Summary. SS City of Paris, holding the Blue Riband for speed, showcased William McGeoch’s maritime lighting design. Launched in 1888, this iconic ship marked a milestone in transatlantic travel and naval history.

SS City of Paris: A Maritime Marvel of Speed and Innovation in Lighting Design

The ‘SS City of Paris’ was launched in October 1888 and from 1889 to 1891 and again from 1892 to 1893 held the Blue Riband as the fastest ship on the north Atlantic route. William McGeoch’s son, Andrew, was responsible for bringing in the historic contract to supply electric lighting fittings for the ship which was built at the Thomson Yard in Clydebank.

A sister ship of the ‘SS City of New York’ and a rival of the White Star Line’s ‘Teutonic’ and ‘Majestic’ , she proved to be quicker than Cunard’s ‘ Campania’ and ‘ Lucania’ twin- screw express liners launched in 1892. In 1893, the Inman Line merged into the American Line. This prompting the renaming of the ship to ‘Paris’ and its transfer to the US registry. The ‘Paris’ and her sister ship paired with the newly built American ‘St Louis’ and ‘St Paul’ to form the premier Atlantic service, ‘the big four’. The US Navy utilised ‘Paris’ in both the Spanish-American War and World War One. Afterward, she resumed commercial service until 1920 and was scrapped in 1923.

There was an interesting note about the ship published in the September 1889 edition of ‘Ocean: Magazine of Travel’ …

“… This peerless greyhound heads the list for August 1889 with 5 days, 19 hours and 18 minutes to cross the Atlantic. Captain Watkins having made the run of 2,788 miles from Queenstown to New York. Thereby creating a new record and beating her previous trip by 3 hours, and 49 minutes.

SS City of Paris: Record-Breaking Runs

The daily runs as per the Captain’s log were as follows: August 23rd: 432 miles – 24th: 493 miles – 25th: 502 miles – 26th: 506 miles – 27th: 509 miles – 28th: 346 miles. Total: 2,788 miles.

Captain Watkins has great confidence in his steamship and is of the opinion that she hasn’t done her best yet. He fully expects to break the record before the present season will have terminated…”

The archive photographs below show various areas of the ‘SS City of Paris’, all of them illuminated by electric light fittings designed and manufactured by William McGeoch & Co.

Click images to view …