SS United States: What's the latest news?

Mike Spooner

Mike Spooner

Member
Great as national pride for America being the largest built luxury liner ship with brutal horse power, capture the blue ribbon record in 1952. There come a time in life when one has to draw the line. She reminds me of the RMS Mauritania in the 1907.
She too was built as a high speed luxury liner and as a war ship to holding the blue ribbon record for 20 years. As was the SS US to for military troop carry. But I have to say Mauritania was the state of the art for technology in her days as I can't say the same for SS US. In service for 16 years as for Mauritania 27 years. Yet they to recognise her service time as an economic ship days was over and better other ships to sail on with similar speed. The older they get requires more costly to maintained. As sad it is you have to let them go. Seeing those photos of her in Philadelphia she must look an eyesore to the younger generation when looking at modern cruise ships. To restore her just as a stationary museum is going to cost hundreds million dollars if not a billon. Hard lesson can be learn from Queen Mary in California which cost them million to turn into a museum and hotel.
Looking at SS Great Britain in Bristol. How many millions they have spend on her! It would of been much cheaper to build a brand new one! But with no historian history. Once resorted there are still on going expensive costs to maintain as to a good standard.
The SS US Liner may of had the speed but as luxury the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth had it. As for historian history which plays a major part for Queen Mary she has it hands down. Other nations face the same problems to in letting them go to.
Sorry she must go as there are other great US war ships to see with history.
 
Rob Lawes

Rob Lawes

Member
Mike, for a man who volunteers on a preserved triple expansion steam engine I must say, your attitude is surprising. Would you suggest that engine be cut up and disposed of because, let's face it, it didn't even power a ship so wasn't historically relevant?

The SS Great Britain is a true one off. It marks the turning point in Atlantic liners and to say its not worth the cost of preservation is rediculous.

The SS United States marks the other end of the era started by the Great Britain and is more than worthy of being preserved.
 
Steven Christian

Steven Christian

Member
I agree that you can't you save them all. There are so many fine ships that went to the breakers. But if they can pull off restoring the SS United States I'm all for it. Troop ships were needed at one time but with today's large transport planes you can fly in a battalion in a day instead of weeks at sea. But they might get the govt to kick in if they designate her so.
 
Mike Spooner

Mike Spooner

Member
Hi Rob,
You seem to misunderstood me or may be I put it wrong.
I certainty recognise the SS Great Britain ship was way ahead of it time in design and set the new standard how metal plated ships were built for the future. But unfortunately she cost 70% more than plan and just too advanced resulting in a financial disaster for Atlantic crossing with the shipping company Great Weston Steaming Company going bust with her. The second owner Gibbs, Bright & Company took a different point of view and route to Australia, were the original engines throw out for more modern type and added more sails. You could say they are going backwards in technology for economy sake. This were the successful years in making profits for the ship. But after nearly 30 years technology had truly over taken her were she was converted to a sailing ship transported coal. Her final voyage coal to Panama around south America she caught fire and forced to return to Falkland Islands. Were she was beyond economic repairs and turned into a coal bunker storage. Some of her iron was used for repairs HMS Exeter after her engagement with Graf Spee in the Battle of River Plate. Final she was holed and shuttle left to rot and rust away. This are major changes she has been through over the years. The time she is tow back to Bristol on a barge the hull is just a bag of rust full of holes with nothing left what was built internal. She was in a dreadful state.
The ones at Kempton Steam Museum engines were not as old SS Great Britain. But after 93 years those engines are virtually the same with no major changes.
I do appreciate the history of the ship and the importance in the new technology. The amazing job that have done to restore her as was original built. I have visited her over the years from her early days to a few years and can see the progress been made. The costs have well exceeded what Brunel ever dream about. And still a very costly to maintain with the dry air system in operation.
As for my favourite historian ship has to be HMS Warrior. In service 1861 brought terra to the French Navy and never had to fire a gun in anger. Decommission in 1883 built so strong use as oil jetty for years. Final in 1979 restored to her original design not without difficulty. In 1985 a Museum ship in Portsmouth and still a float in sea water. Must be the oldest floating ship in the world.
Back to the topic SS US Liner She may be the pride of American but lacks the history of others!
 
Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

Member
To correct the record a bit, the S.S. United States was not designed as a warship per se, but to serve in a time of war as a very high speed troop transport.

As to any question of her being state of the art, I would submit that she was state of the art for the time. Regarding the propulsion plant, a lot of it's details were literally a state secret for decades, even after the ship had been long out of service but when the details were revealed, it wasn't quite the Starship Enterprise set up some might have expected. It was a very conventional steam plant, essentially the same as a Midway class aircraft carrier, but with some rearranging and with a merchant vessel built around it instead of a warship.

It wasn't very economical but as a ship-of-state, it wasn't really intended to be.
 
A

Aaron_2016

Guest
I believe the SS United States is a symbol of shipbuilding history and her restoration would be very respectful to the past and boost patriotism as she bears the name of the country. On a related note - the restoration of the old steamer 'TS Queen Mary' is looking great.



Launched in 1933.

TSQueen Mary




She was in terrible state the last time I saw her in London.

QM1



Looking great now! :)


QM1a

QM1b



Would make a great photo to see her berthed beside the Waverley and the Nomadic.


.
 
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Platnmz

Platnmz

Member
Actually, the SS United States was VERY state of the art. She could go faster than 38 knots, was completely fire resistant ( no wood was used except for the grand pianos which were a rare fire resistant mahogany, which was tested by pouring fire on it and trying to start it on fire). It used so much aluminum that the power to weight ratio was the best ever engineered. She was also built with 100% American workers using 100% US made products and at least one thing from each of the 50 states, may not be state of the art, but unique and another source of national pride. As stated before it won the blue ribbon and actually STILL holds it. As Michael stated, the SS United States is the other book end of the grand ocean liner era. Her service was only 16 years because air planes ended the grand old ladies era, let's not forget the Normandie (7 years), SS Rex (12 years) and a few other ocean liners that were considered some of the greatest that had short life spans. Her story is very important in world maritime history. Was she as luxerious as other ocean liners, that's all subjective, just as what ship was the largest, fastest, it's a matter of what generation they were. In addition, during the last inspection done by Crystal Cruises, I believe, and they found that the hull thickness had only lost a fraction of it's original thickness, which they considered remarkable, given her age and condition. One other fun fact, besides all of the US presidents, forgein Royalties and celebrities to travel on her, the Mona Lisa also took a trip. The SS United States is a very under rated ocean liner.
 
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Platnmz

Platnmz

Member
I believe the SS United States is a symbol of shipbuilding history and her restoration would be very respectful to the past and boost patriotism as she bears the name of the country. On a related note - the restoration of the old steamer 'TS Queen Mary' is looking great.



Launched in 1933.

View attachment 43044



She was in terrible state the last time I saw her in London.

View attachment 43048


Looking great now! :)


View attachment 43046
View attachment 43047


Would make a great photo to see her berthed beside the Waverley and the Nomadic.


.
Thanks a lot for sharing these, I think it's amazing they restored her. I'd love to visit her and take a tour some day.
 
Mike Spooner

Mike Spooner

Member
Hi, You guys across the pond.
You may help me with a mystery of SS US Liner.
When I was working in Montreal Canada in the sixty I meet a Scotsman who claims worked on the two Queens liner engines.
He was ask to work on the SS US Liner after her record breaking crossing as she had the same type of engines as the Queens made under license by Westinghouse.
The reason for his working on the SS US Liner after her record breaking crossings she had pushed too hard without running in the brand new engines, and severely damage her prop shafts and engine bearings! Any true in this?
 
A

Aaron_2016

Guest
Soon after the maiden voyage the New York Times reported the following headline articles:

USnews


Perhaps the engines were pushed too far during her maiden voyage and the owners decided it was best 'not to attempt another dash' for the rest of the year. Not sure if that was a normal attitude for all brand new ships, or if there was a serious problem developing with the SS United States and they did not want to repeat what happened during her maiden voyage? One can only guess why. Also the announcement of her captain being replaced so soon after that report might be just a coincidence, or it could be the result of the company asking the captain to retire because he pushed the engines too far on her maiden voyage. She was a passenger liner. Perhaps the captain was treating her like a world war battle cruiser and demanded too much from the engines on her maiden voyage?
 
Roger Southern

Roger Southern

Member
Or perhaps the more prosaic answer may be the enormous expense in fuel of running the ship flat out wasn't justified given the passenger loadings? Plus the wear and tear on the ships structure and cosmetic finishes (not unusual for the bow paint to be stripped off during high speed runs).

I think the power plant was more than capable of sustaining multiple high speed runs if someone would pay the fuel costs.......

Roger
 
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