'The Great Eastern', 1859.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Lithograph by T G Dutton. This famous 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 with the pasenger trade to Australia and the Far East in mind, the Great Eastern made her maiden voyage, acros the Atlantic, in 1860. She was not a commercial succes as a liner, but between 1865 and 1873, did valuable work laying submarine cables, including the first transatlantic telegraph link.