News from 1903: Launch of Baltic II

Mark Baber

The Times, 23 November 1903

BELFAST, Nov. 22
On Saturday the launch took place at Belfast of the steamship Baltic,
which will be by far the largest vessel afloat, her dimensions
being:---Length, 725ft. 9in.; depth, 49ft.; and breadth, 75ft., while
her gross tonnage will be nearly 23,000. The ceremony was performed by
Miss Julia Neilson, who with Mr. Fred Terry, has been appearing at the
Belfast Opera-house in Sweet Nell of Old Drury, and was in every way an
unqualified success. The vessel is the fourth of the series of vessels
launched by Messrs. Harland and Wolff for the White Star line since
1899, which have each, in turn, figured as the largest in the world, but
she exceeds the Cedric, her immediate predecessor, as the record-holder
by some 3,000 tons. Her capacity for cargo will be 28,000 tons, and the
displacement at her load draft about 40,000 tons. The new vessel will be
fitted with accommodation upon the same lines as those in the Celtic and
Cedric, but even more commodious than in those vessels. On the upper
promenade deck will be the first-class smoke-room and library, and the
two houses below will contain the deck state-rooms, the arrangements so
much admired in the Celtic and Cedric. The first-class dining-room will
be on the upper deck, and all the first-class accommodation amidships.
Immediately abaft the first class will be the second-class
accommodation, and there will be also a comfortable smoke-room and
library for this class of passenger. The third-class passenger will be
provided for abaft the second class and to a limited extent at the fore
end of the vessel. A feature in this accommodation will be the large
number of state-rooms. There will be accommodation in all for nearly
3,000 passengers. In addition to the ordinary state-rooms there will be
suites consisting of bed, sitting, and bath rooms and single-berth
state-rooms, a new feature in Atlantic liners. The grand dining saloon,
situated on the upper deck, will extend the full width of the ship. It
will be exceptionally lofty and airy, and will contain seating
accommodation for 370 people. With its domed skylight and artistic and
effective decorations, this will be one of the most magnificent and
comfortable dining saloons on the Atlantic. The first-class smoke-room
and library will also be grand apartments, and the second-class public
rooms will be alike elegant and comfortable. The heating and ventilating
arrangements of the ship will be most complete, and the Baltic having
such large cargo capacity, will be fitted with winches and other loading
and discharging arrangements of the latest and most efficient type.
There will be large refrigerating chambers for the carriage of chilled
beef, the machines for working the same being on the C.Q. principle. The
Baltic will be fitted with engines of Harland and Wolff's expansion
type, about 13,000 i.h.p, and the speed will be about 16 1/2 to 17


Mark Baber

The New York Times, 6 December 1903

Biggest Steamship to Go Into Commission by the End of Next June

The work of completing the giant White Star Line steamship Baltic, which
was recently launched at Belfast, Ireland, is being rushed with all
possible speed, in order to have her in the service between this port
and Liverpool by the end of nest June. With the placing in commission
of this ship, the total tonnage of the line will be raised to about
350,000 tons.

The Baltic, while of the type of the Celtic and Cedric, when completed
will surpass either of these vessels in every way. She will be the
largest ship ever built, her length being 725 feet, 9 inches, against
706 feet, 6 inches, the length of the Kaiser Wilhelm II., the next
largest ship afloat, and her tonnage being about 23,000 tons, against
the Cedric's 21,035 tons.

The interior fittings of the new ship will excel anything heretofore
attempted by the White Star Line. Her grand dining saloon will be a
feature of the vessel. It will be on the upper deck, extending the full
length of the ship, and will accommodate 370 people. The interior
decorations of the saloon will be very artistic.

The Baltic will be fitted with quadruple expansion engines of about
13,000 indicated horse power, which will give the vessel a speed of
between 16 1/2 and 17 knots an hour. The engines will be arranged on
the balanced principle, which will reduce the vibration to a minimum.