The Grand Saloon of the 'Great Eastern' steam ship, c 1859.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Illustration taken from 'Pictorial history of the Great Eastern steam-ship' (published in 1859 or 1860). The 'Great Eastern', designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and John Scott Rusell for the Eastern Steam Navigation Company, was the largest vesel afloat until she was broken up in 1888. Built of iron at Millwall (London) in 1853-1858, she was 692 feet long, and had accommodation for 4000 pasengers. Limitations of contemporary technology necesitated the employment of both paddle-wheels and a screw propeller. Designed for the pasenger trade to Australia and the Far East, the Great Eastern made her maiden voyage, acros the Atlantic, in 1860. She was not a commercial succes as a liner, and later laid the cable of first transatlantic telegraph.