsay, General Passenger Agent of the White Star
Line, last night. An admission of 50 cents was charged, the proceeds to
go to a seamen’s charitable society.