:: SS GREAT BRITAIN (1843) ::

SS Great Britain Trans-Atlantic passenger liner (1843) High resolution picture

The SS Great Britain, designed by the eminent engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel and launched in 1843, was the first screw-propelled steamship which crossed the Atlantic. Her hull was one of fully metallic construction, which lacked an external centerline keel but was fitted with two bilge keels to improve balance. The machinery comprised four cylinders of 223 centimeters in diameter and was attached to a six-blade propeller of 4.7 meters in diameter, which rotated at 53 revolutions per minute. The ship reached a speed of 9 knots during trials, but neither the owners or the passengers had full trust in the steam machinery, and the SS Great Britain - as other contemporary steamships - originally carried 1400 square meters of sails in six masts (from 1853 the ship was rigged with three square-rigged masts).

The capacity for passengers was originally 360, but was increased to 730 during a refit in 1851 (the ship had ran aground in the Irish coast in 1846). Since 1852 the SS Great Britain transported thousands of immigrants to Australia, until being converted into a coal transport ship in 1882. Four years later she was docked in the Falkland Islands to serve as a coal storage, until being scuttled and abandoned in 1937. In 1970 several fundings made possible to rescue the ship and return her to the dry dock at Bristol where she had been built 130 years ago. After being restored, the SS Great Britain is preserved to this day as a museum ship in Bristol.

The 1st May 1854 it was started the construction of a ship which would be the largest one built on the world until then. Isambard K. Brunel had convinced the Eastern Steamship Navigation Company about that a ship five times larger than other steamships would be more economical. This ship was to be named Leviathan but finally, when her launching, she was baptized as Great Eastern. But in this case the prestige that the engineer had achieved with the SS Great Britain led to a delusion, resulting the SS Great Eastern an immense economical failure.

Class: 1 unit

Type: Oceanic passenger liner

Length: 98.14 meters

Beam: 15.40 meters

Height: 9.88 meters

Draught: 4.90 meters

Displacement (full load): 3618 tonnes

Propulsion: 1 x shaft, 2 x inclined direct-acting steam engine, 3 x square boiler, 1500 horsepower

Speed: 9 knots (16.7 kilometers/hour) without sails; 10-11 knots (18.5-20.4 kilometers/hour) with sails

Range: N/A

Fuel: 1200 tonnes of coal

Complement: 130

Passengers: 360 (730 from 1851)

Cargo: 1200 tonnes

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