Guide to the Great Eastern Steamship. Captain John Vine Hall commander. [n. p.]. Time TravelSlide RuleVintage / Image via Google
From the beginning human kind strove to go beyond what his environment and circumstance bade him to do. So, imagine a farmer day in and day out finishes his breakfast: bacon and eggs, a loaf of thick bread, tea; kisses his wife and walks out of the door to the field, tending his corn. chicken and goats. if he had not marveled at how his life could be improved, how he could go beyond his village and see the world we would not have slogans like the”shrunken globe”. The sailors traveled far and wide, traded in goods with strange, exotic people.
Mankind strove to find ways to fly like the bird. Some hair brained contraptions ended up killing their creators. The Wright Brother’s first powered flight gave the impetus to innovate further and now we have a multi billion dollar aviation industry, supporting a multi billion dollar industry providing security equipment, in flight catering, entertainment, avionics. The first powered flight – there were several attempts of course, but every one acknowledges that the Wright Brother’s flight – was momentous.
The colonization of parts of the world had important implications both for passenger travel as well as transportation of goods. People from Britain wanted to see the exotic lands that it referred to as her colonies. The British would visit their cousins in Australia, and come to see the natives, in their exotic habitats in other colonies. The cultural shock was mutual.
Before the advent of transcontinental flights, mi’lady and m’lord dressed in their best while their expensive luggage was taken care of by their valet, and the crew on board. There were ball room dances, captains table, parties. Lazing away on the promenade deck, and occasional murder and a little Belgian detective with his little grey cells.
However, the steamer crossing was soon to be overtaken by a sleek bird. The Imperial Airways started a transcontinental flight to the colonies and Europe. The sleek aircraft provided the few who could afford air travel with luxuries like silverware and table cloth, curtains – all absent from air travel we know now. It was later absorbed in the BOAC or British Overseas Air Corporation. The United States overtook the UK in building airplanes, now we have Boeing airplanes competing with Airbus a European company.
It is amazing how the two giants have survived industrial upheavals of the last century and this and have become highly sophisticated and innovative. Be that as it may the romance of the steamer crossing can never be replicated.
“It all happened before my time!”