Still a recordbreaker


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David Bubb

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Ok, so we all know that the TITANIC was the "largest moving object made by the hand of man" at her time. We can find out information about almost any item on the ship we have an interest in, and with the publication of "TITANIC;the Ship Magnificent", those tongues that are barely contained in our mouths for want of such a book can finally relax. Anyway, I just wondered if apart from the catastrophic side of T's sinking, does she still hold any records for her physical components and if so which ones?
 
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>>does she still hold any records for her physical components and if so which ones?<<

I doubt it. Her engines may have gone the deepest...it's not easy to top 12,550 feet down...but her engines weren't even the largest at the time they were built. I'd have to check my sources, but I think the destinction for the largest reciprocating steam engines went to one of the earlier German liners.
 
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Looking at the Olympic class as a whole, rather than the individual vessels, I think it might be possible to establish some still-extant records. What about: “The largest passenger vessels ever built in Ireland”. This is surely a feat that will never be surpassed.
 
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David Bubb

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I have to say that I am somewhat surprised at the lack of information here. I was sure that if there were some vital statistics that as of yet have been unsurpassed, someone in this forum would have that information. If you're out there, please chime in, but also know that it's out of sheer curiosity that I posted the question so it's really not that big of a deal if the answer isn't out there.
 
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I think it's safe to say that just about all of the Titanic's vital statistics have long ago been surpassed. For all that she was the largest man made moving object at the time, larger vessels were already being built. At 52,310 long tons in actual weight, today, Titanic would be dwarfed by a substantial number of ships already in service.
 

Mark Baber

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I am somewhat surprised at the lack of information here.

That's how message boards like this work sometimes, David. Given that we have over 6,000 registered members, several hundred of whom are active at any given time, we don't expect---and, in fact, discourage---multiple "I don't know" responses. Steve, Mike and Stanley offered their thoughts; that those were the only serious answers is not surprising given the nature of your question. Some messages lend themselves to vigorous discussion, and some don't. It's just the nature of the beast.

I was sure that if there were some vital statistics that as of yet have been unsurpassed, someone in this forum would have that information.

You're quite right about that, and the responses you've received are from folks who would have that information if it existed. Based on that, it would seem that the answer to your question is "No."
 
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There might be something somewhere that was unsurpassed but I have yet to hear of it and one has to wonder if it would even be worth the bother to try from the standpoint of the shipbuilders or especially the shipowners perspective.

Record breakers may be good for publicity but they can be lousy for the bottom line.

If anyone thinks I'm kidding about that, bear in mind that a lot of the speed queens which took the Blue Ribband were so expensive to operate, were it not for government subsidies, mail contracts, and/or high volumns of passenger traffic, they would have been money losers...and some of them were.
 

Dave Gittins

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I know at least one German ship had a larger cylinder in her quadruple expansion engine than Titanic had in her triple expansion. (108" v 96")

The only Titanic record I can think of is that no other ship has had so many books written about her.
 
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I am slightly disappointed that nobody has commented on my suggestion that the ‘Olympic’ class liners were “the largest passenger vessels ever built in Ireland” — although I am more or less convinced that this was indeed the case. Another extant record for the ‘Olympic’ class may be “the largest ocean liners to be propelled by combined reciprocating/turbine engines”. And what about the fuelling arrangements. Was the Olympic subsequently converted to oil-firing, and was there any provision for oil firing on the Britannic? If so, this might imply that The Titanic was, albeit by default, the last great ocean liner to raise steam entirely by manually-fired coal furnaces.

In mentioning “oil firing” it may be worth ending with a note of caution, insofar as some of the early oil-firing systems relied on a bed of coal to initiate combustion — this was certainly the case with Holden’s system on the Great Eastern Railway. If similar practices prevailed in the maritime field, this would imply that the first “oil-burners” should more properly be described as coal-and-oil burners!
 

Mark Baber

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nobody has commented on my suggestion that the ‘Olympic’ class liners were “the largest passenger vessels ever built in Ireland”

Possibly because that's entirely correct, Stanley. Nothing more to say about that.

Another extant record for the ‘Olympic’ class may be “the largest ocean liners to be propelled by combined reciprocating/turbine engines”.

That's also correct, although H&W continued to use that configuration for many years after 1912.

Was the Olympic subsequently converted to oil-firing

Yes.

was there any provision for oil firing on the Britannic?

No. She was a coal burner.
 

Jason D. Tiller

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Just to add to what Mark said, Britannic sank four years before oil firing was even being considered. Since there was a World War being fought at the time, no one was worrying about oil firing on ships.
 
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>>Was the Olympic subsequently converted to oil-firing, and was there any provision for oil firing on the Britannic?<<

Yes to the first, no to the second. The Olympic was converted to oil post war.

>>If so, this might imply that The Titanic was, albeit by default, the last great ocean liner to raise steam entirely by manually-fired coal furnaces.<<

Not even close to being true. The German monsters which were already being built even as the Titanic got underway were also coal stoked by hand.
 
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But if “the German monsters which were already being built even as the Titanic got underway” were later adapted for oil-burning, the Titanic would have remained the largest purely coal-burner — which is what I meant by “default”.
 
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Having argued that the Olympic class vessels were the largest ocean liners to have been built in Ireland I have just remembered the Canberra which, at 45,733 gross tons and 818 feet overall, must also (just about) be a contender. I wonder how the displacement of the Canberra would compare with that of the Titanic?
 
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Scott R. Andrews

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The Titanic appears to still hold only one dubious "honor" above all other ships -- that of being the largest passenger liner ever lost at sea while in regular peace-time service. (I pray that no other passenger ship ever breaks that record!) Amongst the Olympic-class liners, it would seem that the Britannic lays claim to any remaining records: largest ship of her class, largest marine triple expansion engines built, largest marine steam turbine built (by physical size, but not necessarily by SHP, though that could a close call, too), and the largest steamship propelled by combination reciprocating and turbine machinery. I also believe that she still holds the record as largest merchant vessel lost while in active war-time service. (Size-wise, the USS Lafayette/ex-Normandie has the Britannic beat by a country mile, but then she really wasn't in active service yet when she burned and sank at her pier.)

Regards,
Scott Andrews
 
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