The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Great Eastern
GREAT EASTERN, a British iron steamship, before the Celtic, the largest vessel constructed, built (1854-58) at Milwall, on the Thames, for the Eastern Steam Navigation Company, by Scott Russell, from plans by I. K. Brunel; length, 680 feet; breadth, 82½, or, including paddle-boxes, 118 feet; height, 58 feet; (70 to top of bulwarks). She had six masts, five of iron and one of wood, and could spread 7,000 yards of sail, besides having eight engines, divided between her screws and paddles, and capable of working at 11,000 horse-power. From the first her career was unfortunate, the launching process alone lasting three months and costing $300,000. After several unremunerative trips to New York she was employed first as a troop-ship, and then as a cable-laying ship, for which her size and steadiness specially qualified her. Various attempts were afterward made to utilise her, but she at last came to be a mere holiday spectacle, and was broken up in 1888.