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Commemorative medal, obverse

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Commemorative medal, obverse
Smithsonian Institution


This object appears in the following sections:

Work and Industry
Working on the Ocean Liner Leviathan — The Engine Department

Commemorative medal, reverse
Commemorative medal, reverse

Commemorative medal from S.S. Leviathan
Catalog #: 1991.0856.25, Accession #: 1991.0856
In collection
From the Smithsonian Collection

One of a set of medals struck on the order of naval architect Williams Francis Gibbs to commemorate a speed record set by the Leviathan on her 1923 sea trials. Gibbs had three versions of the medal produced, one for the Engine Department, one for the Deck Department, and one for the Steward's Department. This extra, blank medal was saved by engineer M. P. Iverson.

Leviathan's conversion of from a troopship to an American passenger liner was contracted to Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., Newport News, Virginia. The vessel was based out of New York and was annually drydocked and overhauled at Boston, Massachusetts.

Physical Description
Round, gold-colored metal attached to red, white, and blue ribbon. Obverse is stamped with emblem of an eagle and stars and the words, “SS Leviathan / Engine Department.” Reverse contains the words, “Presented to [blank] in recognition of service on world’s record run of 687 miles in 25 hours averaging 27.48 knows, June 22, 1923.”
Date Made:
Dates Used:
1923 - 1923
Massachusetts, New York, Virginia
Gift of Frank O. Braynard
The ocean liner Leviathan was built as the Vaterland for Germany's Hamburg-American Line in 1914. During World War I the American government seized the ship and operated it as a troopship. After a complete reconditioning at Newport News, Virginia, in 1922-23, the Leviathan became the flagship of the new United States Lines, which operated it for the U.S. Shipping Board until 1929. Subsequently sold into private hands, the ship ran until 1934. Laid up as a result of high operating costs and low Depression-era patronage, the Leviathan was sold to Scottish shipbreakers in 1938 and dismantled.

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