On 25 April, 1885, Cunard’s new Etruria made her maiden voyage to New York. On the following voyage, the liner broke the speed record and claimed the accolade of being the fastest transatlantic liner.
A modern vessel for her day, Etruria was powered by reciprocating engines driving a single screw propeller.
The ship also had auxiliary sails, which were used to supplement the propeller as well as offer a backup should the single screw ever break down.
Etruria was used on Cunard’s premiere service: Liverpool- New York.
On 22 February, 1902, Etruria’s propeller shaft broke and the ship was left drifting. She made distress calls and the liner William Cliff attended the scene. The crew aboard the William Cliff helped make temporary repairs to get Etruria underway.
The ship suffered a further propeller issue when, later that year, she again fractured her propeller shaft. This time the vessel docked in New York and had to wait until a replacement was sent out from Britain.
The following year, Etruria ran aground at the entrance to the Gedrey Channel, New York, but was later re-floated.
One of the most dramatic moments in Etruria’s career was in 1903 when the ship was hit by a rogue wave. Estimated at over 50 feet high, the wave tore away part of the bridge and killed one passenger.
Etruria was damaged during her final voyage in 1908, and laid up. She was later sold to the Thomas Ward shipbreakers, and on 10 April 1910 arrived at the scrapyard.
Image source: Simplon Post Cards