SS Aquitania


Mark Baber

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In fact, Cunard launched the first of her 4 stackers in 1907, the Mauretania, and the Lusitania in 1908.

Both were launched in 1906 and entered service in 1907. Sources: Bonsor's North Atlantic Seaway; The New York Times, various dates in 1906-07.

There were always to be 3...

Source, please?

White Star, in order to be more competative, didn't lay the keel for the Olympic until 1910

Olympic was laid down on 16 December 1908. Sources: Mills' RMS Olympic; Chirnside's RMS Olympic: Titanic's Sister.
 

Eric Longo

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Aug 13, 2004
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Hi Grant,

I could easily be wrong here regarding the Aquitania as the Mauretania is my interest, or perhaps I misunderstand, but both the Lusitania and Mauretania were originally conceived as a pair in 1902, with three funnels each according to some sources if memory serves.
The Lusitania's keel was laid in 1904 as well as the Mauretania's - both were launched in 1906, not 1907 or 1908. They were both in service by 1907 with the Mauretania having claimed the eastbound Ribband on her November 30 1907 crossing.
Mark Chirsnide could speak to the notion of there being three Cunarder's intended from the start - but I really do not think so and have never heard this before. If I recall correctly, the original turbine contracts were for two (Lusi and Maurey)in 1904, and Aquitania was not even conceived until 1909 to join the Mauretania and Lusitania as a running mate - much larger and some 2 knots slower in these early years in comparison to the two "sisters." Of course, the Mauretania's speed only increased - by June 1909 she had pulled 25.88 knots.
I believe Aquitania's specs were not revealed until late 1909/1910 and she was named and had her keel laid in 1911 while Olympic's keel had been laid in December 1908.
Grant, did you receive the Empress of Britain book - was it to your liking? I read your mother came across on the Aquitania - I have some very modestly prices unique snaps of her at Southampton and at sea as well; if interested drop me a line.

Best,
Eric
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Grant Carman

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I apologize to the board about my mistaken facts. I had used a website, that on further examination, has extremely spotty facts, and is therefore completely unreliable.

But I still wonder who was first in the planning of the 4 stackers. Evidence suggests that it was Cunard, and White Star played catch up, but in the end, both lines produced remarkable ladies.
 

Eric Longo

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Hi Grant, Jason and Mark
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"But I still wonder who was first in the planning of the 4 stackers."

Yup Mark, with the first four-stacker being the Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse of 1897.

Best,
Eric
 
Feb 4, 2007
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Ok, so here's me waxing nostalgic (feel free to slap me back into reality):

I would have loved to see a real 4 stacker in person. It's not environmentally friendly, it would not be up to current shipbuilding codes, and it is entirely impractical now, but I would still like to see one just the same........and I DON"T mean in pieces on the ocean floor.

The Queen Mary in Long Beach (and granted, it's currently in a sad state) still inspires a tremendous feeling of "grandness" and awe in me when I stand next to her. So too would a 4 stacker, and probably to a greater extant (for me anyway).

The Aquitania was the very last passenger 4 stacker in service, although I believe (and correct me if I'm wrong) Union Castle's Windsor Castle (II) of 1922 was the last passenger 4 stacker actually built. Later on, the Windsor Castle (II) was converted into a 2 stacker ~ which I feel suited her profile better. She was sunk in 1943.
 
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Kyle Johnstone

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>>I would have loved to see a real 4 stacker in person.

Jason, I believe you may find Pamela Anderson's address in Malibu in one of the Maps to the Stars Homes.

Oh, wait, you said "real" didn't you?
Nevermind.

I'll just get my coat and leave quietly...
 

Grant Carman

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Jason

The Windsor Castle was the last one built, but her sister ship, the Arundel Castle, survived the longest, albeit with only 2 funnels. She wasn't scrapped until 1958.

But what is strange to me, is that I have never seen interior pics of eithe of them. And they were both considered, by many, to be even more beautiful than their transatlantic cousins.
 
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Kyle Johnstone

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There are a few photos, three to be exact, of Windsor/Arundel interiors in "Majesty at Sea The Four-Stackers" by John H. Shaum Jr. and William H. Flayhart III

to quote the accompanying text:

"The first-class dining rooms were identical on the Windsor Castle and Arundel Castle. They were located amidships on the main deck and could seat 196 persons. The style was Georgian, the furniture Chippendale"

(the photo of the dining rooms shows white-painted walls& ceiling, white-painted Ionic columns, plenty of mirrors and natural light through draped windows)

"The first-class lounge on the Union Castle four-stackers was located forward on the promenade deck and epitomised the comfortable accommodation of the two ships. Note the many fans used in the warmer Southern climate"

(the photo shows white-painted walls & ceiling, white-painted Ionic columns, dark upholstered lounge chairs and tables with dark tablecloths atop oriental rugs, dark drapery over the windows)

"A 17th century style giving the impression of a Tudor mansion was utilised for the first class smoke room on the Arundel Castle and Windsor Castle. The light wood panelling and leather upholstery were popular among passengers"

(very Tudor, as the description says)

>>And they were both considered, by many, to be even more beautiful than their transatlantic cousins.

Not an opinion I share... judging by these three photos.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Here is an interior photo blown up from a magazine advert:
132664.jpg


>>And they were both considered, by many, to be even more beautiful than their transatlantic cousins.

It's in the eye of the beholder. They earn points for being less garish than their better known cousins, but lose an equal number of points for perfectly replicating an 1893 vessel's interiors in 1922. The fact that their cabin walls, apparently, did not entirely reach the ceilings ~for ventilation and cooling purposes~ is a demerit on aesthetic grounds not at all linked to the visual experience (the leakage of sounds and smells must have been progressively more fearsome as the vessels entered equatorial waters) while the inclusion of gantry davits as late as 1922 is just bizarre.
 

Jim Kalafus

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>I know of at least ONE board member who detests 'period' architecture, full-stop...but, had the 'Titanic' put to sea with interiors designed by, say, the Vienna Secession, then her death toll would have been so much lower...for the simple reason that nobody would have sailed upon her in the first place!

Oh, I don't know....the George Washington, the
one outstanding progressive liner built between the ghastly year of 1893 when good taste went all to hell and the Paris, did excellent business despite having interiors that did not cater to the lowest common demoninator:
132667.jpg


and one of the more delightful ironies of the first decade of the 20th century is that, throughout, excellent taste was prevailing in what might be considered 'second cities.' Buffalo, New York, for instance, far surpassed NYC and London~ both of them in the final throes of the White Trash With Money School of Design~ and saw the construction of at least three buildings STILL considered architectural cornerstones of the entire century. NYC and London, each, saw exactly none constructed. Likewise, San Diego and Chicago's outer suburbs both saw structures erected that, 100+ years later, still pop up on 'ten best' lists. Likewise the San Francisco peninsula. And Glasgow. London and New York did not. Which is why Wright; Gill; Purcell and Elmslie http://www.organica.org/purcellandelmslie.htm; Josef Urban et al are still held in high regard (and reproduced) whilst Mewes and Davis, at best, rate a snicker if brought up in discussion.

So, it seems a bit...flippant...using the line 'nobody would have sailed' because, by 1912, the wealthy on two continents had already embraced various phases of modernism. But, then as now, remaining resolutely a decade out of synch with style and prevailing modes of good taste was a staple of the hotel industry, of which the liners were an offshoot. The period interior liners were Carnival, and aimed at the same market segment.
 

Grant Carman

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Jim

I bow to your superior intelligence sir!

From the pic, I tend to agree with you. While not as ornate as the others, it doesn't look first class to me. By the time the Lucy/Maury/Olympic were built, the first class dining rooms looked vastly different. The drawings I've seen of the Lucy are so much better, (in my humble opinion of course) that the 2 Castle 4 stackers don't seem to qualfy.

But then, I remember reading somewhere about the critisizm when Normandie was launched, about the deco interiors being about 10 years out of style. Nowadays most look at them as classic. I guess it would be similar if someone launched a ship today that was all brass, ferns, and buffet lines.

Oh wait. They still do

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Jim Kalafus

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Hi, Grant: The Lusitania and Mauretania get points for, at least, having entirely different interior themes built around the same basic deckplan. The Titanic and Olympic, in addition to being stylistically...trite (but just the thing that the rich, vulgar, and unsure of one's taste craved) were also hampered by the fact that their unoriginality wasn't even unique~ they were the sort of mass produced "elegance" that one finds today in upscale chain hotels and catering halls. In that regard they can't even be called Carnival-like, since at least each Carnival ship has a unique, garish, interior.

The shame of all of this, is that the 1900-1914 period is where one starts to see designs that might actually be called 'timeless' emerging, in architecture; furniture; tonsure and fashion. Yet, with the exceptions of certain portions of the George Washington and Paris, and the stripped down elegance of Ward Line's Siboney and Orizaba, there was nothing at sea that stepped away from the regretable White Trash With Money design cycle until well after the war.

>But then, I remember reading somewhere about the critisism when Normandie was launched, about the deco interiors being about 10 years out of style.

Well, the Normandie had one admitted masterpiece on board- the third class dining room!

In these cases, distance lends enchantment. The Normandie interiors look a lot better removed from the stylistic context in which they were viewed when new.

>And isn't it interesting that Cunard's Aquitania was built sort-of as answer to, and rival for WSL's Olympic ~ to the extent that Cunard actually modeled it somewhat after the Olympic ~ yet still the Aquitania's decor was quite different and was.... "high-octave glitz and glamor"

It seems more like she was built as a rival of and response to the Ballin trio, and suffered greatly by the same rampant, florid, blandness that left those ships grand but, ultimately, unmemorable. In all four cases, the ships suffered from the beaux-arts era curse of interchangeability: that is to say that only the name on the door as one walked in let one know what it was that one was viewing upon entering. Because of the, shall we say, numbing sameness of applied ornament and material of belle epoch architecture, the rooms had no sense of specific purpose or, for that matter, specific location. The "Grand Hall" of a belle epoch library was EXACTLY the same as the "Grand Hall" in a Post Office, which in turn was exactly the same as a "Grand Hall" in a hotel, which in turn was exactly the same as the Grand Halls of banks, railway stations, Fifth Avenue mansions and Mewes and Davis~ inspired ships. Only the furniture differed from location to location, and sometimes even that did not hold true.
 
Feb 4, 2007
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Yes. And this is what I meant when I said the Aquitania reminds me more of German liner design. However, apparently, Cunard sent "spies" (loose term) to tour the Olympic in order to note what worked and what didn't, what should be 'updated', and what might make their new Aquitania better than the Olympic.

Roughly speaking, all these pre-war 3 and 4 stackers can be grouped into the same 1893 design cacophony that Jim describes, but out of all these big ships, I think the Olympic was the most subdued. My personal subjective opinion of course.
 

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