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Friday, June 8, 2018

American President Lines Poster - And Then Some

Make no mistake, even if there were no words to convey the meaning, we could see that the above image is indeed a travel poster - to see Japan by ship.

A bonsai tree and shoji paper screen frame a window as passenger liner sails by.

But take a closer look to the left of the bonsai tree... there's a tiny arched bridge... and is that a woman on the bridge?

Is this a trick of perspective?

I can honestly say that I have NEVER seen a bonsai tree presented in the same manner one presents a six-year-old kid's goldfish aquarium.

You just don't populate the bonsai tree's bowl with man-made symbols. The whole idea is to present it in a "natural environment".

Now... the entire concept of bonsai as a representation of Japanese nature in miniature is laughable as best.

I blew Japanese tradition out of the water when I spent a day with a local bonsai master in Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken, Japan where I lived. It's apparently an old man's hobby. I was 26 when I started.

But I have an old soul (I got in for cheap on E-Bay!) ;)- I have owned four bonsai trees, and only killed two myself. Each was over 80 years of age, but it sucks because they could have lasted centuries...

Anyhow, bonsai involves taking a normal tree, and purposely "dwarfing" it by precise cuts to its foliage, roots system, and using copper wire to bind, bend an shape the limbs to the desired shape that in your opinion best represents Japanese nature.

Who doesn't love tree bondage?

Anyhow, because man is not supposed to be physically represented in real-life bonsai imagery, I would imagine that the graphic element in the poster is perspective taken out of whack. Also... that pagoda isn't to scale.

The original size of this 1957 cruise ship linen poster is 23 5/8" x 34 1/4" (inches).

To be fair, the rest of the information below features information found at the following website:

I have re-written some of it, but gosh darn it, they did all the research!
American President Lines (APL) was a major part of the global shipping industry, helping set the stage for the future of international ocean container shipping and intermodal transport.

Back in 1944, while WWII was going on, the American government constructed 16 Victory class ships to have APL help with transporting goods to various sites needing resupplying.

One of those ships was the President Roosevelt American President Lines, built in 1944 by Federal SB & DD, of Kearny NJ, U.S.

Gross tons: 18,920;
Length: 622 feet (190 meters);
Speed: 19 knots (35.2 kph, 21.9 mph);
Width: 75 feet (23 meters);
Depth: 27 feet (8 meters);
Power: 18,700 shp (shaft horsepower);
Propulsion: Steam turbines twin screw.

I am unaware if the ship saw service during WWII, or if the war was over by then, but we do know that it could hold 456 First Class passengers (and only First Class) ... and joined two other ships in 1962 with its journeys around the world too and from Japan (along the way).

The other two ships were:

President Cleveland American President Lines, built in 1947 by Bethlehem SB of Alameda, California.

Gross tons: 18,962;
Length: 609 feet (186 meters);
Speed: 20 knots (37.04 kph, 23.02 mph);
Width: 75 feet (23 meters);
Depth: 30 feet (9 meters);
Power: 20,000 shp (shaft horsepower);
Propulsion: Steam turbo electric twin screw
Passengers: 324 First, 454 Economy;
Sold in 1973.

...and the..

President Wilson American President Lines, built by Bethlehem, SB of Alameda, California,

Gross tons: 18,962;
Length: 609 feet (186 meters);
Speed: 20 knots (37.04 kph, 23.02 mph);
Width: 75 feet (23 meters);
Depth: 30 feet (9 meters);
Power: 20,000 shp (shaft horsepower);
Propulsion: Steam turbo electric twin screw
Passengers: 324 First, 454 Economy
Sold 1973.

The President Wilson and President Cleveland ships each had first class rooms and a pool on the promenade deck, while economy class contained a lounge, veranda and poos in the rear (aft) on the lower decks.

The President Roosevelt was all first-class... the first of its kind to offer such an arrangement, and all the rooms had their own private bath... which as silly as it sounds, was quite the thing back in those days.

All of the three ships had full air-conditioning.

These ocean liners normally were routed from San Francisco to Honolulu (5 days), Yokohama (14 days), Hong Kong (18 days) and Manila (20 days), with the return voyage sailing via the same ports plus Kobe. The round trip was 42 days. The slower, somewhat smaller President Hoover, added to the fleet in 1957, was sometimes scheduled to bypass Honolulu which saved her three days steaming time.

Wanna sea (sic) something cool?

Click HERE to see the 1962 Ocean Liner Sailing Schedules for the American President Lines.

Each ship literally traveled all around the world on each voyage!

Andrew Joseph

1 comment:

  1. You know I try my best not to be a smarta$$, but 7 paragraphs up I think you typo’d “poos in the rear (aft)” ;-/ — I giggled like a little kid ... it was the “aft” that got me.