We're aware that steamships have been around for over 200 years, stretching back to into the late end of the eighteenth century, But when I envisage a ship from a year beginning with an 18, I really don't imagine anything like the following which looks as if it belongs in the 1920s or 1930s. But there it* is - The Cymric - with a somewhat smaller vessel alongside.
I'm not entitled to be quite so surprised. After all, 1898 is jammed up at the modern end of the 19th century. And of course it would be cartoon-odd for all ships to suddenly lose their sails and sprout funnels on the stroke of midnight on the 1st of January 1900, but - even so ...
The White Star Line are now introducing a new type of vessel in the Cymric, whose arrival in the Mersey from Belfast was the object of much interest. She is a steamer of 12,551 tons gross measurement, and her dimensions are as follows :– Length over all, 600 feet; beam, 64 feet; depth, 42 feet. The Cymric has twin propellors driven by two independent sets of quadruple expansion engines, with boilers working up to 210 lb. pressure. She is the largest cargo-carrying steamer in existence, exceeding in size the Georgic, the next largest of the fleet, by 2,300 tons. In addition to her large cargo capacity, the Cymric is fitted for the conveyance of live cattle on two decks well clear of the passenger quarters. In one important feature the Cymric differs from the other cargo steamers of the line. She is provided with accommodation for a limited number of cabin passengers. Hitherto saloon passengers have not been carried by the cargo and cattle steamers of the White Star Line. The passenger accommodation is similarly arranged to that of the Teutonic and Majestic. The saloon is amidships on the upper deck, and is capable of seating about one hundred passengers.
The Largest Cargo-Carrying Steamer in Existence : The White Star Liner S.S. "Cymric"
From a Photograph by Priestley and Sons, Limited
Picture and text from The Graphic of 19 Feb 1898, page 238. It's interesting that it mentions The Georgic, a ship apparently known on the intertubes only in its 1932 version.
* Yes I know it's a she, but I'm not an actual maritimer so I get to speak like a normal person.