The SS United States was built in 1952 and is a passenger liner for the United States Lines. She was meant to recapture the trans-Atlantic speed record form the British ships and possibly serve the United States as a troop carrier. It cost $78 million to build her and she is known as the largest ocean liner that was built entire within the United States. She is also known as the fastest ocean liner to cross the Atlantic in either of the directions and she holds the Blue Riband. The Blue Riband is given to a passenger liner that holds the record for the highest speed. She operated in transatlantic passenger service up until 1969 and has been kept docked at Pier 82 on the Delaware River in Philadelphia since 1996.
She had multiple Captains that included Roy Edward Fiddler, Harry Manning, Leroy J. Alexanderson, and John Anderson. The Untied States was inspired to build her after they saw the service that the British RMS Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth was transporting hundreds of thousands of soldiers to Europe in World War II. The U.S. government decided to sponsor the construction of a fast and large ship that could transport large amounts of soldiers. The Untied States was designed by William Francis Gibbs, a very famous American naval architect and marine engineer. The construction included the work of both the United States Navy and the Unites States Lines. The U.S. government provided $50 of the $78 million that is cost to build the United States and the United States Lined provided the remaining $28 million. As an exchange offer, the ship could easily be changed to a troopship in case of a war and had a 15,000 troop capacity or it could be made into a ship that would function as a hospital. The construction of the ship occurred at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company in Newport News, Virginia in 1950-1952. The hull was built when the keel was laid in a graving dock. She was build under Navy specifications and they required her to have separate engine rooms to optimize war-time survival and be heavily compartmentalized. In order to lessen the risk of fire, the United States contained no wood in her framing, accessories, interior surfaces, or decoration. All fitting, such as furniture and fabrics, were made in metal, glass, and spun glass fiber in order to make sure that the fireproofing guidelines that were set by the U.S. Navy were followed. The galley did have a butcher block, but the clothes hangers in the cabins were al made of aluminum and the grand piano in the ballroom was made of a special, fire-resistant wood and was only accepted by the Navy after a demonstration in which the piano was covered with gasoline and set on fire, proved that the wood would not ignite.
The construction of the United States used the most aluminum to that day. It was quite a struggle for the builders to figure out a way to join the aluminum with the steel decks below. Using aluminum also made the ship much lighter. The United States was built to Panamax capacity at 105 feet beam and that ensured that she could pass and clear the Panama Canal locks with 2 feet of space to spare on each side. The United States’ turbine was the most powerful steam turbine in any present merchant marine vessel. She could steam astern at over 20 knots and she could carry enough fuel to keep sailing with no stops for over 10,000 miles.