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S.S. California (model)

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S.S. California (model)
Smithsonian Institution, Photo by Richard Strauss, Negative #: 2003-29159


This object appears in the following sections:

The Connected City: New York, New York, 1920s
The Connected City: New York, New York, 1920s — Port Traffic

Steamship California in the Panama Canal

Steamship California (model)
Catalog #: 314,251, Accession #: 196,508
Currently on display
From the Smithsonian Collection
This model was given to the Smithsonian in 1952. It was stored between 1978 and 2003, when it was installed in "America on the Move."
Physical Description
Model representing S. S. California is 1/8" scale and measures 75" L x 10.5" W x 24" H. It has two stacks, a black hull, red bottom paint, and white superstructure.
Date Made:
Dates Used:
1928 - 1964
California, New York, Virginia
New York to California via Panama Canal
Gift of United State Lines
The twin-screw, turbo-electric steamship, California,was built by the Newport News Shipbuilding Company, in Virginia, for the Panama Pacific Line. At her launching in 1928, the California was the largest America-built liner and the world's largest commercial vessel with electric propulsion. The California was built especially for service through the Panama Canal on the run between New York and San Francisco, with stops at intermediate ports. The ship's length overall was 601 feet, breadth 80 feet, and depth of hull 52 feet. Its capacity was for 8,000 tons of freight, 747 passengers (384 1st class and 363 tourist class), and a crew of 350. With a speed of 21-3/4 miles an hour, the California was advertised to reach California in 13 days, two days faster than usual. In 1937 the vessel was sold to the United States Maritime Commission and rebuilt for service between the U.S. and South America. Renamed Uruguay, the ship ran between New York and Buenos Aires until 1942 when it was converted to a troop transport for the War Shipping Administration. After the war the Uruguay returned to service and in 1964 was broken up in New Jersey.

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