Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The SS Imperator was first of a trio of successively larger ocean liners that included the Vaterland and the Bismark built by the German HAPAG Line for the transatlantic passenger service. The first plates of her keel were laid in 1910 at the Bremer Vulcan Shipyards in Hamburg, and she made her maiden voyage in 1913. At 51,680 gross tons, the Imperator was the largest ship in the world until the Vaterland sailed in 1914.
Before her launch on May 23, 1912, in order to make her longer than the RMS Aquitania (which was under construction at the time) she was fitted with large bronze eagle gracing her forepeak with a banner emblazoned with the motto Mein Felt ist die Welt (the world is my field). The eagle's wings were later carried away in an atlantic storm, and it was removed.
Unfortunately, the Imperator was top heavy due to the heavy fittings in her upper (first class) decks and the high funnels that graced her upper half. In order to correct the weight deficiency, concrete was poured along the ship's bottom, her funnels trimmed by 9 inches, and much of the heavy materials used in the fitting out of her upper decks were replaced with lighter materials.
At the outbreak of World War I, the Imperator was in harbor at New York, and when the United States entered the war they seized her. In order to make reparations to the various Allied governments, nearly all of Germany's greatest ocean liners were turned over to their respective passenger lines . The Imperator was given to the British Cunard Lines to replace the RMS Lusitania. Renamed RMS Berengaria, she was Cunard's flagship until 1934, and was broken up in 1938.
See also: RMS Berengaria
- 51,680 gross tons
- 919 ft (280 m) overall length, 98.3 ft (29.9 m) beam.
- Engines: steam turbines geared to 4 screws, 60,000 shaft horsepower (45 MW), designed speed 22.5 knots (42 km/h).
- 4,234 passengers (908 first class, 592 second class, 962 third class, 1,772 steerage), 1,180 crew.
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