Amid the tooting of hundreds of whistles and the dipping of flags, the new White Star Line steamship Baltic, the largest ever built, made her way up the bay yesterday, completing her maiden voyage from Liverpool to this port. Thousands of eyes along the shore watched the big vessel as she steamed slowly up the harbor on the breast of the tide, and every floating craft to be seen dwindled into insignificance beside the big liner. When the Baltic appeared in the upper bay ferryboats, steamboats, tugs, and sailing craft went out of their course to give those aboard better views of the steamship, and those vessels which were going down the channel as the Baltic came made way for her.
The lines on which the Baltic is built give her the characteristic look of the Cedric and Celtic, the two other largest ships of the White Star Line, but she exceeds both these by about 3,000 tons. To those who went alongside her the Baltic's freeboard appeared tremendously high, the longest ladders on the revenue cutters, which are long enough for all other vessels, hardly reaching to the main deck. Her sides are painted black, and her two big smokestacks are light brown, except where they are circled near the top by board black bands. She has four pole masts. The great size of the Baltic, however, is minimized by the gracefulness of her lines. The steam yacht Corsair was waiting down the bay for J. Pierpont Morgan, her owner, who was aboard the steamship, and as the Baltic came up the bay the black yacht ran for a time alongside of her, the yacht ran for a time alongside of her, the yacht looking like a little toy beside the big liner.
The length of the Baltic is 726 feet. In this respect she exceeds the length of the Kaiser Wilheim II of the North German Lloyd Line, which formerly was the longest ship, by 18.2 feet. Her width is 75 feet. In all she has eight decks, four of them being above the main deck. She is of 24,000 tons gross register, while her capacity for cargo is 28,000 tons, and her load draught about 40,000. The new steamship has accommodations for about 3,000 passengers besides her crew of 350.
The first-class smoking room and library are on the upper promenade deck. The staterooms in the first-class cabin are so arranged that the passengers occupying them will feel very little of the ship's motion. Just abaft the first-class compartment is that for the second-class passengers, consisting of a large dining room, a smoking room and a library, besides the staterooms. With the exception of a limited space forward, the third-class passengers are provided for abaft the second-class.
The Baltic is fitted with engines of Harlan & Wolff's quadruple expansion type, arranged on the balanced principle, which practically does away with vibration. The liner can attain a speed of about 17 miles an hour. The steamship was built at the yards of Harlan & Wolff at Belfast, and she sailed from Liverpool for this side on June 29, stopping on the next day at Queenstown to pick up mails and passengers. She is in command of Lieut. E.J. Smith, R.N.R., who has become well known to seagoers as Captain of the steamship Majestic, from which he was transferred to take command of the new vessel. The Baltic is the tenth command which Lieut. Smith has held in the service of the White Star Line.
S/S Baltic at Liverpool landing stage [old postcard]
The first trip of the big liner was made in 7 days, 13 hours and 37 minutes, and both Chief Engineer H. Crawford Boyle, formerly of the Celtic, and Consulting Engineer Andrews of Harlan & Wolff, who made the trip for the purpose of watching the Baltic's behavior, declares that there was not the slightest trouble with her machinery, and that she has come up to all expectations. Her best day's run was 417 knots, made on July 4.
She brought a total of 906 passengers, 209 in the first-class cabin, 142 in the second-class, and 555 in the steerage. Every one of the passengers united in saying that the voyage could not have been more pleasant. Capt. Smith was delighted with his ship. "I tried to see how she would work coming around the tail of the Southwest Spit," he said, "and, as the channel was clear, I sent her around at full speed. She behaved admirably. Pilot Johnson, who has brought up almost every one of the big vessels that come into this port, piloted us up."
The officers of the Baltic are Thomas Kidwell, formerly of the Celtic, chief officer; W.E. Graham, surgeon; H. McElroy, purser, and H. Wovenden, chief steward. The ship will be open for public inspection on Monday and an admission fee of 25 cents will be asked from each visitor, the proceeds to go to the seamen's charities.