09 October, 2007

Norddeutscher Lloyd's SS Columbus Postcard

The third ship in my collection is the Norddeutscher Lloyd, Dampfer (Steamer) Columbus. This time it was easy to gather information since the postcard gave the name of the ship.

Norddeutscher Lloyd's SS Columbus Postcard
later known as White Star Line RMS Homeric

Here are some of the important facts about SS Columbus/RMS Homeric:

Laid down in 1912, the Columbus was the first of two of vessels ordered by Norddeutscher Lloyd (North German Lloyd) for their premiere run, Bremerhaven to New York. At 35,000 tons, she was the largest ship in Norddeutscher Lloyd’s fleet with the focus on luxury rather than speed. It was launched at the F. Schihau yard in Danzig in December 17, 1913.

However, work was halted entirely in August 1914 as the drama of World War I played out. Rusting and neglected, the unfinished Columbus was ceded to the British as reparation for the ships they had lost in the war, and then acquired by White Star Line in 1920. In 1920 construction was resumed under the watchful eye of officials sent down from Harland & Wolff. Following in the White Star tradition of names ending in -ic, the Columbus was renamed Homeric. Finally completed in late 1921, the Homeric was handed over.

The freshly completed Homeric arrived in Southampton January 21, 1922. Just one month later, on February 21, 1922, Homeric departed Southampton on her maiden voyage to New York. Built with the steerage trade in mind, Homeric had a huge portion of her accommodations devoted to immigrants, and when the United States curtailed the flow of foreign settlers in the mid 1920’s the Homeric was particularly hard hit. Her transatlantic crossings began to lose money as early at 1926, and the ship was sent on cruises around the Mediterranean and Caribbean. When the Georgic entered service, Homeric became surplus on the Atlantic and she was sent cruising full time. On June 1, 1932, she departed New York on her final transatlantic crossing.

Cruising from British ports to the Mediterranean, the Homeric was one of the first liners to be used exclusively as a cruise ship. In 1934, White Star and Cunard merged, and the Homeric was declared surplus again, slated to be sold to the breakers upon completion of the merger. In late 1936, she was sold to Thomas Ward & Sons for scrap. By 1938, the Homeric was gone.

Tonnage: 35,000
Length: 774 ft (236.0 m)
Beam: 82.3 ft (25.1 m)
Propulsion: Twin screw
Speed: 18 knots
Passenger Capacity: 2,145 passengers: 750 First Class, 545 Second Class, 850 Third Class
Laid down: 1912
Launched: 1913
Christened: January, 1922
Maiden voyage: February 15, 1922
Fate: Served for 13 years from 1922 to 1935. Scrapped.

RMS Homeric

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