Article Title

Crossing on Time: Steam Engines, Fast Ships, and a Journey to the New World


Maryn Wheeler


The SS United States was built for crossings—the crossings of oceans, the crossings of people’s paths, and the crossings of technological limits. The designer and engineer, William Francis Gibbs, dreamed of building the fastest and safest steamship. A passenger, young David Macaulay, dreamed of seeing the Empire State Building as he immigrated with his family to the United States. Their two stories, as well as a century’s worth of industrial ship history, converge with the 1957 Atlantic crossing of the SS United States from Southampton to New York City. Macaulay narrates his personal stories of adventure and Gibbs’s triumphs alongside the incredible feat of high-speed transatlantic ship passage, climaxing at the crossing of his path with the SS United States and its designer.