Olympic — A New Class of Liner - Ocean Liners Magazine

Olympic — A New Class of Liner

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Launched on 20 October 1910, White Star Line’s Olympic (1911) was heralded as the world’s largest and grandest liner, and the forerunner of an entire new class of superliners. Yet Olympic was soon doomed to sail in the shadow of her slightly larger sister ship, Titanic, launched in May 1911

Olympic white star

Olympic hits the water. At her launch, Olympic’s hull was painted a light gray for photographic purposes, a common practice at the time. The hue made the ship’s lines stand out clearer in black and white photographs and newsreels. Her hull was painted black following the launch.

Like Titanic, Olympic was designed by renowned naval architect Thomas Andrews. Olympic, like Titanic, boasted first class accommodations designed to meet the demanding tastes of her wealthy passengers, yet she also met the needs of many less well-heeled business and holiday travelers, as well as emigrants.

Olympic borrowed design elements from grand hotels, country estates, cathedrals, and even a palace or two. As the Edwardian Era transitioned into the Jazz Age, Olympic became a celebrity favorite, transporting notables such as Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and the Prince of Wales (the future Edward VIII/Duke of Windsor). Yet Olympic was also in many ways an unlucky ship, plagued by several collisions (including one that was intentional) and even a mutiny.

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