John Speller's Web Pages S.S. Great Eastern

John Speller's Web Pages - Brunel's Steamships

S.S. Great Eastern
Brunel's last and greatest steamship, the "Great Eastern," was for over forty years the world's largest steamship with a gross weight of 18,915 tons. The displacement weight was 32,160 tons. The great ship was built by John Scott Russell & Company of Millwall and launched on 31 January 1858. The financial and technical difficulties surrounding the ship's building probably hastened Brunel's death on 15 September 1859. Equipped with both paddle wheels and a screw propeller, the ship made its first voyage to the United States on 16 June 1860. Under the supervision of Sir Daniel Gooch it was used in 1865 to lay the first successful Transatlantic Telegraph Cable. Because it was so far ahead of its time in capacity, however, the ship was less utilized and thus less successful than it deserved to be. It was broken up in 1889-90.
The S.S. Great Eastern under construction at Millwall in 1859
Left to right: John Scott Russell, Henry Wakefield, Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Lord Derby at the first attempt to launch the S.S. Great Eastern on 3 November 1857
Drawing of the S.S. Great Eastern from the Illustrated London News
Longitudinal Section of the S.S. Great Eastern showing the watertight compartments
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