The Kronprinz Wilhelm of the North German Lloyd (1902)
Article from the 15 March 1902 Issue of the Scientific American Supplement, Vol. LIII, No. 1367, Page 21901-21902, New York: Munn & Co.
The “Kronprinz Wilhelm” possesses particular interest just now for the dual reason that she is the latest exponent of the art of building high-speed Atlantic mail steamers, and that she was selected to carry Prince Henry and his suite to this country to attend the christening of the Kaiser’s new American-built yacht. The “Kronprinz” is the natural descendant of a line of truly magnificent express steamships which, because of certain distinguishing characteristics, may be said to have their progenitor in the “Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse.”
The “Kaiser Wilhelm” came into line as a record-breaker at the point at which that splendid pair of ships “Campania” and “Lucania” had placed the record, namely, at an average speed for the whole trip of just over 22 knots an hour. She was an epoch-making vessel in more than one respect. To begin with, she was the first German ship to hold the transatlantic record.
Then again, she was the first steamship of the largest size to be built in a German yard, and of German materials, and although her horse power was officially announced at 28,000, it has been well understood that at times, when the fuel has been good quality and the stokers have been diligent, the horse power has risen to as high as 31,000 to 32,000. She had not been long on the route before she had brought down the average speed for the whole trip to 22y2 knots an hour, and when she was fully two years old she surprised everyone by making the trip at an average speed of over 22% knots an hour.
Following the “Kaiser Wilhelm” came the “Deutschland,” probably the most successful, all-round vessel ever produced for the Atlantic mail service. She broke the record on her maiden run, and in her first season, during a trip on which the writer had the good fortune to be a passenger, she covered the distance between Sandy Hook and the Lizard at an average speed of 23 1-3 knots an hour.
Although this vessel was guaranteed by contract to develop only 33,000 horse power, she has actually developed as high as 38,000; indeed, the average for the whole trip just referred to was slightly under 37,000 horse power, while the consumption of coal averaged 572 tons per day.
This looks like a very heavy coal bill, and yet, when we consider the horse power developed, it is a highly economical one; for if we exclude the auxilaries, which consumed 30 tons per day, the consumption was only 1 1-3 pounds of coal per horse power per hour for the main engines. This in itself was at the time a record performance for the marine engine, and it was attributed by the engineers of the vessel to the admirable efficiency of the Howden system of forced draft.
Last year the “Deutschland” showed a further increase of speed, averaging for one whole trip to the eastward 23.5 knots an hour. The “Kaiser Wilhelm” is 649 feet long and her displacement is 20,000 tons. The “Deutschland” is 686 feet long and has a displacement of 23,000 tons.
Before passing on to a description of the “Kronprinz Wilhelm,” our readers will be interested to know that the two German companies, the Hamburg-American, owners of the “Deutschland,” and the North German Lloyd, under whose flag the “Kaiser Wilhelm” sails, hold entirely divergent views on the very important subject of furnace draft. The North German Lloyd ships using natural draft only, while the Hamburg-American vessels are fitted with forced draft.
The “Kronprinz Wilhelm” was put into service by the North German Lloyd Company in the latter part of the season of 1901. In size she comes midway between the “Kaiser Wilhelm” and the “Deutschland.” She is 663 feet 4 inches in length, and her displacement is 21,280 tons; her engines according to the contract were to develop 33,000 horse power; but in spite of the fact that the boilers are fired under natural draft, she has already indicated over 37,000 horse power, and at times she has steamed for several hours together at the rate of 23.8 knots an hour.
Her best average for an eastern trip is a fraction over 23 knots an hour; but it is fully expected that during the coming season she will equal, if she does not surpass, the record of the “Deutschland,” which stands, as we have said, at an average of 23.5 knots an hour from Sandy Hook to the Lizard.
The coal consumption of the “Kronprinz Wilhelm” is about 560 tons in twenty-four hours. The engines are of the six-cylinder, tandem, quadruple-expansion type, and the boilers, which are of the standard Scotch type, are arranged in four groups, in each of which there are three double and one single-ended boilers. The ship has four smokestacks, the tops of which are 113 feet above the grates. The total heating surface is 94,000 square feet and the total grate area 2,691 square feet.
In the arrangement of her decks and in the superstructure, the “Kronprinz Wilhelm” bears a strong resemblance to the “Kaiser Wilhelm.” The forecastle deck is 115 feet in length, the bridge deck 374 feet, and the poop 115 feet in length. The promenade deck is 508 feet in length and provides an unbroken promenade of over 1,000 feet. Above the promenade deck is a sun deck of the same length.
The vessel provides for 600 first-class passengers, 350 second-class passengers and 700 third-class. The crew, under which term is included the engine and boiler room staff, deckhands, waiters, etc., numbers 525. The accommodations are finished on the same rich scale of decoration which obtains on the “Kaiser Wilhelm;” but with the difference that the color scheme is more subdued and, therefore, more restful to the eye. The dining room is in the center of the ship, between the forward and after pair of smokestacks, and is a superb room, with accommodations for 414 passengers at one sitting.
Our illustrations give an excellent idea of the variety and richness of the decorations, furnishings and upholstery. It is expected that before the close of the summer season of 1902 a larger edition of the “Kronprinz Wilhelm” will be placed upon the route of the North German Lloyd Company. The “Kaiser Wilhelm II.,” as she will be called, is to be the longest ship in the world and the fastest; for although her contract does not call for it, she will be the first vessel to reach the 24-knot an hour mark.