Safety, Speed and Comfort on the Hamburg-American Line Steamships - 1890
These steamers are practically unsinkable, their great feature being a longitudinal bulkhead, running from stem to stern, which divides the ship, each side being provided with a separate set of machinery, boilers, shafts and screws. An accident to one side of the ship, therefore, does not in any way affect the other.
Each side is again subdivided by solid bulkheads into numerous compartments which do not communicate with each other, and any one passing from one compartment to another must ascend to the upper deck.
They also have a double bottom, the space between being divided into chambers which can be filled with water or emptied by means of automatic pumps, thus increasing or decreasing the draught at will, and guarding against any accident from grounding.
The boilers are placed in three water- tight compartments, completely cut off from each other, so that even if two of the boiler compartments should be flooded, the boilers in the third compartment will be able to keep one of the engines working.
These are a few of the safeguards provided ; lack of space prevents enumerating them all.
These steamers have at once stepped to the front rank among ocean greyhounds, and must be counted among the fastest ships afloat. The best time accomplished was 6 days 18 hours from Southampton to New York and from New York to Southampton, being the fastest trips ever made between these two ports.
During the past year these two steamers have maintained a regular fast Express Service between New York, Southampton and Hamburg, bringing passengers to London within 7 days, and to Hamburg within 8 days, while the actual ocean passage is reduced to 6 days. Passengers leaving London at noon on a Friday, and boarding the Hamburg steamer at Southampton, have been landed in New York on the following Friday before noon, thus bringing them from their business in London to their business in New York in less than a week—a feat not equaled by any other line. This shows the wonderful convenience which these steamers offer to the traveling public.
The fastest runs were over 20 knots per hour, which is equal to 23 English miles, and exceeds the speed of transcontinental trains.
The comfort and elegance displayed on these steamers surpasses anything yet offered on any Atlantic liner. The large and luxurious saloons, the ladies' boudoirs, music, smoking and staterooms generally, are fitted up in magnificent style, the best European artists having been retained to design, decorate and furnish them.
It has been the aim of the Company to relieve passengers of all annoyances which were heretofore considered inseparable from a sea voyage, and provide for them the same accommodations that can be obtained in a first-class hotel. Among the many improvements that contribute to the passenger's comfort will be found larger and more commodious staterooms, with most luxurious toilet conveniences and large beds, thorough methods of ventilation, ample deck-room for exercise, spacious dining-saloons, ladies' saloon on the promenade deck, also a large music-room, the absence of all offensive odors or noises, and a complete and first-class service throughout, with conveniences of barber shop, bath and toilet-rooms, electric lights, etc.
The steamer has five decks constructed solidly of steel and teakwood, the upper decks ending in strong turtle-backs at the bow and stern.