Featured in Going Coastal
Featured in Preserving History
The SS United States is a passenger liner built in 1952 for the United States Lines and designed to recapture the trans-Atlantic speed record from the British and serve as a possible troop carrier. Built at a cost of $78 million, the ship remains the largest ocean liner built entirely in the United States, the fastest ocean liner to cross the Atlantic in either direction, and it remains current holder of the Blue Riband, given to the passenger liner crossing the Atlantic Ocean in regular service with the record highest speed. The United States operated in transatlantic passenger service until 1969, and since 1996 has been docked at Pier 82 on the Delaware River in Philadelphia.
On its maiden voyage on 4 July 1952, the United States broke the transatlantic speed record held by the Queen Mary for the previous 14 years by over 10 hours, making the maiden crossing from the Ambrose lightship at New York Harbor to Bishop Rock off Cornwall, UK in 3 days, 10 hours, 40 minutes at an average speed of 35.59 knots (40.96 mph). The liner also broke the westbound crossing record by returning to America in 3 days 12 hours and 12 minutes at an average speed of 34.51 knots (39.71 mph), thereby obtaining both the eastbound and westbound Blue Ribands — the first time a U.S. flagged ship had held the speed record since the SS Baltic claimed the prize a century earlier.