6-Week Series: Against All Odds

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The Queen Mary was the largest ship to cross the oceans when it was launched in 1936. Through four decades and a World War she served until she was retired, anchored as a floating hotel and museum in Long Beach, California.

During the conversion process, her three massive smokestacks were taken off to be scraped down and repainted. But on the dock they crumbled. Nothing was left of the ¾ inch steel plate from which the stacks had been formed. All that remained were more than 30 coats of...

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