02 January 2010

A Gargantuan Order



From the Sydney Morning Herald on this day in 1936:

Giant New Liner.

We have all been so inquisitive about the size of the Cunard-White Star liner, Queen Mary, and her engines and decorations, that we quite forgot in our excitement that she will also have a record-breaking linen store. The giant vessel will carry enough cotton and woollen [sic] goods to equip the homes of quite a large town, sheets, tablecloths, dusters, blankets, and whatnot to the tune of 45,000, having been ordered from gratified firms in Lancashire, Yorkshire, and Northern Ireland.

This gargantuan order comprises about 500,000 articles, ranging from dusters to towels (there will be over 200,000 of these) and from oven cloths to bed coverlets and counterpanes, the huge supply having been made necessary by the shortness of the vessel's stay in port between voyages.

Outstanding figures in the list of the 41 items to be supplied include: Pillow slips, 31,000; sheets, 30,000; tablecloths, 21,000; serviettes, 92,000; towels, 210,000; blankets 5600; bed coverlets and counterpanes, 8500; pantry cloths, 12,500; waiters' cloths, 12,000; oven cloths, 3100; dusters, 3000; linen bags, 2200.

Not all of these items will be ready-made. Almost half, as a matter of fact, are being cut from the cloth and "finished" by the Cunard White Star Company's own linen department at Liverpool, where expert machinists have long been working at high pressure. The designs on many of the patterned goods are by the department, but many others have been brought out in collaboration with the manufacturers.

It is whispered that her Majesty the Queen, who lent her name to the vessel and christened her, is to be invited to make a short voyage before the liner is put on to the regular schedule. The suggestion is tentative, for the Royal presence must naturally be governed by many circumstances; but if the idea comes to anything, both the company and the public will regard the event as the happiest possible augury. Perhaps, before these lines can be read, the matter may have been settled one way or the other.

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