Thursday, July 27, 2017


In the Future of the Fifties, everything was going to be pointy, finned, polyester, and atomic, even the US Merchant Marine.

In 1959 we launched the NS Savannah, a nuclear-powered technology demonstrator that was a cargo ship that also carried ninety passengers in space-age comfort.

Named for the SS Savannah, the first steamship to cross the Atlantic (in 1819!), she had a checkered career. Her cargo holds were apparently a bear to load, and her operating costs sky high compared to conventional oil-powered ships, and she was eventually taken out of service in 1971...two years before the Arab Oil Embargo sent the price of fuel oil to the moon.

Ars Technica has a photo essay on it. Look at those cool accommodations, especially the bar. It was a harbinger of a future when groovy astro-couples could zip across the ocean in luxury, sitting at the poolside bar and washing filet mignon tablets down with space martinis.