S. S. Leviathan Engine Order Telegraph

This telegraph was used to communicate speed and direction orders from the wheelhouse of the ocean liner Leviathan to one of its engine rooms. Most modern ships have a throttle, but for steamers it was necessary for the pilot to contact the engine room with instructions for the engineer that were relayed to the boilermen. This telegraph would signal full, half, slow, dead slow, finished with engine, and stop—both astern and ahead.
The ocean liner Leviathan was built as the Vaterland for Germany's Hamburg-American Line in 1914. During World War I the American government seized the ship and operated it as a troopship. After a complete reconditioning at Newport News, Virginia, in 1922-23, the Leviathan became the flagship of the new United States Lines, which operated it for the U.S. Shipping Board until 1929. Subsequently sold into private hands, the ship ran until 1934. Laid up as a result of high operating costs and low Depression-era patronage, the Leviathan was sold to Scottish shipbreakers in 1938 and dismantled.
Currently not on view
date made
used date
Associated Place
United States: New York
overall: 45 1/2 in x 21 1/4 in x 12 in; 115.57 cm x 53.975 cm x 30.48 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Frank O. Braynard, Sea Cliff, New York
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Work and Industry: Maritime
America on the Move
Data Source
National Museum of American History