Life and Times of the SS United States

William Francis Gibbs

Ship Statistics

William Francis Gibbs

The story of America has, in part, been shaped by her inventors and their inventions. Americans have historically pushed the boundaries of engineering, production, and technology. William Francis Gibbs, while a lesser known figure in history, has a place in this lineage.

W.F. Gibbs was a boy with a dream and a passion to build ships. His colossal goal at the age of eight was to design the largest, fastest, American flagged ship ever to cross the Atlantic Ocean.

He was completely self-taught in naval architecture and design. While completing law school he spent all of his spare time designing his own blue prints of navy vessels.

Growing up to head his own naval architecture and marine engineering firm, Gibbs & Cox, Gibbs exhibited a fortitude and passion strong enough to persevere through many obstacles and delays to make his dream a reality. His American flagged superliner, the S.S. United States was completed in 1952, some fifty years after his original idea was conceived.

W.F. Gibbs became arguably the greatest naval architect and maritime inventor of the twentieth century. He designed 74% of the naval vessels used in World War II and his revolutionary steam pressure designs advanced the capabilities of the U.S. navy and merchant marine; designs that are still used today - almost forty years after his death.

"We, the men and women of Gibbs & Cox Inc. applaud the efforts of Rock Creek Productions in documenting the life of William Francis Gibbs and highlighting his crowning achievement, the construction of the SS United States."

Kevin Moak,
President, Gibbs & Cox Inc.