On the Water

Ash Tray, SS United States

Launched in 1952, the SS United States was sleek and modern, with a décor to match. In contrast to the opulent Victorian interiors of earlier ocean liners, the United States’ cabins were decorated with aluminum, glass, plastic, and synthetic textiles. This simple glass ash tray featuring the U.S. Lines eagle logo reflects the ship’s modern aesthetic.

Smoking was permitted and accommodated aboard the United States. Passengers were provided special spaces and lounges in which to relax and socialize. Areas like the Cabin Class Smoking Room, with its curved walls, comfortable chairs, and bar, gave passengers traveling in second class a place to meet, mingle, and smoke while aboard the ship.

A 1950s menu of tobacco products available on the ship reveals a wide selection of cigars and cigarettes, ranging from American, Egyptian, and Turkish cigarettes to imported Cabana cigars and pipe and chewing tobacco. In the 1950s packs of 20 Camel, Lucky Strike, and Marlboro cigarettes sold for 20 cents each, while cigars could be bought in pairs for 25 to 35 cents. From the same menu, passengers had the option of purchasing playing cards with their tobacco.

ID Number:
1 1/4 in x 4 1/2 in x 4 in; 3.175 cm x 11.43 cm x 10.16 cm
Transfer from US Department of Commerce, Maritime Administration (through R. J. Blackwell)