The "Sächsische Dampfschiffahrt" (Saxon Steamship Company) of Dresden, Germany, is the oldest and biggest paddle steamer fleet in the world.
It consists of nine wheel steamers, two salon ships and two motor ships. It was formerly known as the White Fleet (Weiße Flotte in German).
All the ships have names of Saxon towns and cities or Saxon people like August the Strong. The ships connect Meißen via Dresden to Saxon Switzerland along the river Elbe where they pass some remarkable castles, vineyards and villa quarters.
Raddampfer (Paddle Steamer) "Dresden" was built in the shipyard in Dresden-Laubegast in 1926 and put in service on 29 June 1926 as a flagship, concert and luxury steamship. As a so-called luxury saloon steamship it provided a completely new type of passenger ship for the Upper Elbe river. Its advantages were a large upper deck, a spacious lounge, panorama windows, comfortable furnishings and modern sanitary installations.
The steam engine which worked with valves was robust with a power of 300 HP (200 KW). The high-pressure boiler heated the steam to 320 °C. There was also a modern steering system without a steering machine. The paddle-wheels were smaller than its precursors. From 1926 to 1946 the ship registered for 1363 persons. The "Dresden" was used as a holiday steam-ship in the area of Saxony. It survived the Second World War with practically no damage. However, in 1946 the steamship became the victim of negligence. Carelessness caused a fire on 18 June 1946, which almost completely destroyed the ship. In 1948 the reconstruction was started, which lasted until 1949. Then the steamer could once again go into service. Nowadays the "Dresden", as well as its sister-ship "Leipzig", which was constructed in 1929 using similar plans are still in action on the Upper Elbe.