Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|Builders:||John Brown and Company yards in Clydebank, Scotland|
|Laid down:||December, 1910|
|Launched:||April 21st, 1913|
|Christened:||April 21st, 1913|
|Maiden voyage:||May 29th, 1914|
|Fate:||Served long and successful career but was eventually scrapped in 1950 after 35 years of service|
|Length:||901 feet (275.2 m)|
|Beam:||97 feet (29.6 m)|
|Power:||Steam turbines powering four propellers. 59,000 shaft horsepower (44 MW),|
|Propulsion:||Four quadruple screw propellers|
|Complement:||1914 - 618 First, 614 Second, 1,998 Third 1926 - 610 First, 950 Second, 640 Tourist, 972 crew|
The Aquitania was a British ocean liner built by the Cunard Line. She had four stacks - like the Titanic and Mauretania - but Aquitania was considered the most beautiful of all four-stackers, earning her the nickname "Ship Beautiful".
The origins of the Aquitania lie in the rivalry between the White Star Line and Cunard, Britain's two leading shipping companies. With the launching of the Olympic and the Titanic (both of which outweighed the latest Cunard ships Mauretania and Lusitania by 15,000 tons) the Cunard Line felt that it needed to have the largest and fastest, all in one ship. The Mauretania had already given Cunard title of "fastest ship in the world" but sought "largest ship in the world" as well, and plans were set to design a new ship.
The designer of the Mauretania was a man by the name of Leonard Peskett who was again hired to design the new ship. Basically he would design a larger version of the famous Mauretania.
Construction & Launch
The Aquitania was built at John Brown and Company yards in Clydebank, Scotland, where most Cunard ships were built. It was during the construction when the Titanic tragedy struck, so more lifeboats were added to the Aquitania. Her designs were under strict Admiralty supervision, because even though World War I was still a number of years off, the idea that the Aquitania would be able to be converted for military use as an armed merchant cruiser had high marks with the admiralty.
Interior & Design
Aquitania has often been called a "floating palace" due to her spectacular interior. Her Palladian lounge rose through two decks and was reminiscent of the work of Sir Christopher Wren. The dining room also rose through two decks and was just as luxurious, being designed in the Louis XVI style. All first class public rooms showed rich and tasteful works of art, designs and decorations which gave Aquitania a great reputation among travellers. A popular spot was the Garden Lounge, a quaint cafe which gave the impression of an old garden. Glazed windows at the sides and at the after end afforded protection from the wind. The furniture consisted of wicker chairs, settees and tables. Indeed, her interiors were the definition of luxury.
Her exterior has been called "boxy" by some, but others argue that it had lean beauty.
May 29th, 1914 saw the Aquitania set sail on her maiden voyage. The next month the Franz Ferdinand would be assassinated and the world would be plunged into World War I, cutting short Aquitania's career. After only three round trips she was taken over for military use, serving both as a trooper and hospital ship, at one time carrying over 8,000 men. Consequently in the spring of 1915, she was converted into a trooper, and made voyages to the Dardanelles, and then was converted into a hospital ship. However, in 1916, she was returned to the trooping front, and then in 1917, she was laid up. In 1918, she was back on the high seas in more military service, and then in June 1919, she ran a Cunard "austerity service" between Southampton and New York.
In December 1919, the Aquitania docked at the Armstrong Whitworth yards in Newcastle in order to be refitted for post-war service. The major change was that she was converted from coal to oil-burning. Other than that, all her original fittings and art pieces were brought out of storage and reinstalled. Sadly, though, as she was being refitted, an engine room explosion killed one of her crew members.
During the Twenties the Aquitania became one of the most popular liners, if not the most popular. She sailed with the Mauretania and Berengaria in a trio that would be known as "The Big Three". As times grew better and better, the Aquitania grew into the role of being one of the most profitable ocean liners in all history. The American restriction of immigrants in the early Twenties ended the age of mass-emigration from Europe, but as ocean travel was the only means of transportation across the continents, the ocean liners survived – and even surpassed old records. Some of the big money now came in from movie stars and royalty, other aristocracy and politicians. The Aquitania became their favorite, as the 1920s became one of the most profitable ages in ocean travel history.
However following the stock market crash of 1929 many ships were affected from the devastating consequences. The Aquitania found herself in a tough position. Only a few could afford expensive passage on her now, so Cunard set Aquitania to go on cheap cruises. These were successful, especially for Americans who went on "booze cruises", tired of their country's prohibition.
As time went on the Aquitania got old and was scheduled to be replaced by the Queen Elizabeth in 1940. This plan was shattered with the coming of World War II and Aquitania served excellently as a troop transport, just as she had in World War I. In her eight years of further military work, she sailed more than 500,000 miles, and carried 300,000 soldiers, to such places as Australia, the South Pacific, and the Indian Ocean.
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