1889 - 1921
the end of the 1880s, the Great Eastern was still the
largest ship in the world, even though she had been scrapped in 1888. The
fastest ship, the one that held the Blue Riband was Cunard’s Etruria
with an average Atlantic-crossing speed of 19.56 knots. In 1889 the title
was given to the Inman and International Line’s City of Paris, who
managed 20.01 for the same distance. Since the White Star Line, with Thomas
Henry Ismay as managing director, still was interested in having the fastest
ship on the North Atlantic, the company commissioned two new ships from
Harland and Wolff’s shipyard. These two ships would manage to maintain
a service speed of somewhere over 20 knots, and that should make them able
to get the Blue Riband.
of this duo was decided to be named Teutonic. The ship would have
two triple expansion engines that would turn one propeller each. The Teutonic’s
keel was laid in March 1887, and the design drawings, that had been shown
to the Admiralty, were by them approved to be the finest ship-design ever
drawn. The chief designer, Alexander Montgomery Carlisle would prove his
skills many times in the future as well; for instance, he was the man that
designed the Olympic-class exteriors twenty years later. The Teutonic
was the first ship with no rigged sails, and that was because of the great
power in her twin screws. The White Star Line had
left sails behind, and would
stand as an example for many other ship companies forevermore.
|The celebrated lines
of the Teutonic-class, as designed by Alexander Carlisle.
19, 1889, the Teutonic was launched. The vessel was built under
the Auxiliary Armed Cruiser Agreement, and therefore after being completed
on July 25, she left Liverpool to the Spithead Naval Review on August 1,
to mark Queen Victoria’s 50 years on the throne as the first Armed Merchant
Cruiser. On August 3, the Teutonic was inspected by the Prince of
Wales and the German Kaiser Wilhelm II. It is said that when the German
sovereign saw the Teutonic he uttered ‘We must have some of these’.
That was the first thoughts of the German express liners Kaiser Wilhelm
der Grosse with siblings. Later, she was disarmed in order to enter
went through her maiden voyage between Liverpool and New York on August
7, the same year, replacing the old Baltic from 1871, but she was
not able to snatch the Blue Riband from the City of Paris. The ship
that took the honour from City of Paris was Teutonic’s own
sister, Majestic, who had had her maiden voyage in 1890. This proved
what the sisters were capable of, and in 1891, the Teutonic made
an even faster voyage and received the Blue Riband with an average speed
of 20.25 knots. She bettered this record later with an average speed of
the old Queen Victoria had sat on the British throne for 60 years, and
as part of the celebrations, the Teutonic honoured the queen with
yet another naval review as an Armed Merchant Cruiser. During the festivities,
Charles Parson showed his turbine-wonder Turbinia, a yacht that
was able to sail at 32 knots. Thomas Ismay, among others, was invited to
a trial run at forty miles an hour, which he gladly accepted.
first mishap occurred in 1898 in New York harbour, when she collided with
the United States’ transporter Berlin. None of the ships suffered
severe damage though, and soon the Teutonic – and the Berlin
– was back in service.
was used in the Boer conflict, degraded as a troop transporter during the
winter of 1900. She certainly showed her worthiness, and returned from
the war-scene unscratched.
1901, the Teutonic was swamped by one of the horrors of ship-captains;
a massive earthquake tsunami. Fortunately, this happened during the night-hours,
and no passengers were harmed by the deadly rush of water. However, the
two men situated in
the crow’s nest was thrown
down onto the deck, but survived.
|An advertisment for the
Blue Riband-holder R.M.S. Teutonic.
the White Star Line changed their main route from Liverpool-New York to
Southampton-New York. The Teutonic was scheduled to enter the new
‘way’, and on June 12, she made her first crossing between the two cities.
Four years later, the Teutonic was extensively rebuilt to fit with
the new standards of the ship-world. In 1913, she had become that old that
White Star decided to make the steamer into a two-class ship. No distinguished
passenger seemed to choose the Teutonic any longer. Just one year
after she had won the Blue Riband she had lost it to City of Paris,
so the ship was not the fastest, and certainly not among the largest anymore.
From 1913 and since she only carried second and third class passengers.
when the Teutonic was 25 years old, the First World War began. Since
all merchant vessels were desperately needed, she was commissioned as an
Armed Merchant Cruiser in the 10th Cruiser Squadron along with for instance
Celtic and Cedric. The Teutonic had hurriedly been
asked for to replace Cunard’s Aquitania who had been damaged in
a collision with the Leyland Line’s Canadian. The Teutonic
served the British Empire until 1916, when she was held as a reserve ship,
because there was enough adequate vessels in Admiralty service. The last
effort the Teutonic would do during the hostilities was to sail
between Great Britain and Alexandria as a troop transporter with place
for 1,500 soldiers. Even though under Admiralty laws, the ship was managed
by the White Star Line during this last year of the war.
a few years after the war had ended the Teutonic was laid up in
Cowes Roads in 1921. The Majestic had been scrapped in 1914, before
the war, so the Teutonic outlived her sister in both directions.
She had served in war, in peace, she had inspired the German Kaiser to
build new ships, and last but not least, she had held the Blue Riband of
the Atlantic. She and her sister Majestic was the last of the White
Star Line’s vessels to ever have that honour. Being 32 years old, no one
expected the Teutonic to continue after she had been laid up, and
later the same year she was broken up where she lay.
|The Teutonic - Specifications:
||582 feet (177.7 m)
||57.7 feet (17.6 m)
||9,984 gross tons
||Two triple expansion
engines powering two propellers.