Category Archives: American liners

America’s Superliner

Cover for ss United States bookW.F. Gibbs first dreamt of a 1,000-foot liner in 1915. Over the following decades he revised and perfected his design, trying his ideas and dreams in other liners. In 1939 he designed America, in which he tested many of his concepts.

Her successful war service as a high speed troop transport meant that, in 1943, he was asked to finally prepare his plans to design a combined passenger liner and troop transport, using the latest developments in materials and technologies, especially the use of aluminium and high-pressure high-temperature boilers and engines.

Maiden voyage and commercial service

Finally in 1952 ss United States sailed on her maiden voyage as an express liner, gaining the Blue Riband. She was never asked to be a troopship. The dream only lasted 17 years, as the advent of cheap air travel took over, and in 1969 United States was laid up.

SS United States – laid up and idle

Since then various schemes and plans have been proposed for her future, and she has had a number of owners. Currently she is still afloat, albeit totally gutted internally, awaiting the next decision.

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262 pages. £48.00 plus shipping



The Company & The Ships

Cover for White Star Line bookThe origins of White Star Line can be traced back to 1846. T.H. Ismay bought the company in 1868, registering it as Oceanic Steam Navigation, trading as White Star. He forged agreements with Harland & Wolff in Belfast to build his ships, which quickly gained a reputation for speed, comfort and reliability. The company grew and prospered, building ever bigger and better ships.

After T.H. Ismay died, his son, J. Bruce Ismay, took over. In 1902 the American financier J. Pierpont Morgan bought the company as part of the IMM combine, and Ismay became President and Chairman.

American owners, economic pressures

World economics turned against the company, with slumps, depressions, the loss of Titanic, the Great War and reduced US immigration quotas. By the late 1920s White Star was on the point of collapse, and in 1934, under pressure from the UK government, it was forced to merge with Cunard, also in financial difficulties.

Development, growth and decline

This book looks at the development, growth and decline of one of the most famous shipping lines in history. It looks at the highlights, successes, mishaps and tragedies.

It covers the careers of all the ships, owned and chartered, with photographs of most, along with illustrations of advertisements, menus and other ephemera. It is a complete company history.

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250 pages with hundreds of photographs. £48.00 plus shipping



America’s first superliner

Cover for Leviathan bookA hardback book covering the design, construction and service of America’s first superliner, Leviathan.

Built by Blohm & Voss for Hamburg America’s service to the United States, Vaterland was the second in Albert Ballin’s planned trio of liners that he intended would dominate passenger services on the North Atlantic.

Unfortunately after only seven trans-Atlantic crossings, the outbreak of the Great War in 1914 destroyed his plan.

The Great War

Trapped in New York, Vaterland was interned by the US authorities until April 1917 when, with the entry of America into the war she was seized, renamed Leviathan, and converted into a troopship. With the Armistice, she was used to repatriate GI troops until she was laid up at Hoboken.

Post-war service as Leviathan

Eventually, completely rebuilt, in 1923 she emerged as a luxury liner sailing under American colours for United States Lines. Although she often enjoyed high passenger numbers, the effects of Prohibition and immigration quotas, alongside numbing levels of Government bureaucracy, excessive levels of catering and a high crew-to-passenger ratio, meant that for much of her life she made losses. Laid up several times, she was eventually scrapped in 1938.

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262 pages. £48.00 plus shipping




Cover for Legendary Liners bookThis book represents an eclectic choice – the author’s personal favourite historic, legendary liners. The hardest part was in deciding which liners to leave out!

There have been so many famous  liners since the late Victorian era. The development of reliable, economical engines and the inclusion of a second propeller meant that liners no longer needed to be equipped with sails and associated rigging.

Interiors became ever more luxurious, menus were more inventive, safety increasingly important. Hulls became ever larger, decks more numerous. More dining rooms were added, plus cafés, gymnasiums, winter gardens, swimming pools, libraries and many other facilities designed to help passengers make the best use of their time aboard.

Final selection of Legendary Liners

Ships have been chosen from many of the companies operating around the world. The result is this fascinating page-by-page account of the most famous liners from nearly 100 years of maritime history.

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162 pages. £38.00 plus shipping