The Blue Riband – Part II

Lead: One of the most interesting developments in the history of transport was the role of government in subsidizing the pursuit of the Blue Riband.

Intro. A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: With the coming of the global economy in the 1900s speed in ocean transport became one of the vital goals of shippers. No prize was more valued than the Blue Riband, the mythic reward for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic. At first American ships dominated the route between New York and Liverpool, England, but in the 1840s British ships, especially the Cunard steam and sail side-wheelers began to take the lead from the all-sail American packets. The foundation of Cunard's initial success was the mail subsidy. Parliament voted a large cash payment for regular transatlantic service to carry the mail. Ships could then carry cargo and passengers for a lesser fee than if they had to charge actual cost of transport. Speed and regular service were the key to obtaining the government subsidy. The faster the better.

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The Blue Riband – Part I

Lead:  The dream of transatlantic shipping companies was to build a ship able to capture the Blue Riband.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: With the coming of the global economy in the nineteenth century, the element of speed of transport began to acquire more and more importance. The success of a manufacturing plant in Manchester, England depended on how quickly it could get its products to customers in Sacramento, California or Buenos Aires. Because it had no fighting navy to protect its worldwide shipping, and because it was nearly always being caught between one or another of the warring nations of Europe, the United States soon after independence began to take the lead in building very fast light ships that could run blockades and elude captors.

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