The ocean liner SS Reliance (1915-1940). This 1:1250 scale miniature is part of our exhibition on the history of shipbuilding on deck 3 of the museum.
We regularly write about how war has affected civilian shipping, as it remains a dramatic constant in history. The case of the ship this miniature depicts is quite curious, to say the least.
This ocean liner was completed in 1915 at the J.C. Tecklenborg shipyard near Bremerhaven. Originally it was to be called „Johan Heinrich Burchard“, after a famous Hamburg mayor, and to be in service for HAPAG. But World War I was raging at the time, and so she never sailed under that name. HAPAG sold her to the Dutch company Koninklijke Hollandsche Lloyd in 1916 and set the delivery date for after the end of the war. On 3 February 1920, she finally made her first voyage under the Dutch flag. Her new name was „Limburgia“.
As early as 1922, the Dutch sold the ship to United American Lines, which at that time had a cooperation agreement with HAPAG. The ship, now called „Reliance“, only carried the flag of the United States for one year, because her new company gave her the flag of Panama in 1923. The reason for this was the American Prohibition Act: under the Panama flag it was still legal to serve alcohol on board. This made the ship more attractive for many travellers.
In 1926, HAPAG ended its cooperation with the United American Lines and bought back some of its ships to be able to serve the North Atlantic route independently. As a result, the „Reliance“ entered service with the company that had originally ordered her, more than 10 years late. She served as a liner and as a cruise ship until 1938. On 7 August of the same year, a fire broke out in the ship while it was waiting for passengers in Hamburg. The fire, the causes of which are unknown, could not be brought under control and the ship sank in the harbour. There were plans to repair the ship, but the Second World War put an end to these plans. She was eventually brought to Bremerhaven and scrapped in 1940.
This 1:1250 scale miniature is part of our exhibition on the history of shipbuilding on deck 3 of the museum.