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The New White Star Liner Baltic - The Largest Vessel in the World - 1904

By the English Correspondent of the Scientific American

Page 44 of the 16 July 1904 Issue of the Scientif American

The success of the "Oceanic" showed that the most remunerative type of craft for the transatlantic traffic is the vessel of a medium speed, maintained under all varying conditions, but of a tremendous tonnage. Although speed may be an important desideratum from one point of view, such a qualification is in reality only appealing to a limited quota of passengers, the bulk of travelers preferring greater comfort and steadiness of the vessel, especially in rough weather. Each of the two vessels built after the Oceanic has marked an increase in size and tonnage upon its predecessor.

The latest liner, the Baltic, surpasses in size anything that has thus far been attempted, though it is by no means the finite, for Messrs. Harland & Wolff have declared their readiness to build a vessel of 50,000 tons. The realization of such a vessel is dependent upon the capacity of a dock to accommodate it.

The length of the Baltic over all is 725 feet 9 inches. This is an increase upon the length of the "Celtic" and "Cedric" of 25 feet. The beam is the same, being 75 feet; the depth, 49 feet. The gross tonnage is 23,000 tons, an increase of about 3,000 tons. The cargo capacity is about 28,000 tong, and the total displacement at the load draft approximates 40,000 ton*.

Although the two sister ships are practically of recent construction, yet so rapid is the progress of development in shipbuilding design and construction that this latest vessel contains several interesting improvements, possible of embodiment owing to the immense size of the boat.

The same standard of luxury and comfort in the accommodation and appointments for the convenience of the passengers so characteristic in the previous ships is maintained, but the accommodation is more commodious. The total complement of passengers is 3,000 passengers, and a crew of about 350.

The general arrangement of the ship is similar to the other two vessels of this type—a continuous shade deck running fore and aft, with three tiers of deckhouses and two promenade decks above same. On the upper promenade deck is the first-class smokeroom and library, and the two houses below contain the deck staterooms.

All the first-class accommodation is situated amidships. One of the most notable features in the Baltic is the grand dining saloon situated on the upper deck. It extends the full width of the ship, 75 feet, is exceptionally lofty and airy, and has seating accommodation for 350 people. It has a domed skylight, and the decorations are most artistically and effectively carried out.

Immediately abaft the first-class is the second-class accommodation, together with a comfortable smoke-room and library.

The third-class passengers are provided for abaft the second-class, and to a limited extent at the fore end of the vessel. A great feature in this accommodation is the large number of staterooms two, three, and four-berth, and the commodious and comfortable dining rooms, fitted with tables and revolving chairs.

The maximum of safety is secured by the exceptional strength and structure of the vessel, together with the elaborate system of watertight compartments. One very important safety device which is the first instance of its application to a mercantile vessel is the electrical indicator, which is utilized in the British navy, for the prevention of collisions. This device is placed on the bridge. It indicates the exact position of any other vessel entering its magnetic zone.

There is a dial carrying a needle on its face similar to a compass. Directly the other vessel enters the magnetic zone, the radius of which in this instance is five miles, the needle revolves and points directly toward it, thereby indicating its precise location. This apparatus is highly sensitive, and even the screw revolutions of the approaching vessel are registered by the wave vibrations.

In this manner the officer on the bridge can estimate the exact time he is distant from the other vessel, and act accordingly so as to clear it. With this precautionary device it is absolutely impossible for another vessel to creep up even in foggy weather or under cover of darkness without the officer being aware of its approach.

View of the Library on the White Star Line Baltic - 1904

View of the Library on the White Star Line Baltic - 1904

View of the Four Decks of the White Star Line Steamship Baltic - 1904

View of the Four Decks of the White Star Line Steamship Baltic - 1904

The New Transatlantic Steamship Baltic of the White Star Line - 1904

The New Transatlantic Steamship Baltic, The Largest Vessel Afloat.

Length, feet, 0 inches. Beam, 75 feet. Maximum displacement, 40,000 ton.

Other important devices which tend to insure greater safety are the electrical lead and log. When in operation the speed of the ship and the depth of water are indicated at regular intervals of ten seconds.

The cooking and refrigerators are also electrically operated, by which provision greater cleanliness and coolness are obtained. The odors of the cooking galley are withdrawn by means of electric fans and carried through pipes and exhausted into the open air at the stern of the vessel.

The machines for the refrigerating chambers are worked upon the C 0, principle. The whole of this plant is electrically operated, thereby obtaining an appreciable economy in ice storage, as the vessel able to leave port with a smaller supply of ice than is feasible upon other vessels fitted with existing systems.

The private staterooms are equipped with electric chafing dishes, warming pans, and other utensils, which the passengers can immediately use whenever desired, an innovation which will doubtless be highly appreciated.

The vessel is not speedy. In the case of the "Oceanic" a speed of 20 knots can be maintained, but in the subsequent vessels this was reduced to about 161/. knots. The "Baltic" will approximate the same speed, with a great reserve of power, to enable this rate of traveling to be maintained even under adverse conditions.

The "Baltic" is fitted with engines of Harland & Wolff's quadruple-expansion type, developing about 13,000 I. H. P. The engines are arranged on the balance principle, which practically does away with all vibration. The twin engines and twin screws afford another element of safety to the ship and passengers, and the possibility of danger is reduced to a minimum.

The maiden trip of the "Baltic" was made without incident. Her trip occupied 7 days, 13 hours and 37 minutes. She left Liverpool at 5 P. M. on June 29; and by 8:21 had passed Rock Light on her way to Queenstown. Her daily runs were: July 1, 312 knots; July 2, 395 knots; July 3, 403 knots; July 4, 417 knots; July 5, 387 knots; July 6, 407 knots; July 7, 414 knots.

The engines ran from seventy-eight to eighty revolutions a minute, while the forty-eight furnaces consumed only 235 tons of coal a day. The "Baltic's" best day's run was on July 4, when 417 knots were logged, and she maintained an average hourly speed of seventeen knots. Her average for the trip was 16.1 knots an hour. Her engine and fireroom force is comparatively small—fourteen engineers, fifteen oilers, thirty-six firemen, twenty-six coal passers, two store-keepers, two stewards and one winchman making up the three watches.

Information About Article

  • Article Source: Page 44+ Scientific American JULY 16, 1904.
  • Number of Photographs: 3
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