Men working with pumps for hydraulic rams on the 'Great Eastern', c 1858.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Workers on the 'Leviathan' ('Great Eastern') steamship with hydraulic pumps made by Robert Howlett and G Downes. This steamship, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859) 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. From 1865-1873 she laid submarine cables, including the first transatlantic telegraph link.