The advent to this port of a Cunard liner with a beam of 88 feet, and the recent placing of an order by the Hamburg-American Company for a transatlantic liner to have a beam of 90 feet, to say nothing of the fact that we have two battleships building whose beam is to be over 85 feet, have naturally directed the attention of the government once more to the question of the proper width to be given to the locks of the Panama Canal. It is the locks that determine the capacity of the canal; and seeing that the width at present decided upon is only 100 feet, the canal engineers have decided that a reasonable regard for the developments of the future makes it necessary to increase the width at least to 125 feet. Col. Siebert, one of the engineer officers attached to the Isthmian Canal Commission, and Civil Engineer Rousseau, the naval member of the Commission, have recently returned to the Isthmus after consultation upon this subject with the authorities at Washington. Although fc width of 125 feet has not been finally decided upon, it is considered probable that the locks will not be built with dimensions less than this. The desirability of giving ample width to provide for the needs of the future is emphasized by the fact that, in the towing-tank investigations made in connection with the design for the "Lusitania;' and "Mauretania." it was found that in large vessels there was a decided advantage to be gained from a consid erable increase of the ratio of beam to length, a fact which was also established at about the same time during independent" investigations conducted in Germany.
This article was originally published with the title "Panama Canal Locks to Be Widened" in Scientific American 97, 18, 302 (November 1907)