Monday, August 8, 2011


In modern parlance, the launching of Turbinia in 1894 was a 'game-changing' development in naval history. As the first ship to be powered by steam turbines, invented by Charles Parsons, she was comfortably the fastest ship afloat, thanks to her powerplant and the fine lines of her hull. She enjoyed a chequered career, during which she survived a serious collision (see also this link) on the Tyne and was at one time cut in half for display in the Science Museum in London (after section with engines) and Newcastle's Exhibition Park. The turbine is still in the Science Museum but happily the two haves of the ship have been rejoined, refurbished and reside in Newcastle's Discovery Museum, in a specially built gallery.
(Image from Wikipedia:

No other ship ever merited the epithet 'Greyhound of the Sea' more than Turbinia and her famous dash through the assembled fleet of ponderous battleships at Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Fleet Review at Spithead in 1897 helped to demonstrate the potential of the new propulsion system for naval vessels. The Lords of the Admiralty might not have been amused but all RN ships after 1905 used this form of propulsion.

No less than nine propellers drove Turbinia through the water at over 34 knots.

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