White Star Line’s Teutonic was launched at the Belfast Harland & Wolff shipyard on 19 January 1889. She was the first modern ocean liner in more ways than one.
Thanks to Admiralty financial support, Teutonic was the first passenger ship specifically designed to be converted into an armed merchant cruiser. She was also the first White Star and Harland and Wolff twin-screw vessel, as well as the first without square rigged masts. With Teutonic, confidence in reliable steam propulsion was, at last, firmly established.
Sister ship to Majestic (1890), the 9,686 GRT Teutonic was 565 feet long with a 57 foot beam. Rated at 20 knots she featured three non-square-rigged masts and two funnels.
At the Spithead Naval Review on 4 August 1889, Teutonic was boarded by the Prince of Wales, accompanied by Kaiser Wilhelm II, the German emperor. During their tour, the Kaiser reportedly remarked, “We must have some of these.”
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