The Corsican was fitted with four complete steel decks, the orlop, lower, main and shelter deck. The shelter deck was completely sheathed with pitch pine, while the lower and main decks were covered with terrano, a substitute for wood. Above the shelter deck at the fore end was the forecastle deck, providing accommodation for stewards, fireman and crew. At the after end was a long combined poop and bridge sheathed with pitch pine, forming a promenade which was assigned partly to the second class passengers and partly to the third class (steerage) passengers. Above that was the promenade deck, which was reserved exclusively for first class passengers, and above that again was the upper bridge deck, on which the officers' quarters was placed. The flying bridge, which was used for navigating purposes, was formed by an extension of the roof of the officers' house. Provision was originally made for 300 first class-, 400 second class-, and 1,500 third class (steerage) passengers.
The practice of placing a number of staterooms on the promenade deck had been adhered to in this vessel, these rooms accommodating two occupants, which fact, coupled with the obvious advantages of situation, should make them the most popular on board. The passages throughout the accommodation were extra wide and had abundance of light and air. The ventilation had received special attention, and the usual method of tube ventilator was supplemented by a complete installation on the thermo-tank system.
The first class dining saloon was situated in the deckhouse at the fore end of the bridge deck, extending right across, and was lighted by extra large square windows on three sides. The decoration was carried out simply and considered in good taste. The paneling was in oak, with white enameled ceiling relieved with gold. Adjacent to that was the pantry. A cold chamber was provided on orlop deck where perishable provisions could be kept at any desired temperature.
The music room was situated on the promenade deck, with large square windows around three sides. The decoration was carried out in white, with mural panels of silk, the ceiling enameled white and picked out in gold.
The first class smoke room, placed at the same level as the music room, was well lighted and ventilated, and as a further aid to ventilation a large teak skylight had been fitted above the center of the room. The decoration was in fumed oak with ceiling in white, and comfortably placed seats and tables were fitted, together with a bar leading directly off that room.
The electric light installation consisted of two independent dynamos, each driven by compound coupled engines. A complete system of electric lighting was fitted throughout the ship, including navigating lights and large clusters for use when discharging cargo at night. A Marconi installation was fitted on board. The safety of the passengers had been considered by the provision made by sixteen lifeboats and ten collapsible boats with patent lowering and disengaging gear.
The vessel originally had a capacity for carrying 11,000 tons of dead-weight. Cargo loading and discharging facilities were unusually complete. Six large cargo hatches were served by twelve powerful winches and derricks to suit, and a powerful warping winch in the steering gear house. Large tanks capable of containing about 400 tons of fresh water had been built into the ship for the service of passengers.
No effort was spared to obtain construction of the first quality; the vessel not only conformed to the highest class in the British Corporation, but possessed considerable additional strengthening in order to suit the owners' special needs. The hull was generally constructed of mild steel, Siemens-Martin open hearth process. It was divided into separate watertight compartments by seven bulkheads, and to further insure immunity from danger in the event of collision or stranding, a complete inner bottom had been fitted, divided by numerous partitions into separate water ballast tanks, each tank capable of being filled or emptied independently, so that the trim and draft of the vessel could be adjusted at any time to suit the conditions of service.
The machinery, which was constructed by the builders, consisted of two sets of triple expansion engines, the diameters of the cylinders were 28, 47 and 79 inches, with a stroke of 54 inches. The intermediate and low pressure cylinders were fitted with flat slide valves. Direct steam starting and reversing gear was also fitted as well as steam and hand gear for turning engines in port. The surface condenser was horizontal and built of steel plates with cast iron ends; the condensing surface was 6,000 square feet. The propellers were three-bladed, and had cast iron bosses and blades of manganese bronze. The twin-screw engines was of 8,500 indicated horsepower and gave the ship a speed at sea of about 16 knots.
The boilers were seven in number, with a working pressure of 190 pounds per square inch. Each boiler was fitted with four furnaces. Howden's forced draft was supplied by two fans. The total number of furnaces was 28; the heating surface 22,000 square feet, and the grate surface 539 square feet, the ratio was 40.8 to 1. [International Marine Engineering 1907]
Launching of the Corsican by Barclay, Curle and Co.