Mark Baber

Staff member
The Times, 11 September 1908

The Laurentic, the first of two new steamers to be built and equipped by
Messrs. Harland and Wolff (Limited) for the White Star Line Dominion
service was successfully launched yesterday from the south yard in the
presence of a large number of spectators.

The launch of the Laurentic is an event of more than ordinary interest
in the shipping world, because, as previously announced, this ship will
signalize the entry of the White Star Line into the Canadian trade in
conjunction with the Dominion Line, and thus the strengthening of one of
the most important ties in our Imperial connexion. The vessel is further
interesting on account of the adoption in her of a combination of
reciprocating engines with a low-pressure turbine, and it has been
generally assumed that the adoption of this novelty is some indication
of the owners' intentions with regard to the machinery of other large
steamers which they have in contemplation. This arrangement of machinery
constitutes the vessel a triple-screw steamer, each of the wing
propellers being driven by four crank triple-expansion engines, and the
central propeller by a turbine. The object is, of course, to retain the
advantages of the highly perfected balanced reciprocating engines, and,
at the same time, to get the benefit of the further expansion of steam
obtainable in a low-pressure turbine, whilst avoiding the necessity for
an astern turbine, which is essential in steamers fitted with turbines
only. Both for going astern and for manoeuvring in and out of port the
reciprocating engines will be more than sufficient, as they will develop
over three-fourths of the total combined horsepower.

The Laurentic will be the largest vessel in the Canadian trade. A
single-funnelled, two-masted steamer of 14,500 tons gross register, she
is 560ft. in length, with a beam of 67ft. 4in., and, in addition to 230
first-class, 430 second-class, and 1,000 third-class passengers, will
carry a large quantity of cargo. She has been designed on the cellular
double-bottom plan, the double bottom extending the whole length of the
ship, and being specially strengthened under the engines; and she is
provided with nine water-tight bulkheads, dividing her into ten
watertight compartments. The passenger accommodation has been carefully
arranged, and will vie with anything afloat both as regards beauty and
comfort. A feature of the entrances and public rooms, as of the
staterooms, will be their height and general roominess. The first-class
dining-saloon on the middle deck will be decorated and panelled in
elaborately carved oak. It extends the whole width of the ship, will
seat 160 passengers, and have the popular "well" arrangement overhead,
with verandah for the bandstand, for the Laurentic will carry her own
orchestra of musicians. The furniture will be in oak, and the floor
parquetry. The first-class lounge on the upper promenade deck will be in
Louis XV style, panelled in oak, with a parquetry floor, the latter
characteristic also applying to the reading-room, which is situated on
the same deck. The first-class smoke-room, also on the upper promenade
deck, will be decorated with embossed leather, and handsomely carved
framework will surround the windows. The furniture will be of mahogany
and the floor in this instance will consist of indiarubber tiles. The
sleeping accommodation will be in keeping with the excellence of the
public apartments. The staterooms will be situated on the lower
promenade deck, and also on the shelter deck, and will include a number
of cabins en suite-i.e., with private lavatory and bath-room adjoining
each suite. An electric passenger elevator will serve the four decks.

For the second-class passengers there is a dining-saloon on the middle
deck, which will seat 262 passengers. The library on the lower promenade
deck, and smoke-room on the upper promenade dock are also beautiful
apartments, decorated in polished hardwood. The third-class quarters
include a dining-room situated aft on the upper deck.

There are six cargo holds and the derricks and other appliances for
working the ship and cargo are of the latest pattern, special attention
being paid in the design of this steamer to the requirements of shippers
in the Canadian trade. The Laurentic will have large refrigerated
chambers, both for provisions and cargo. The Marconi system of wireless
telegraphy will be installed and there will be a submarine signalling

The Laurentic's sister ship Megantic will shortly be launched---also
from Messrs. Harland and Wolff's yard---but will be a twin-screw steamer
and will be propelled by reciprocating machinery alone. The Laurentic
will be delivered early in the new year, and will be engaged in the
Liverpool-New York service of the White Star Line before the opening of
the St. Laurence for navigation next spring.