Ship Model, Tanker Type T2-SE-A1

Although dry cargo freighters like the Liberty and Victory ships are probably the best-known emergency vessels of World War II, oil tankers were also mass produced in American shipyards and played an important role in the Allied victory. This model represents the most common type of tanker, T2-SE-A1, a commercial design that before the war started was already being constructed by the Sun Shipbuilding Company for Standard Oil. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States Maritime Commission recognized that wet cargo like oil and machine lubricants would be just as necessary as guns and ammunition. The commission ordered this design to be built, in addition to the dry cargo designs.
Like the Victory ship, the T2 tanker was outfitted with a steam turbine engine that gave the vessel a speed of over 14 knots. Tankers were also built at some of the same shipyards as the other merchant vessels, and experienced a similar construction time average of about 70 days. But unlike the Victory or Liberty ships, no T2 tankers have survived to become museum ships, and only one remains afloat in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, mothballed in Beaumont, Texas.
Object Name
Ship, Single-screw tanker
ship model, single-screw tanker
model, ship
date made
early 1940s
built tankers typical to this model
Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company
purchased tankers typical to this model
Standard Oil
Physical Description
maroon (overall color)
black (overall color)
wood (overall material)
brown (overall color)
approx: 14 1/2 in x 65 in x 8 1/2 in; 36.83 cm x 165.1 cm x 21.59 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
related event
World War II
The Great Depression and World War II
See more items in
Work and Industry: Maritime
Engineering, Building, and Architecture
On the Water exhibit
On the Water
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center


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