WHAT REALLY SANK THE LUSITANIA? (STEAMSHIPS.) John Brown & Company. Original mechanical plan of the Lusitania's steam piping by its builders. Ink drawing on tracing vellum in 1:48 scale, 27 x 102 inches, docketed "as fitted" on verso; minor toning at folds, wear and soiling to outer docket panels on verso. Clydebank, Scotland, 25 November 1907
The Lusitania was the largest and fastest ocean liner in the world when this drawing was made in 1907. It was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine in 1915, killing 1,198 passengers and setting the United States on the road to war.
The Lusitania's engines were tested in June 1907 and it was launched for its maiden voyage on 7 September. Although this drawing is docketed "As Fitted," it is stamped with a 25 November date, suggesting either that it was inspected and filed on that date, or perhaps redrawn for the files from earlier working drawings.
Shortly after the torpedo hit the Lusitania in 1915, it was followed by a mysterious second explosion, causing a rapid failure of the ship's power systems and its unusually rapid sinking. Various theories have surfaced about that second explosion, but many researchers believe that a failure in the ship's steam engines and piping was the cause. This drawing, titled "Q.S.T.S. Lusitania, Arrangement of Steam Piping to Deck Machinery, Thermotanks, Galleys and Pantries, Main Deck Forw'd," may hold some clues to the disaster. An important artifact of a renowned ship and a terrible tragedy. with--a contemporary Velox real-photo postcard titled "S.S. Lusitania, arrival New York maiden voyage, Sept 13th 07" with ink stamp of Merritt & Chapman Derrick & Wrecking Co. on recto.
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