The British shipping industry had always been part of the absolute top in the world. Ever since the dawn of modern time had the British merchant ships - and the warships - been a pattern for the rest of the world to follow. With the revolutionary 19,000-tonner Great Eastern, the British engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel had set the pattern for the future ocean liner in 1860. Not only in size, but also in speed was the British an ever-returning factor on the Atlantic. The White Star Line?s Teutonic and Majestic held the famous Blue Riband in the early 1890s and the Cunard.