SURVEYOR'S NOTEBOOK

A NORMANDIE Semi-Mystery

By Rik van Hemmen

The Normandie is by far my favorite passenger vessel from a design point of view (on a pure love/looks basis, the pre-war Nieuw Amsterdam II beats her by a small margin).

Years ago I came across a set of drawings in our office with a last correction date of February 9, 1942 that show the conversion of the Normandie to an unnamed troop carrier drawn by Cox & Stevens.

It always was a mystery to me why we had this set of drawings, but recently, for the Bahrs Bar and Museum project, I was reading “Normandie, Her Life and Times” by Harvey Ardman (quite a good read by the way) and on page 273 there was mention of a Normandie valuation by Frank S. Martin.

(There is a discrepancy in the book since Frank S. Martin died in 1922. The valuaton must have been done by Francis A. Martin, son of Frank S. Martin and President of Frank. S. Martin & Son) The book described Mr. Martin’s valuation of the vessel at $61,123,297. His method is quite similar to what we occasionally do for unusual ship valuations today, although as an engineer I would have dropped a few significant digits on the valuation.

This seems to solve the mystery of the drawings in our office, but it does not tell me why the drawings were prepared by Cox & Stevens. Is this the Cox of Gibbs & Cox? So did Francis Gibbs work on the conversion or not?

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