American Export Lines: A view of one of the popular “FOUR ACES” – EXCAMBION, EXETER, EXOCHORDA, and EXCALIBUR.
(Above: Dining room) These combination passenger-cargo ships carried the American flag to ports around the Mediterranean from their late 1940s launch until the mid-1960s.
(Left to right: Main Lounge and Bar) They carried 124 passengers in First Class and were among the first ships to be completely air conditioned.
They provided excellent American service and were very popular.
(Above: Suite; below: swimming pool) The four sister-ships were built to replace four 1931 ships of the same name which were passed to the US Navy as transports in 1941.
(Top: Buffet on deck; Holiday Magazine advert for Aces) Both classes were known as the “Four Aces”.
The post war ships were also all built as US Navy attack transports, and all were converted and delivered to American Export Lines in 1948.
They operated between New York and the Mediterranean.
Noted industrial decorator Henry Dreyfuss, whose many designs included the “Twentieth Century Limited” locomotive (1938) for the New York Central Railroad, and the “500″ desk telephone (1949), the Bell System standard for 45 years, designed the interiors.
Zalud Marine Corporation executed the design, including joiner work, that included thousands of feet of carpet, specially woven fabrics and an unusual amount of glass.
Exochorda was among the first ships with fully air-conditioned staterooms, many of which were also soundproofed. The ship’s glass enclosed promenade deck featured a built-in swimming pool and play area adjacent to a modern bar and smoking room.