The Steamship Bremen

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The steamship Bremen, the first of five passenger steamships of this name owned by Norddeutscher Lloyd, was built by Caird & Co, Greenock (yard #58) at a cost of 1,281,000 gold marks, and launched on 1 February 1858.

Her initial stats were: 2,674 tons; 101,46 x 11,89 meters (length x breadth); clipper bow, 1 funnel, 3 masts (barkentine rigged); iron construction, screw propulsion, service speed 11 knots; accommodation for 60 passengers in 1st class, 110 in 2nd, and 400 in steerage; crew of between 102 and 118; freight capacity 1,000 tons; coal capacity 850 tons, burned at the rate of 2.2-2.5 kilos per horsepower hour.

Her maiden voyage was, 19 June 1858, from Bremen to New York, carrying 115 passengers and 150 tons of freight. Upon arrival at New York (4 July), she made a demonstration cruise to Sandy Hook, with invited guests that included Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

14 January 1860, she reached Southampton under sail with a broken shaft; out of service undergoing repairs at Southampton for 6 months.

8 July 1860, she resumed Bremen-New York service. In 1864, a Krupp steel shaft was installed, and boiler pre-heating. 5 November 1873, she made her last voyage, Bremen to Southampton to New York. Then on June 1874, along with the steamship New York, she was sold to E. Bates & Co., Liverpool, for £19,000. Both vessels were converted to sail.

Finally on 16 October 1882, the Bremen ran ashore on the Farallon Islands, 27 miles outside the Golden Gate, San Francisco, directly under the light house, in a dense fog. The cargo of coal and whiskey was insured, the ship was not. Small craft waited for the whiskey cargo to float up; in 1929, a T. H. P. Whitelaw proposed raising the whiskey, but was prevented from doing so by the U.S. government.

Sources for the information about the SS Bremen: Arnold Kludas, Die Seeschiffe des Norddeutschen Lloyd, Bd. 1: 1857 bis 1919 (Herford: Koehler, c1991), pp. 10-11 (picture);
Edwin Drechsel, Norddeutscher Lloyd Bremen, 1857-1970; History, Fleet, Ship Mails, vol. 1 (Vancouver: Cordillera Pub. Co., c1994), p. 13; Noel Reginald Pixell Bonsor, North Atlantic Seaway;
An Illustrated History of the Passenger Services Linking the Old World with the New (2nd ed.; Jersey, Channel Islands: Brookside Publications), vol. 2 (1978), p. 544.