Feeding a Ship's Passengers

Scientific American

The huge size to which the modern Transatlantic steamship has grown, and the bewildering amount of provisions that have to be taken aboard for a single trip across the ocean are wonderful. A mere tabulation of the various kinds of food which go to replenish the ship's larder during the few days which she spends in port, fails to convey any adequate idea of the vast amount of stores taken aboard.

The dimensions of the vessel are: Length, 686 feet; beam, 67 feet, and displacement, twenty-three thousand tons; her highest average speed for the whole trip is 23.36 knots, and she has made the journey from Sandy Hook to the Lizard in five days, seven hours, and thirty-eight minutes. In considering the question of feeding the passengers on a vessel of this size, the thought is suggested that there are other hungry mouths within the hull of the ship besides those to be found in the dining saloons of the passengers and the mess-rooms of the crew; mouths that are so voracious that they require feeding not merely at the three regular meal hours of the ship, but every hour of the day and night, from the time the moorings are cast off at one port until the vessel is warped alongside at the other. We refer to the one hundred and twelve furnaces in which the fuel of the sixteen boilers in the boiler-room is consumed at the rate of 572 tons per day. Now, although the voyage from New York to Hamburg lasts only six or seven days, according to the state of the weather, the bunkers of the ship are constructed to hold a sufficiently large reserve of coal to cover all contingencies, her total coal capacity being about five thousand tons; and at each voyage care is taken to see that they are pretty well filled.

The total number of souls on board the vessel when she has a full passenger list is 1,617, made up of 467 first cabin, 300 second cabin, 300 steerage, and a crew of 550, the crew comprising officers, seamen, stewards, and engineroom force. Sixteen hundred and seventeen souls would constitute the total inhabitants of many an American community that dignifies itself with the name of "city," and it is a fact that the long procession, wending its way through the assembled provisions on the quay, by no means represents the length of the line were the passengers and crew strung out along Broadway or any great thoroughfare of this city. If this number of people were to march four deep through Broadway, with a distance of say about a yard between ranks, they would extend for about a quarter of a mile, or say the length of four city blocks.

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No Place for Anarchy
October 3, 1901

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