SS Great Britain
The ship was built to handle luxury traffic to New York, it may have raised the bar on what was possible from engineering, speed (with the steam engine, the ship couldn't get becalmed on the high seas), and reliability standpoints, but it didn't convince many. Most people saw its size and its iron hull and thought it would break in half. Brunel sold very few tickets. It was only after its fifth trip, when it went aground in Ireland and didn't break up, that its stability was confirmed. But its owners went bankrupt salvaging it.
It was then bought and spent years taking people seeking their fortunes in a gold rush to Australia. It was expanded and became the fastest way to get Down Under.
Later, it was purchased and used as a floating warehouse before it was again beached and then stranded. Finally, it was rescued, and towed back to England. It is now the heart of one of the most popular attractions in the U.K.
July 6, 2011 4:00 AM PDT
Photo by: Kathleen Craig
| Caption by: Daniel Terdiman
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