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What Role Did People Play in Running a Turbine Steamship?

Ships like the Lusitania were turbine steamships. A transatlantic crossing, in less than 5 days, required a huge amount of human effort.

During her sea trials, Lusitania reached a speed of 26.7 knots. Her fastest transatlantic crossing was in 1909 when she averaged 25.85 knots, making port in 4 days, 16 hours and 40 minutes.

About 5,000 tons of coal had to be loaded, shovel by shovel, to fill the Lusitania’s coal bunkers which surrounded the ship’s four boiler rooms.  For a five-day crossing, that means the ship needed about 1,000 tons of coal for each day at sea.

With trimmers shoveling coal, stokers and firemen minding the huge boilers and engineers working around the clock to coax the best performance out of the ship, Lusitania’s awesome speeds resulted from human beings working exceptionally hard as a team.

What do you think was the most-difficult job aboard a turbine steamship like Lusitania?

Can you liken 21st-century teamwork to the teamwork required of Lusitania’s crew? Explain your answer.


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