On the Water

Champagne Glass, SS United States

This champagne glass was among the 57,000 pieces of glassware furnished to the SS United States before its maiden voyage in 1952. Launched in 1952, the “Big U,” as the ship was affectionately called, was 990 feet long, about the length of five city blocks. On its maiden voyage, the ship broke the speed records for crossings in both directions and captured the Blue Riband trophy, an award for the ship making the fastest round trip passage on the North Atlantic. The time set by the United States on the westbound leg from New York to England was 3 days, 12 hours, and 12 minutes, with an average speed of 34.51 knots, a record that remains unbroken.

The SS United States was built in Newport News Virginia, and was the largest and fastest transatlantic passenger liner ever built in the country. The ship had 695 staterooms located on eight of the liner’s 12 decks. It could accommodate 1,972 passengers in first, cabin, or tourist class. Some 1,011 crew were required to run the ship and serve the passengers.

ID Number:
5 in x 3 3/4 in; 12.7 cm x 9.525 cm
Transfer from US Department of Commerce, Maritime Administration (through R. J. Blackwell)