Category Archives: Queen Mary

Nearly 6 Foot Long QUEEN MARY Model

This waterline model of Queen Mary is built in the tradition of what were called “Studio Models” in the middle decades of the 20th century.  They were designed to attract potential North Atlantic travelers and displayed in the windows of upscale travel agencies.  In the late 50s, air travel had advanced to the ability to fly from New York to Europe in 11 hours or so.  Before this time, ocean liners were literally “The Only Way to Go.”  The Queen Mary was made a dinosaur nearly overnight by advances in technology gained during World War II and only dreamed of at the time of her maiden voyage in 1936.  Not only was it cheaper to fly, but reaching the opposite ends of the Atlantic in hours rather than days was very much embraced by the traveling public.  The jets spelled the end for great liners like Queen Mary.  Cunard White Star tried to utilize her majesty as a cruise ship but she was so large, she couldn’t fit into the smaller ports. She was built for the North Atlantic to transport huge numbers of passengers at magnificent speed in unparalleled luxury.  She was retired in 1967 and sailed on her last voyage to Long Beach, CA to be turned into a museum and hotel.

Nearly 6 feet long, one can see in the photographs that the studio models were quite impressive.  Mine was built by Ered Mathews and it is quite detailed and built using original building plans.  The specially-built table it rests upon is 32 inches tall, 18 inches wide, and 72 inches long.  My collection is taking up more and more room in my house and I hope to one day live in a large house with a room specifically built for Queen Mary memorabilia with this table and model in the center with ceiling floodlights shedding light upon it.  I have a 10 year-old nephew who informed me upon seeing it that all he wants from my estate when I die is this model!

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QUEEN MARY Butterfly Wing Souvenirs

The photographs above capture a few unusual items of memorabilia from Queen Mary.  From her maiden voyage to the early 60s, souvenirs with exotic, incandescent butterfly wings were used in photos, ashtrays, and jewelry.  As can be seen, these souvenirs have withstood the decades and remained primarily blue but many have faded to brown or, worse, turned to dust and simply discarded.  My collection includes a framed example, a ring still in its case, a brooch, an ashtray, a tieback, and cufflinks. In today’s politically correct society, Cunard White Star would have outraged many by killing butterflies to display their wings as a background for hand-painted vignettes of the ship.  But these souvenirs were quite popular in the middle of the last century and, fortunately, many have remained incredibly preserved, serving as a herald to a bygone era of ocean travel aboard the most successful, popular liner of all time.

 

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