Friday, 1 April 2016


'In 1854 the City of Glasgow, with 480 souls
aboard, left port, but was never seen or
heard from again; and two years later the
Collins liner Pacific, which had a crew and
passenger list totaling 186, followed her example.' 

Type:ocean liner
Tonnage:1,609 GRT
Length:227 ft (69 m)
Beam:34 ft (10 m)
Depth:25 ft (7.6 m)
Propulsion:Single screw
Sail plan:Three-masted barque
Capacity:137 cabin passengers as built. 400 steerage added later.

Built by Tod & Macgregor of PartickGlasgow and launched on 28 February 1850, City of Glasgow initially carried 44 first class and 85 second class passengers along with 1,200 tons of cargo. Her iron hull considerably reduced repair costs incurred by the wooden-hulled steamships of the day, and the use of a propeller instead of paddle wheels allowed more space for passengers and cargo. City of Glasgow was especially economical because she was not built for speed; her best time across the Atlantic was 14 days, 4 hours, almost 4 days longer than Cunard Line's Asia, the record holder in 1850. While the City of Glasgow's two lever-beam engines of 350 horsepower produced a moderate 9.5 knots, her coal consumption was only 20 tons per day, compared with 76 tons for Asia.

I believe a similar rationale accounted for Waratah's conservative 5400 ihp - namely fuel saving.

She made five voyages on the Glasgow – New York service on Tod & Macgregor's own account and sailed on her maiden voyage on 15 April 1850. City of Glasgow was the first steamship to travel from Glasgow to New York. William Inman, a business partner of the line of sailing packets, persuaded his other partners to expand their line by buying the advanced new steamship. On 5 October 1850, she was purchased by the newly formed Liverpool and Philadelphia Steam Ship Company (also known as the Inman Line) and moved to the Liverpool – Philadelphia route from December 17, 1850. In 1852, the company entered the immigrant trade and City of Glasgow was refitted to accommodate an additional 400 third class passengers in her holds.[2]

City of Glasgow left Liverpool on 1 March 1854, with an estimated 480 passengers and crew, but was never heard of again. Her fate remains a mystery to this day.[4] It was reported that a portion of the bow of a ship, bearing the name "City of Glasgow" in gilded letters, washed ashore at Ballochgair near Campbeltown on 25 October 1854.

City of Glasgow did not have the additional deck - see SS President below.

SS Pacific:

Tonnage:2,707 gross tons
Length:281 ft (85.6 m)
Beam:45 ft (13.7 m)
Propulsion:2 × 95-inch cylinder (2.4 m), 9-foot stroke (2.7 m) side-lever engines, auxiliary sails
Speed:12.5 knots (23.2 km/h; 14.4 mph)
Capacity:Passengers: 200 1st class, 80 2nd class

SS Pacific was a wooden-hulledsidewheel steamer built in 1849 for transatlantic service with the American Collins Line. Designed to outclass their chief rivals from the British-owned Cunard LinePacific and her three sister ships (AtlanticArctic and Baltic) were the largest, fastest and most well-appointed transatlantic steamers of their day.

Pacific's career began on a high note when she set a new transatlantic speed record in her first year of service, but after only five years in operation, the ship along with her entire complement of almost 200 passengers and crew went missing, without a trace, on a voyage from Liverpool to New York, which began 23 January 1856. Pacific's fate remained a mystery for years. A message in a bottle found on a Hebrides island (Scotland) in 1861 declared her sunk by icebergs. In 1991, wreckage located in the Irish Sea off the coast of Wales was identified, without corroboration, as being the SS Pacific.
Pacific's 281-foot (85.6 m) wooden hull was built from yellow pine, with keel and frames of white oak and chestnut. Like her three sister ships, Pacific had straight stems, a single smokestack, three square-rigged masts for auxiliary power, and a flat main deck with two single-story cabins, one fore and one aft.[2] The ships were painted in Collins Line colors: black hull with a dark-red stripe running the length of the ship,[4] and a black stack with a dark-red top.
Pacific was powered by two side-lever engines built by the Allaire Iron Works of New York, each of which had a 95-inch cylinder (2.4 m) and 9-foot stroke (2.7 m), delivering a speed of 12 to 13 knots (22 to 24 km/h; 14 to 15 mph). The running gear was designed in such a way that if one engine failed, the remaining engine could continue to supply power to both paddlewheels. Steam was supplied by four vertical tubular boilers, with a double row of furnaces, designed by the Line's chief engineer, John Faron.[5] Fuel consumption was from about 75 to 85 short tons (68 to 77 t) of coal per day, and auxiliary sailpower was provided by three full-rigged masts.
The passenger accommodations were generous and spacious, and the cabins and saloons were elaborately decorated.[5]The ship could initially accommodate 200 first-class passengers; in 1851, accommodations for an additional 80 second-class passengers were added.[6] Customer service innovations on the Collins Line ships included steam heating in the passenger berths, a barber's shop, and a French maitre de cuisine.[4] The ships' high freeboards and straight stems also contributed to passenger comfort by providing added protection from seaspray and a steadier motion through the waves than typical passenger ships of the period.

The high freeboard and steadier motion give us a clue that Pacific was designed to be somewhat tender, generating slower, more comfortable rolls.

On 23 January 1856, Pacific departed Liverpool for her usual destination of New York, carrying 45 passengers (a typically small number for a winter voyage) and 141 crew. Her commander was Captain Asa Eldridge, a Yarmouth, Cape Cod skipper and navigator of worldwide reputation; in 1854 he had set a trans-Atlantic speed record on the clipper Red Jacket from New York to Liverpool which remains unbroken. After the ship failed to arrive at New York, other ships were sent to conduct a search, but no trace of the vessel was found. Contemporaries concluded that Pacific had probably hit an iceberg off Newfoundland, as the ice had been particularly bad that year.[8] Captain Eldridge and his chief engineer, Samuel Matthews, were both still new to the Pacific, making only their second round trip voyage on her, and some accounts have blamed the disaster on their inexperience. But as a more recent account explains, both had considerable relevant experience: the Pacific was actually the fourth steamer Eldridge had commanded, while Matthews had a long career on other steamships, including another Collins liner whose engines and boilers were identical to the Pacific's.[9]
Wyn Craig Wade mentions the missing ship in his 1979 book, The Titanic: End of a Dream. Wade wrote, "The only clue in this instance had been a note in a bottle, washed ashore on the west coast of the Hebrides" as follows:
On board the Pacific from Liverpool to N.Y. - Ship going down. Confusion on board - icebergs around us on every side. I know I cannot escape. I write the cause of our loss that friends may not live in suspense. The finder will please get it published. W.M. GRAHAM.
Author Jim Coogan also mentions the missing vessel in his article "A Message from the Sea" published in the Barnstable Patriot ( Coogan writes that after the bottle was found, "on the remote Hebrides island of Uist... in the summer of 1861", the passenger list was thoroughly checked by the London Shipping & Mercantile Gazette, "and when the passenger list of the ill-fated steamer was examined, it contained the name of William Graham, a British sea captain headed for New York as a passenger to take command there of another vessel."[10]
Coogan's article goes on to say:
" 1991, divers found the bow section of the SS Pacific in the Irish Sea only 60 miles [97 km] from Liverpool. Other than the claim, there is no other confirmation of the find, nor is it found in any other book... that no wreckage from the lost ship came ashore along the coast of Wales in the aftermath of her disappearance would...make it unlikely the ship foundered so close to Liverpool."[11]
Supporting this view, a recent book[12] argues that the evidence[13] used to identify the Welsh wreck as the remains of the Pacific is far from conclusive, and that in the absence of further information about that wreck, the note in the bottle that washed ashore in the Hebrides still represents the best explanation of the steamer’s disappearance.
Among those lost was Bernard O'ReillyBishop of Hartford (Connecticut), who was returning to his diocese after an 1855 trip to Europe.

Once again icebergs had taken their toll and in the case of the Pacific little pointed to inherent flaws with the ship's design. This time the bottle message was not a hoax and outlined the tragic sequence of events.

to be continued....

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