SS La Bretagne - Design and Construction

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Design and Construction

In March 1885, Compagnie Générale Transatlantique (CGT), announced the building of four new steamers for the Le Havre–New York route at the company's Penhoët ship yard. The similarly sized steamers, La Champagne, La Bourgogne, La Bretagne, and La Gascogne, were built under a French government subsidy law that provided that the ships could be taken over in a time of war. CGT also announced that noted French designer Jules Allard would decorate the four ships.

La Bretagne was launched 9 September 1885 by CGT in Saint-Nazaire. Built for France to New York service, she had a gross tonnage (GT) of 7,112 tons and measured 150.99 metres (495 ft 4 in) long between perpendiculars and 15.78 metres (51 ft 9 in) wide. Equipped with twin triple-expansion steam engines driving a single screw propeller that drove her at 17 knots (31 km/h), she was outfitted with two funnels and four masts carrying a barquentine rig. La Bretagne was initially equipped with accommodations for 390 first-class, 65 second-class, and 600 third-class passengers. Her hull was made of steel from the foundries at Terre-Noire and featured eleven bulkheads which created twelve watertight compartments; her deck was planked with Canadian elm and teak. The ship cost $1,700,000 (about $43 million today), exclusive of decorations which were provided for $75,000 by CGT employees.

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