Steamship "Elbe" was built on the order of German company Norddeutsche Lloyd. For that time that was the newest type of the ship – "fast liner", that marked the forthcoming of specialized passenger vessels. More then, "Elbe" was one of the fastest steamships of that time. Because of German shipbuilding industry did not possess appropriate potential for construction of such a big vessel, so the ship was ordered from John Elder & Co shipyard in Glasgow, where she was launched in 1881. Steamship of gross tonnage 4510 BRT had a length of 128 m, beam 13 m, and carried 1117 passengers. Except of steam propulsion engine of 5600 HP, "Elbe", likewise all steamships of that time, had also sail rig with 4 masts. However sails were never used in practice. Speed of vessel under propulsion engine gained 15 knots.
As early as in 1882 "Elbe" marks a record. She crossed the Atlantic from Southempton to New York in 8 days and 1 hour. But despite of brilliant start of her career, the first German trans-Atlantic liner have got a tragic final. Name of "Elbe" marks one of the heaviest disasters in marine navigation. At 05:17 GMT, 29 January 1985, "Elbe" was battered down by British freighter "Crathie". Getting a huge hole in the aft part, liner have sunk in 25 minutes. 322 persons from 376 people that were aboard a ship (195 passengers and 181 crew members), died. The firs vessel have arrived for rescue only 6 hours after the accident. Such a big amount of victims have shocked the community. Hearing in the Reichstag were broached, that results in development by Germanisher Lloyd of a new safety rules for building and construction of a ships. Some of that rules are actual up to present time.
For the construction of the model we used the original construction drawings as well as additional information. Extensive rig and rigging makes "Elbe" as complicated for modeling as sailing ships. "Elbe" had the archaic system of shroud tensioning by deadeyes. Each shroud was tensioned by laniard consisting of 7 details. We did not manage to find a picture of the original stern decoration, so it was reconstructed on a base of analogues.