News from 1889 The Launch of Teutonic

Mark Baber

Dec 29, 2000
The New-York Times, 20 January 1889

BELFAST, Jan. 19---The new White Star steamer Teutonic was launched this
morning from the Queens Island yard. The companion ship, Majestic, of
the same style and size, will be completed, it is expected, in time for
use the coming Summer.
Orders for two new ships to be named the Teutonic and the Majestic were
placed by the agents of the White Star Line with Messrs. Harland &
Wolffe, the Belfast builders, nearly two years ago. Previously, Messrs.
Ismay, Imrie & Co. had offered to the Admiralty, on behalf of the line,
to build two ships of a speed and strength superior to any merchant ship
afloat, with engines and boilers below water, complete subdivision by
bulkheads, fittings for guns built in during construction, and the ships
to be manned by half crews of naval reserve men. The plans thus
submitted and approved provided for an arrangement for guns by which 12
guns could be mounted on each ship on 48 hours' notice.

It need not be supposed that it was the chief purpose of the White Star
Line to provide possible additions to the British Navy. In times past
the ships of this line were famous for speed. The voyages of the
Germanic and Britannic, which brought down the time of crossing the
ocean from 10 or 12 days to about 7 days and 10 hours, were marvels in
fast travel by water, only a few years ago. In the expectation of
recovering this prestige the new ships were projected. The Teutonic is
now ready to begin to get her engines in working order. By warm weather,
when the Majestic will be finished and at work, lowered records may be
expected, unless the forecasts of her builders and owners are sadly

The plans describe the new ships as, excepting the Great Eastern, the
longest in the world, their length being 582 feet, with 57 feet 6 inches
breadth, 39 feet 4 inches depth, and a gross tonnage of nearly 10,000
tons. They are built of Siemens-Martin steel, and will each be propelled
by two independent sets of triple expansion engines, driving twin
propellers with manganese bronze blades. In form and construction of
hull they will resemble the other ships of the line. They are minutely
divided by athwartship bulkheads, and are also constructed with a
longitudinal bulkhead, giving additional rigidity to their structure and
increasing the security of the ships in the event of collision. The
masting will be simplified, no yards being used. This will help the

These vessels are not intended to carry an excessive number of saloon
passengers. Their limit will be 300, and provision will be made for that
number to dine at one time. The dining saloon is to be placed amidships,
where there is the least motion. There will be accommodation for 150
passengers In the second cabin and for 750 in the steerage. Saloon and
steerage passengers will occupy separate decks. Single men of the
steerage will be placed in the forward end of the ship, saloon
passengers in the centre, and the second-cabin passengers and the
married people and single women of the steerage in the after end, each
set enjoying their own deck.

The hurricane dock will be 245 feet long, with a clear width of 18 feet
on each side of the deck houses. There will be staterooms on this deck
beside the usual accommodations for the commander. A handsome library,
smoking room, and other conveniences will also be provided on this deck.
Staterooms, with baths, a luxurious smoking room and the usual other
rooms will be found on the upper deck, the main saloon, with stained
glass windows, and ivory and gold ceilings, with staterooms for single
and family use, being on the main deck. Special pains are to be taken to
provide comfortable quarters for second-class cabin and steerage
passengers. The ships will be lighted throughout by electricity.


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