High resolution picture
The SS Great Eastern was the most expensive and unfortunate experiment of an intelligent naval architect, and in the ships that
followed the dimensions were studied more carefully. The age of sail had not been ended yet and in the new steam ships were preserved
many details from the sailing ships. In this regard, times were still not mature enough for the total abandonment of sail propulsion.
One of those new passenger liners was the RMS Oceanic, which started Trans-Atlantic service in 1871. Her hull, notably narrow, was
constructed of iron and divided into eleven watertight compartments. The passengers, 166 of first class and 1000 of lower classes,
found accommodation along the two upper decks concealed within the hull.
While saying that the RMS Oceanic was something revolutionary would be an exaggeration, this ship was indeed an improvement in many aspects.
First-class cabins were allocated amidships to reduce the discomfort caused by machinery vibrations and pitch movement during strong
sea conditions, and were not restricted into small wooden deckhouses as in other previous ships. They featured toilets with running water,
electricity and proper furnitures for the first time, and were fitted with larger portholes to improve lighting and ventilation.
The weather and promenade decks featured iron railings all along instead of the traditional bulwarks, allowing water to be quickly evacuated during
The maiden voyage had to be suspended because of an overheating problem, but the RMS Oceanic would be a success for the White Star Line,
and other three sister ships would be soon ordered, all of them of similar dimensions. In 1872 the characteristic forecastle was
enlarged until the first mast to better protect the deck against water during high seas (the illustration shows the ship as she was
before this remodelation). From 1875 the RMS Oceanic was chartered to the newly established Occidental and Oriental Steamship Company for
service between San Francisco, Yokohama and Hong Kong. The ship was returned to White Star Line in 1895, but a thoroughful inspection
found the upgrades needed for future passenger service to be uneconomical. Consequently the RMS Oceanic was sold for scrap.
Class: 4 units (Atlantic, Baltic, Oceanic, Republic)
Type: Oceanic passenger liner
Length: 128 meters
Beam: 12.20 meters
Draught: 9.14 meters
Displacement (full load): 7940 tonnes
Tonnage (gross register): 3707 tonnes
Propulsion: 1 x shaft, 1 x 4-cylinder compound reciprocating steam engine, 12 x boiler, 2000 horsepower
Speed: 14.5 knots (26.9 kilometers/hour)
Fuel: 1000 tonnes of coal