American Icon - SS United States
Ocean Liner painting of the liner SS United States at Manhattan by Marine Artist Robert G. Lloyd
To this day the fastest liner to cross the Atlantic, United States was built and operated with substantial Government subsidy and also holds the record for the most expensive (in real terms) merchant ship ever built in the USA.
The success of the two Cunard “Queens” during WWII in shipping large volumes of men and material from the U.S to Europe made it obvious to US Government officials that the procurement of such a ship would be advantageous in the event of another European conflict.
Built by Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Company, United States was designed for great speed, lightness and fireproofing. These three factors combined to make the United States an extremely fast ship, attaining 43 knots on trials, a fact that was kept secret for a great number of years. On her maiden voyage she took the Blue Riband on both legs of the trip and was a huge hit with public and celebrities alike. As passenger numbers declined she went on to cruising duties but her size made her both unwieldy and unprofitable, the ship being laid up in 1969.
This Atlantic great has since laid idle and has only been moved to have Asbestos removed and take up a new berth at Philadephia. Now in poor condition, her fate remains in the balance.
Robert Lloyd's Ocean Liner painting shows the ship in happier days at Manhattan with two distinctive Manhattan tugs in attendance.