Добро пожаловать к этому международному месту открытки изображения. Benvenuto a questo luogo internazionale della cartolina di immagine. Καλωσορίστε σε αυτήν την διεθνή περιοχή καρτών εικόνων. Willkommen zu diesem internationalen Abbildungspostkarteaufstellungsort. Bienvenue à cet emplacement international de carte postale. Onthaal aan deze Internationale plaats van de beeldprentbriefkaar. Welcome to this International picture postcard site. (Please Click on the Picture for an Enlarged View)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Germany – SS Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse

There is no doubt that the Kaiser realised what great national symbols large ships would be for his empire. He returned to Germany with the intention of building German liners to show the world the capability of the German Empire. And what would be a better way to do this, than to capture the famous Blue Riband into German hands? But it would take them some years to do so.
In Germany, there were two major transatlantic shipping companies: The Hamburg-Amerika Line and the Norddeutscher Lloyd (North German Lloyd). Neither of these lines had up until now shown any interest in operating large liners. But the steadily growing immigration traffic and the wishes of the Kaiser soon changed their minds.
Norddeutscher Lloyd was the company that took the first step. The Kaiser wanted Germany's ships to be the greatest ever, and he wanted German shipbuilders to build them. Norddeutscher Lloyd therefore approached the Vulcan Shipyards at Stettin. With them they placed the order for what would become the very first German superliner.
On May 4th 1897, the new ship was ready for its launch. The Kaiser himself was present, and the ship was named Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse after his grandfather. The new ship would set a new style for ocean liners. She was the largest and longest liner afloat. She would have been the biggest ever had it not been for the Great Eastern of 1860. The most striking feature of the Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse was her four funnels, the first ship ever to sport such a quartet that for the next decade would be the symbol of size and safety. To give her record-breaking speed, the ship was fitted with reciprocating engines capable of developing some 31,000 horsepower.
But the thing that was really ground-breaking was the fashion of her interior design. For the first time in history, one single designer was responsible for the decorating of an entire ship. On the Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse, as well as on her three subsequent sisters, the designer's name was Johannes Poppe. His style of interiors was of a new kind, and it would be reflected in many German liners to come. Favouring baroque revival, Poppe created an atmosphere that had no match in decoration. Public rooms were given high ceilings and rich ornate carvings. His taste for grandiosity seemed to know no limits, and it was almost as if he had tried to gild the whole ship. Nevertheless, the travelling public enjoyed the new Kaiser, and she quickly became a very popular ship.
As with the Kaiser's ideal Teutonic, the Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse had been built with a possible war in mind. Should it ever be necessary, the ship could be fitted with guns to serve as an auxiliary cruiser.

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