SS Imperator - History, Accommodations, & Ephemera Collection

All Digitized Ephemera for the SS Imperator available at the GG Archives. Common items of ephemera in our maritime collection include passenger lists, brochures, event and entertainment programs, and other memorabilia produced for a voyage or ship.

Titelblatt, 1914 Broschüre der Hamburg- Amerika Linie für die Fahrpläne der Nordseebäder - Seebäder und Riviera Dienst.

Hamburg-Amerika Linie Nordseebäder-Fahrplan - 1914

Viele Fotos der Schiffe, Innenansichten und Bilder der Wahrzeichen von Hamburg, Deutschland, machen diese Broschüre zu einer ungewöhnlich guten Broschüre der Hamburg- Amerika Linie von 1914. Zwei farbige Karten enthalten die Nordsee und die Umgebung.

Front Cover, 1914 Brochure from the Hamburg America Line for North Sea Resorts Timetables

Hamburg America Line North Sea Resorts Timetable - 1914

Many photographs of the ships, interior views, and images of Hamburg, Germany landmarks help to make this an unusually good brochure from the Hamburg America Line in 1914. Two color maps are included of the North Sea and Vicinity. Ships Featured: Königin Luise, Kaiser, Imperator


Ephemera contained in the GG Archives collection represent the souvenirs provided to the passengers of each voyage. Many of these souvenir ephemeral items have disappeared over the years.

Our selection varies considerably by ship, and likely contains only a sampling of what was originally produced and printed by the steamship lines.

Bookmark pages you're researching and check back periodically for additions as we continue to digitize our extensive ephemera materials.

The "Imperator," the Largest Vessel in the World

The S.S. Imperator of the Hamburg America Line, the Largest Vessel in the World

The S.S. Imperator of the Hamburg America Line, the Largest Vessel in the World. Leslie's (6 June 1912), p. 638. GGA Image ID # 103401189d

And the "Borussia," the First Steamship of the Hamburg America Line.

The lar test vessel in the world, the Hamburg America Line's new steamship Imperator,” was launched from the Vulcan Yard at Hamburg, Germany, on May 23.

The ceremony was witnessed by tens of thousands of spectators, including hundreds of German military, and naval officers and civil officials. A “baptismal" oration was delivered by Johannes Burchard, chief Burgomaster of Hamburg, and Emperor William christened, the vessel, breaking a bottle of German champagne against her bows as she glided down the ways.

Throughout Germany, the event was considered of national significance, as the “Imperator” is expected to bring back to the fatherland the laurels wrested away by the prominent English, transatlantic liners.

The Imperator − which has been built in conformity with the German laws said to be the most rigid in the world—is 900 feet long, and will have a tonnage of 50,000.

She is more than four city blocks in length, and as she has a beam of 96 feet, her deck Space is acres in area. She will be driven by Parsons quadruple turbine, engines which will develop 70,000 horse-power and ensure an average speed of 22 1/2 knots.

These will be the most powerful marine engines ever constructed. The ship will be equipped with Frahm anti-rolling tanks, which will render her steady in the roughest seas.

The mammoth Yessel has a double bottom, and also, will have coal bunkers at the sides, virtually giving her a double skin. She is also equipped with many transverse bulkheads, with doors, worked by hydraulic power from the bridge, and quickly closable.

There will be electrical communication throughout the ship, and she will carry sufficient lifeboats to accommodate all her passengers, and crew-her passenger capacity is 4,400, and her crew will number 1,100. The most powerful wireless apparatus will be in service on board at all hours of the day and night.

If she were standing on end, the "Imperator” would be higher than the highest skyscraper in the world. Her essential structure weighs more than 100,000,000 pounds.

Besides, there will be an enormous weight of ſurniture, pictures, dishes and other objects. It would require a train 45 miles long to carry the material used in her construct. When the passengers and crew go aboard 750,000 pounds will be added to her weight.

While she is the largest, the “Imperator” will also be the most up-to-date of ocean liners. Her main dining salon will be spacious, and her public cabins will be the largest ever built.

Her main lounge can be converted into a ballroom, and at one end of this will be a stage for concerts and other performances. A unique feature of the vessel will be a magnificent swimming pool, reproducing a luxurious Roman bath.

The vessel will have handsome suites of rooms for those desiring exclusive privacy, squash courts, a winter garden, a tennis court, and a gymnasium.

The commander of the “Imperator” will be the line's veteran captain, Hans Ruser. No captain is better known to transatlantic passengers or enjoys a fuller measure of confidence than he.

He will superintend her completion and bring her to America in the spring of 1913. Two sister ships of about the same size are also to be constructed.

"The 'Imperator,' the Largest Vessel in the World," in Leslie's Illustrated Weekly Newspaper, Vol. CXIV, No. 2961, 6 June 1912, p. 638.


Quadruple Turbine Express Mail Steamer IMPERATOR - The Largest Vessel in the World.

  • Capacity: 50 000 Tons Gross Register
  • Length: 919 Feet
  • Breadth: 98 Feet
  • Depth: 63 Feet
  • Horsepower: 62000.

Some of the Advantages Offered by the Steamer:

Safety - Arrangements, guaranteeing the greatest measure of safety that engineering science of today can devise. Steel Double-bottom over the whole length of the vessel. Longitudinal and Tranverse Bulkheads reaching far above the water-line. Submarine Bell Signalling System.

Search-lights of 34 000 candle-power. Life-boats for a considerably larger number of passengers than the Imperator has on board when full. In addition, two motor-launches with their own wireless telegraphy on board. Four Pro-pellers, so that if the rudder of the steamer is disturbed, the steamer can still be steered.

Gyro-compass. One Commander and four Captains (for Navigation, Public Safety, and General Superintendence) watch day and night over the ship’s course. Wireless Telegraphy carrying the longest distance, separate apparatus for the latest news of the day and for navigation signals.

Three Telegraph Operators on duty in turn, keeping the steamer day and night in constant communication with other steamers. Regular smooth running of the vessel ensured by her large dimensions and Frahm’s anti-rolling tanks.

Passenger-staterooms of unsurpassed size with metal bedsteads. Marble Wash-stands with hot and cold fresh water. Imperial and numerous other suites, in all 150 staterooms with private bath and toilet, or shower and toilet. All rooms supplied with electric current for lighting, heating, bells, ventilators etc.

Social-Rooms: Dining-room extending through two decks, also Ritz-Carlton Restaurant, Grill Room, Grand Ball Room with stage, Smoking Room, Private Dining-room, Ladies’ Saloon, Verandah Cafe.

Other Features Deserving of Notice: Gymnasia both in First and Second Cabin. Swimming-Pool in Pompeian style, reaching through two decks. Seawater constantly renewed by cascades. Electric, Turkish and Vapor Baths. Covered and Open Promenade-decks. Promenade- concerts, Trained Band and Table-music. Telephone system. Office of the Representative of the Passenger-Department, Office of the Baggage Officer. Passenger-lifts.

The sister-ship of the Imperator, the Vaterland was launched on the 3rd of April 1913. This steamer will enter the Hamburg- New York passenger service spring 1914. In addition to these steamers a third vessel of the same type is in course of construction.

The Imperator, purchased by the Cunard Line after World War I.

Shut up in Hamburg all through World War I, the Imperator was one of the German ships turned over to the Allies after the Armistice. She has recently be^n purchased by the Cunard Line and is now on their New York-Cherbourg-Southampton run. GGA Image ID # 1421129a95

BY PURCHASING THE huge Imperator, the largest passenger carrying steamship in commission, the Cunard Line has in service a trio of sea giants unparalleled in the maritime history of the world, the other two being the
Aquitania and the Mauretania.

The Imperator was given a long tryout by the Cunard Line before she was finally purchased. She entered the company’s passenger service in December, 1919, and has been almost constantly in the service ever since.

Reported by the Shipping Magazine, 10 March 1921, p. 17.

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