Beginning merely as a number -
THE QUEEN MARY IN RELATION TO TRAFALGAR SQUARE, LONDON. The Nelson Monument (170 feet high) is shown on the starboard side, the crown of Nelson’s hat just overtopping the boat deck. The Queen Mary is 234 feet high from keel to masthead. Her stern, assuming it is possible to lay the ship down in this position, would push in the walls of the Garrick Theatre, in Charing Cross Road, and her stem would protrude into Whitehall. The Admiralty Arch is seen in the left foreground of this drawing.
TO both expert and layman and to men of all ages and all climes the building of the giant Queen Mary must for ever remain not only a triumph of imagination and skill, but also a piece of magic. It was Samuel Cunard who originated the bold plan of connecting Britain, Canada, and the United States by regular mail and passenger steamship lines. Samuel Cunard was considered to be a madman, since all men of vision are inevitably regarded with suspicion and sometimes with contempt by the conventionally minded. Undaunted, Cunard built the Britannia -
MODERNITY COMBINED WITH BEAUTY is the keynote of the Queen Mary, Great Britain’s contribution to the line of super-
The building of the Queen Mary is one of the greatest stories of human achievement. The building of any large ship is a complicated problem that has to be unravelled months, and sometimes years, before she can go down to the sea. In the early stages of design men experimented with tiny models of hull form, their researches being planned to test what would happen in all kinds of Atlantic conditions when applied to various forms of hull. For the Queen Mary over seven thousand experiments were carried out with many forms and shapes of models, which travelled a distance of 1,000 miles up and down the experimental tank until the final form was determined.
From such small beginnings the Queen Mary was evolved, a ship of beautiful lines with a sloping stem, cruiser stern, and fore and aft rig, and with three raked funnels adding a final touch of dignity. The forward funnel is over 70 feet in height from the boat deck, the remaining two being set lower. The circumference of each funnel is nearly 100 feet, the larger diameter 30 feet. So large are the funnels that three big express locomotives could be run abreast through any one of them. Figures alone cannot convey to the mind the enormous size nor the majesty of this, the latest and most up-
ONE OF THE THREE GREAT FUNNELS in position. The forward funnel is over 70 feet in height from the boat deck. The remaining two have been set lower, but the circumference of each funnel is nearly 100 feet and the larger diameter 30 feet. So large are the funnels that three locomotives could be run abreast through any one of them. The illustration also shows a striking view of the vessel’s cruiser stern.
If we consider the ship in relation to Westminster Abbey, the top of the Abbey towers would not reach to the top of her mainmast. The top of Magdalen Tower at Oxford (145 feet) would come half-
Numbers, too, can in some ways stimulate our imagination. Official records show that ten million rivets, weighing 4,000 tons, have been driven into this ship; twenty-
A Thousand Feet of Steel
Let us remember that these staggering figures go to make up but part of the Queen Mary, listed simply as No. 534. The extra-
These conditions form the opposition which the vessel must be able to combat, for Nature is not always kind. So well have the plans been made for the meeting of this opposition that the Queen Mary is well prepared for storm as well as for calm. It is impossible in one chapter to deal fully with a ship of so many facets, a ship constructed as the peak of modern sea conquest. All that can be done at the moment is to present an introduction to the subject, leaving to later chapters the intimate details, which are no less important.
MORE THAN 300,000 PEOPLE were employed in various capacities on the construction of “No. 534”. Ten million rivets were driven in. If forged into a chain they would reach from London to Newcastle, a distance of 268£ miles. The total weight of metal in the hull and machinery is more than 50,000 tons, while approximately 2,000 portholes and windows have been cut into the plates.
The gigantic hull of the ship is divided by eighteen transverse, watertight bulkheads, while the double bottom, covering the whole of the vessel, contains seventy main compartments. We must also take account of an additional sub-
This double bottom forms an inner and outer skin running the full length of the machinery spaces of the ship. The bulkhead forming the inner boundary of the bunker tanks throughout the boiler-
Adequate resistance to all anticipated stresses that Nature may enforce is of primary importance in all shipbuilding.
With the Queen Mary these stresses are multiplied in many ways, but a high factor of safety has been arrived at. Consider, for a moment, that she is a high-
The propelling equipment is on four screws, and is of what is known as geared-
Each of the four propellers is made of manganese bronze and is four-
The four main engines are contained in two engine-
Oil fuel for the furnaces of these boilers is carried in side bunkers to the boiler rooms, the capacity being about 6,300 tons. The air and overflow pipe system is so arranged that the escape of oil fuel vapour, with its distinctive odour, is not permitted in any part of the ship. Six filling stations, arranged at convenient positions, will allow of the vessel being fuelled in eight hours, no manual labour being required except for coupling up the hoses. The whole operation of bunkering (i.e. filling the bunkers) can be carried out without interfering in any way with other activities, such as taking in stores or embarking passengers.
Luxury and Dignity
The Queen Mary is not only a wonder of mechanics and engineering; she is also a floating hotel, whose appointments must be equal to, or even superior to, those of the finest hotels ashore. She is, therefore, equipped with electrical installations of gigantic scale. Even apart from any provision made by means of electricity for the comfort of passengers, it would be difficult to conceive how a ship of this size could be efficiently handled and its internal organization controlled without the aid of electricity. Electrical power is so easily distributed to places remote from the source of supply. All the deck machinery, for example, such as steering gear, windlass, capstans, cargo-
ONE OF THE CHAINS attached to the two great anchors of the Queen Mary. Each chain is 990 feet (165 fathoms) long and weighs 145 tons. Each link has a diameter of 4⅛ in. Elaborate tests were made to ensure the strength of the chains. A three-
THE QUEEN MARY CHIEF FEATURES
Number of passengers: 2,000
Number of crew: 1,050
Classes: First, Tourist and Third
Overall length: 1,018 feet
Beam: 118 feet
Depth (from keel to superstructure top): 135 feet
Depth (from keel to masthead): 234 feet
Number of funnels: 3
Diameter (larger) of funnels: 30 feet
Circumference of funnels (approx.): 100 feet
Number of propellers: 4
Weight of propellers (approx.): 35 tons each
Number of boilers: 27
Working pressure of boilers, per square inch: 400lb
Steam temperature: 700 deg. (Fahr.)
Luxury combined with dignity for all classes of passengers is the keynote of No. 534. Altogether she carries about 2,000 passengers and about 1,050 crew. The passenger groups are first class, tourist and third class, and for each class there is distinctive beauty of accommodation, to be found in no other ship. During the last few years space requirements for every class of transatlantic passenger have increased, a problem adequately solved by the successors of Samuel Cunard. Although the ship is essentially an express passenger carrier, her space allowance for state rooms and public rooms also is a more than remarkable feature. First-
In a vessel of this size, dealing, as she does, with so big a staff and passenger complement, it is vital to remember that the luxury provided has to be designed on the most economic lines, for the saving of even one-
These services are worth noting. Figures again must come into our estimation of the Queen Mary. Over 30,000 lamps are needed for the ship’s accommodation, and most of these lamps are of high candle-
The telephone service is another important branch of electrical work, especially that concerning communication within the ship. She is so large that a comprehensive internal telephone system is obviously an essential. There are also a noiseless steward-
The radio installation of the ship is an extraordinary one. Two stations on board, separated by a distance of about 250 ft, permit of simultaneous transmission and reception without mutual interference, thus making it possible to carry on several different services at the same time. Such facilities are essential to a vessel of this size, as the volume of radio-
The receiving station is also on the boat deck, but between the first and second funnels, where the control of the whole radio equipment is centred. Within the receiving station are the eight operating positions, the radio-
Each of the telegraphists has in front of him a dial which is similar to the ordinary automatic telephone dial. By the manipulation of this dial the operator can start up or shut down a transmitter, increase or decrease its power as may be requisite, or change to any desired wave-
Communications of a transatlantic express steamer call for the employment of many wave-
Radio broadcasting has made considerable strides during the past few years, and the builders of the Queen Mary have taken the fullest advantage of this. Provision is made for the simultaneous relaying of three programmes to the different public rooms. Thirty-
All the fixed loud-
We will now consider some of the problems that have to be faced in the building of a ship of the size of the Queen Mary. Reflect on the man who is guiding a machine that is cutting steel shavings from the 3-
The testing of these chains was of considerable importance. A three-
In yet another way did the launch of the Queen Mary make history, as she is the first giant vessel to be launched in the service of the combined Cunard and White Star Lines. She is, indeed, “the giant of the Seven Seas”. She represents the peak of human achievement in sea craft -
[From Part 1, published 30 January 1936]
“World’s Largest Ships” on this website.
You can read more about “Making Giant Propellers” for the Queen Mary in Wonders of World Engineering