Leviathan Monster of the Deep

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Jake Angus

Guest
Was the Levi 'tender'? I know the Queen Mary was, Olympic wasn't.
 

James Smith

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Dec 5, 2001
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Well, I think it was John Maxtone-Graham (writing the epilogue for "Olympic and Titanic: Ocean Liners of the Past") who noted that the Olympic had a peculiar "corkscrewing" motion all her own that made many veteran sailors sick. I'll have to look that one up, though.

Jim
 
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Jake Angus

Guest
I thought it was the Lusy and the Maury that 'corkscrewed'? The Olympic was chosen for her stability by many passengers, esp. those who crossed the Atlantic regularly.
 
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Timothy Trower

Guest
Well, my set of Frank Braynard's books has appreciated nicely -- www.abebooks.com has many separate volumes listed at different prices, and two complete sets at $375 and $650. I think I have $200 in mine, bought complete in 1982 (with volume 6 sent once it was printed).

One thing is for sure after looking at what is available -- volumes 5 and 6 seem really scarce. Is that what others have found as they assemble sets of these fine books?

The Leviathan is not my favorite ship, but I've found this set to great reading, good source material, and an invaluable reference.
 
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Kyle Johnstone

Guest
Hello, Timothy

I agree, Braynard's LEVIATHAN makes very interesting and facinating reading. What ship, ever, has been so closely documented in such a fashion? Leviathan had a fantastic history.

I was very lucky in how I got my set. I at first was collecting volumes as I found them, individually. I had only the first three. Then, in London a few years ago, I found the entire six volume set for sale in a small shop, just by chance, at a very good price. I brought them back to the US with me on the QE2, saving a small fortune in shipping internationally those six very heavy volumes.
I then sold the three volumes I already had for more than I paid for the six volumes in London.
Such a deal!
 

Steve Olguin

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Mar 31, 2005
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Leviathan, is in my opinion, one of the finest looking ocean liners of this time, and in terms of interior design, was the best of the "Ballen Trio". I think her split funnel uptakes allowed for a more modern approach to the liner, giving her public spaces a better scale of grandeur than the Berengaria or the Majestic. Her deck plans appear to be more thoughtfully laid out than the Berengaria/Imperator, with many changes carried out to improve the performance of the ship.
 
Jan 5, 2001
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The funnel uptake issue is interesting. For all the talk about allowing open views -- such as the 250 foot distance through the main set of first class public rooms -- the designers did not always take full advantage of it IMHO. For instance, the entrance to Majestic's first class dining saloon had (IIRC) a door on either side, rather than a grand entrance right in the middle which might have looked better. I agree with the comments as to the overall layout.

I think some of the bigger differences between Leviathan/Majestic came later, after the Gibbs rebuild and then the 'Club Leviathan' installed in the early 1930s. As with most sets of sister-ships, Majestic was the last and in several respects was improved by experience.

Best wishes,

Mark.
 
Apr 27, 2005
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She faired better during the war because Wm Francis Gibbs supervised her rebuild. Interesting as well, the German attempts to sabotage her by tossing parts over the side in Hoboken, or smashing casings and components, probably enhanced her service years. I always preferred the "Imperator" as a ship of Ballin's trio.
Interesting as well, was the condemning of the "Kronprincessin Cecelie" to the mothball fleet after the repatriation of our troops. Though smaller, she would have made an interesting running mate for US Lines. I believe Gibbs didn't want to be bothered with fixing up a small liner that couldn't make the speed to put the US fleet out front. She could have easily been turned back to the Germans after the war. Instead, she collected marine growth on the hull until cut up in the mid 30's. How sad.
 
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Rob McGough

Guest
I'm newer to reading about the 'other' ships,
I just read up on Titanic back in the day.
I have become a fan of Aquitania, and I enjoy
digging up the history of the four funnel ships.
I did notice that there does seem to be a dismal description of Leviathan in books, I'm glad
to see that other people also feel that was
bad press.

About the ships scrapped right before WW2,
I think this was a waste in some ways, but
on the other hand they did their part in the
war, God only knows how many bullets could be
made out of Olympic.
Rob
 
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Brent Holt

Guest
The Levi was very much a victim of bad press. U.S. Lines wanted to get rid of her very badly in the early 1930s-but needed approval of the Shipping Board to do so. USL did everything possible to put their "flagship" in a bad light. The tactics ranged from stretching the facts to downright fabrications.
The Levi was a very successful liner. In the 20s, her passenger loads were among the best on the Atlantic. Even in the 30s she did not do badly when compared to her competitors. It was the bad press coverage orchestrated by USL that resulted in the vessel being labelled a white elephant for her whole career.

Brent
 
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Rob McGough

Guest
Wow that is a strange thought to put out
bad press about your own ship, but the
idea that the US ran a ship line is still
new to me, and this sure sounds like a gov.
show.I'm looking forward to reading up on this,
it should be kinda funny.
One of these posts touches on a crack that
Levi had, could someone point me to
a site that has that info?
Thank you.
Rob
 
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Brent Holt

Guest
I am working on a book on the Levi that will hopefully come out by 2008. It is over half-finished. (That is about all I can say about it at this time)

Brent
 
Apr 27, 2005
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I'll go out on a limb and suggest that U.S. Lines didn't do anything to not promote the "Leviathan". Sorry, but I don't believe it. I think "Leviathan" was an old design that looked old. She was a product of the pre-war era and looked Edwardian at best. He interior design was that of a coal burner converted to oil, and she never caught up with the times. Put all that on her shoulder and prohibition, and the combination was death. At least the "Olympic" and "Mauretania" could serve liquor at sea. "Bernegaria" and "Majestic" never quite gained the popularity of their adopted sisters either, but then they were never hampered by the Volstead Act and American Puritanism. Consider the number of smaller pre-war Germans that were impounded and rebuilt as troop transports, yet no commercial line would even touch them. "Kronprincessin Cecilie" swung at her mooring in Chesapeke Bay for almost two decades before she was broken up. It's an opinion, I'll grant you, but I think all the pre-war Germans suffered from stigma of being just that; pre-war Germans.
 
Jan 5, 2001
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I'll confine my comments to one myth:

quote:

At least the "Olympic" and "Mauretania" could serve liquor at sea. "Bernegaria" and "Majestic" never quite gained the popularity of their adopted sisters...
I'm assuming the implication relates to the two ex-German vessels and their British running mates. While it's true that Mauretania and Olympic did have a loyal following, including (no doubt) those who preferred them to the ex-German Berengaria and Majestic, the ex-HAPAG ships were more popular. I'll leave aside Homeric and Aquitania for now.

In terms of average passenger lists and total passengers carried, Olympic had a clear edge on Mauretania in the 1920s; and in turn Berengaria developed a clear advantage over Olympic as the 1920s wore on. In 1921 and 1922, Olympic and Berengaria were well-matched in average carryings, yet Olympic carried far more passengers in total on a busier schedule. However, by 1925 Berengaria's average passenger lists and total passenger carryings had risen to exceed Olympic's by a clear margin, while Majestic was ahead of Berengaria.

Majestic was the most popular of the four (probably the most popular afloat on most measures), some of her average passenger lists close to double those Mauretania achieved. These are outlined in detail in my soon-to-be-published Majestic book.

Don't get me wrong...Mauretania's passenger lists were respectable for the circumstances. She was a beloved ship. Olympic was very popular over a sustained period. Despite the collapse in third class after the 1921 and 1924 immigration curbs, she averaged over 1,000 passengers per crossing if we take her cumulative voyages to 1930. However, whereas in the 1922-29 period Olympic's highest *average* passenger list in any given year was about 1,000 (1922), Berengaria's was 1,200 (1929). Particularly in second and third class, the ex-German liners had an obvious advantage. It wasn't massive -- it would have reflected badly on their design if they had not been capable of exceeding their older rivals' popularity -- but it does appear quite apparent from the passenger figures.

Best wishes,

Mark.​
 
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Brent Holt

Guest
I do not want to get to much into this since I will cover it in the planned book, but U.S. Lines did not want the Levi in the early 20s. Yet, they had a contract with the shipping Board to run the Levi through 1936. They had to do something about that..........
On the matter of the Leviathan's popularity, she averaged 1171 passengers per crossing in the 1920s. Over her entire career she carried an average of 1029 per trip. This includes the very lean years of the Depression.
This was an impressive performance when compared to the competition.

Brent
 

Dave Gittins

Member
Apr 11, 2001
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"but U.S. Lines did not want the Levi in the early 20s. Yet, they had a contract with the shipping Board to run the Levi through 1936. They had to do something about that.......... "

Where was Robin Gardiner when he was needed?
 
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Rob McGough

Guest
Maybe Leviathan was not popular is
because of the name, it doesn't sound as
American/English as Majestic or Homeric.
Also the name is odd looking in type face.
All of this could mean that the L was not forgiven for being German, since the name
made it harder to forget it was German,
while Homeric and Majestic had a much easier
time becoming english speaking ships.
 
Apr 27, 2005
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It's a beast of a name for an ocean liner. While so many ships curried favor with regular trans-oceanic passengers, "Leviathan" just didn't. Also recall that after the 20's began, the liners of her building era were already a decade old. Enter the French Line with the "Paris", and the "Ile"; the Italians began creating "Rex" and "Conte de Savoia", and even the Germans start redefining the new era of the Atlantic with "Bremen" and "Europa". When the U.S. Lines finally catches up with the times, it's the 1940's with "America", and then 1952 with "United States". Until that time, our ships have about as much style as a high button shoe.
 
B

Brent Holt

Guest
<it's>

I think Leviathan was a very appropriate name. She was one of the largest vessels in the world for many years.
How can you say that she did not curry favor with passengers? In 1927, she was the most popular liner on the Atlantic in terms of average passengers carried per crossing. (See my previous message with more info on her passenger numbers.)

Brent
 
Nov 5, 2006
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Leviathan is my favorite of the Ballin 3! He was second largest only to Majestic, and atleast he wasn't as decrepid as "Imperator/Berengaria!" Him and His brother(Levi-Nathan and Bismark are boys names) were handsome ships, they looked modern, they were popular with travelers and they were far better maintained then LIMPerator!