OF THE CENTURY
On its maiden voyage in July 1952 from New York to Le Havre,
France, and Southampton, U.K., the 990 ft S.S.United States established new speed records
for eastbound and westbound crossings of the Atlantic, winning
the Hales Trophy and coveted blue riband for the fastest crossing.
Eastbound speed was 35.59 knots, or 3.9 knots faster than the
previous blue ribbon holder, the liner Queen Mary. Its speed
record stood intact until 1990, when its was broken by the Hoverspeed
Designed by naval architect
Gibbs & Cox, Inc., and built by Newport News Shipbuilding
& Drydock Co., Newport News, Va., the United States had four
sets of high-speed geared steam turbines that drove four propellers
via reduction gearing and shafts. The 990 ft x 101 ft superliner,
with a passenger capacity of 2,000, was built at a cost of $70
million by United States Lines.
Because it was expected to operate as a troop transport ship
in times of national emergency, the United States was the first
luxury liner built to meet the standards of the U.S. Navy. It
was designed to carry 14,000 troops and equipment for such operations.
Safety, particularly fire control, was critical in the ship's
construction. "The only wood in her construction,"
reported the July 1952 issue of Marine Engineering and Shipping
Review, "is that used in the pianos and on the tops of butchers'
Out of service since 1969, the United States is currently berthed
in Philadelphia. Talk has centered around possibly refurbishing
the ship. American Classic Voyages Co. recently acquired the
trademark "United States Lines" to be used for its
fleet of cruise ships being developed under the Project America