A four funneled liner is an ocean liner with four funnels. The first liner to have four funnels was the German liner SS Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse and was considered one of the first superliners.
Among these famous four funneled liners or four-stackers was the ill-fated RMS Titanic, which sank on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912, after colliding with an iceberg and the RMS Lusitania, which sank in 1915 after being struck by a torpedo from a German submarine. In all, 15 four funneled liners were built between 1897-1922. Four of these liners sank during the world wars, and all others besides Titanic were scrapped.
Of these vessels, Cunard's Mauretania was the fastest and even captured the Blue Riband, the Atlantic speed record, and retained it for 20 years. However, the popularity of four funneled liners was short-lived as the RMS Windsor Castle, built-in 1922 was the last four-funneled liner ever built. However, two of her funnels were removed in the 1930s. This made RMS Aquitania the last surviving four funneled liner and the only one to survive both world wars.
The primary purpose of funnels on steamships was to allow exhaust to escape from the boiler rooms. As ships became larger, more boilers were used. In an age without modern safety regulations, it was important for companies to make passengers feel comfortable, so they opted to have their ships built with four funnels. Sometimes this was a necessity, but other times have done to give an impression of power, speed, and luxury as well as safety. For example, Olympic, Titanic, and Britannic were originally only designed to carry three funnels. this was changed to live up to the competition at the time.
Ocean Liners with Four Funnels
SS Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse
SS Konpriz Wilhelm
SS Kaiser Wilhelm II
SS Kronprinzessin Cecilie
RMS Arundel Castle
RMS Windsor Castle
-SS Boston/ SS Independence*
-RMMV Oceanic III (originally designed as a four-funneled liner, later reduced to three, construction canceled 1930)
*The United States never operated any four funneled liners in commercial service
Decline of four funneled liners
Despite the greatness of the 15 four funneled liners, the popularity diminished rapidly soon after the First World War. The last four funneled liner to be built was the RMS Windsor Castle. However, as shipbuilding became more modern, many of the liners with four funnels began to look outdated as newer and more modern ships were built, such as SS Normandie and SS Rex. However, RMS Aquitania was the last liner to be scrapped. She was scrapped in 1950, despite originally being intended to be scrapped 10 years earlier.