SS Alaska (1881)

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Guion Line ocean liner SS Alaska (1881) photographed sometime in the 1890's..tif
SS Alaska under steam
Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svgUnited Kingdom
Name: SS Alaska
Operator: Guion Line
Builder: John Elder & Company, in Govan, Scotland
Launched: 15 July 1881
Fate: Broken up 1902
Notes: Renamed Magallanes in 1897
General characteristics
Class and type: Steam passenger ocean liner
Tonnage: 6,932 gross register tons (GRT)
Length: 520 ft (160 m)
Beam: 50 ft (15 m)
Propulsion: Single screw - 16 knots

The Alaska was a record breaking British passenger liner that won the Blue Riband for the Guion Line as the fastest liner on the Atlantic in 1882.[1] She was a slightly larger and faster edition of Guion's Arizona and in 1883 became the first liner to make the crossing to New York in under a week. However, Alaska burned 250 tons of coal per day, as compared to Arizona's already high 135 tons. Built by John Elder & Company of Glasgow, she carried 350 first class passengers and 1,000 steerage.[2] Her passengers included Hugh Simpson Rodham: future grandfather of Hillary Clinton, who travelled in steerage to America with his mother Bella and seven siblings as a toddler in October 1882.[3] As in the case of Arizona, Stephen Guion also personally owned Alaska.[4]

Alaska completed 100 voyages when Guion suspended sailings in 1894.[2] She proved difficult to sell and was finally chartered in 1897 by Cia.[1] Transatlanticia Espanola as a troop transport. In 1899, Alaska was sold for scrap, but was resold to the Barrow shipyard where she was used as an accommodation hulk until broken up in 1902.[5][1]


  1. ^ a b c "Immigration Vessels". Mystic Seaport. Retrieved 31 August 2013. Won Atlantic Blue Ribbon in April 1882 for a record Atlantic crossing of 7 days, 6 hours, 43 minutes. Laid up 1894. In 1897 renamed MAGALLANES, sailed as charter for Cia Trasatlatica. Sold for scrap 1899, but resold as a hulk. Broken up 1902. 
  2. ^ a b Gibbs, Charles Robert Vernon (1957). Passenger Liners of the Western Ocean: A Record of Atlantic Steam and Motor Passenger Vessels from 1838 to the Present Day. John De Graff. pp. 205–206. 
  3. ^ Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897. Microfilm Publication M237, 675 rolls. Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36. National Archives at Washington, D.C.
  4. ^ New York Times (December 20, 1885). Obituary: Stephen Baker Guion. 
  5. ^ Kludas, Arnold (1999). Record breakers of the North Atlantic, Blue Riband Liners 1838-1953. London: Chatham. 
Preceded by
Holder of the Blue Riband (Westbound)
1882 – 1884
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Atlantic Eastbound Record
1882 – 1884
Succeeded by