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Friday, December 26, 2014

"The Great Eastern"


Dark Roasted Blend has an article on the history of the greatest of the Victorian Steam Ships, the Great Eastern. Built in 1858, it was capable of bringing 4,000 people (or 10,000 troops) around the world, without ever once needing to refuel. It was 680 feet long, had a beam of 83 feet, and displaced 22,000 tons. Besides the two side paddle wheels, it was also used a 24 foot wide screw propeller, and could put up 2,500 square feet of sail. Its top speed was 14 knots. Its most important job, however, was laying the first Transatlantic Cable.

And this interesting comparison:
Two great ships: the "Great Eastern" & the "Titanic".  
Both suffered a damage to their hull.  
One sunk, one didn't. 
SS "Great Eastern" was also incredibly modern, boasting double hull construction (far ahead of its common use) and even gas lighting. It is this DOUBLE HULL that kept her afloat in the same circumstances that sent the "Titanic" to its doom. According to this source, here is a comparison with the Titanic: 
- Both the Titanic and the Great Eastern were the largest ships of their time. 
- Each suffered nearly the same accident, with utterly different results. 
- The Great Eastern featured fifty water-tight compartments, and a maze of bulkheads. 
- The Titanic's hull had only a single wall on each side!.. And even though the hull was divided in fifteen sections, which were designed to be sealed on a moments notice, "the bulkheads between those sections were riddled with access doors to improve luxury service" 
The Great Eastern suffered a huge 83-foot-long, 9-foot-wide gash, after the encounter with an uncharted rock in Long Island Sound in 1862. But the inner hull held, and the ship remained afloat. 
The Titanic did not suffer anything like the huge continuous gash in the side of the Great Eastern: According to these recent acoustic imaging results, Titanic's hull "had not been gashed at all, but had been punctured in six of its forward compartments with a series of thin slits amounting to no more that 12 square feet." 
No double sidewall ensured the fate of famous luxury liner, sending it to the depths in less than three hours.
More photos and illustrations at the link.

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