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SS Thingvalla




Thingvalla History


1874 October


Built by Burmeister & Wain, Copenhagen, and launched in October 1874. Delivered to the . . . Dampskibsselskabet for their East Asia lines. According to a woodcut by Balboe [?] in Ny Illustrert Tidskrift she was originally rigged as a barque, but a later [1893?] oil painting by A.J. Jacobsen [?] shows her rigged as a barquentine. The compound engine was constructed by Burmeister & Wain and had a low pressure cylinder of 60 inch diameter and a high pressure cylinder of 30 inch and with a stroke length of 36 inches.


1880 February 17
Rescued the crew of the W.H. Webb built packet ship Alexander Marshall which had sprung a leak in the North Atlantic en route New York - London with a cargo of petroleum and oil in barrels.
1880 February 23
The rescued crew was landed at Yarmouth, Isle of Wright.
1888 August 14
A collision between SS Thingvalla and SS Geiser took place 30 miles south of Sable Island, Newfound Land. The local time was 04:20 onboard the Thingvalla and 03:45 according Geiser time. The Thingvalla hit SS Geiser midships at the starboard side and she sank after five minutes. At the time the weather was foggy with some rain but the sea was not rough. Only three of Geisers boats were launched but all foundered. 79 of Geisers passengers and 26 of the crew lost their lives. There is a photograph by James Ross, Halifax, showing SS Thingvalla at the harbour quay in Halifax where she came for reparation of the bow. The survivors from the Geiser and all the passengers of the Thingvalla were taken onboard the German mail steamer Wieland.
Onboard the Thingvalla first the order "Stand by" was given to the machine room followed shortly by "Full astern/reverse". Only 40-50 revolutions in reverse were achieved before the collision took place. The stem of the Thingvalla was crushed but the the forward collision bulkhead held. Even though the bulkhead was re-enforced, it began to leak badly and most part of the distance to Halifax was steamed backwards to save the bulkhead.
For gripping newspaper stories of this event from the Halifax Morning Herald Saturday August 18, 1888 and Monday August 20, 1888, click on these links: and
Also included in these stories are interviews with the Captains of the Geiser and the Thingvalla as well as several passenger accounts of the events.
1890 May 19
Bound for New York, the Thingvalla collided with an iceberg head on. The bow was boarded up and secured with quick setting concrete and she continued on to New York. There was no loss of life.
*** There is a model of the Thingvalla at the Handels- og Søfartsmuseum at Kronborg. Helsingør. This model is rigged as a barquentine and has the ships' name painted at the side in large letters [H&S 1949, p 119].
Newly discovered Links
Even though this is a Norway heritage site, Danish information is also included.  Everything underlined on the pages below, is a link to another page.

Here is a complete history of the Thingvalla from 1873 when she was built until 1903 when she was scrapped. (courtesy of )
The Andersen's were on the voyage departed Denmark February 4th, 1892 and arrived New York February 19th. Apparently passenger processing was done on the 20th.

A Thingvalla Line promotional pamphlet 1887
- Complete information brochure of the Thingvalla Line voyages and other useful information for passengers.

The Thingvalla Line - Info about the various ships that sailed owned by this company.

Photos of the Thingvalla

Passenger lists and emigrant ships from Norway Heritage 

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