The Oregon was an ocean liner put into service in 1883 for the British shipping company Guion Line , which was bought by the Cunard Line in 1884 and sank off Long Island in March 1886 after a ship collision. The Oregon was one of the fastest ships of her time and was the holder of the coveted Blue Ribbon in 1884/85 .
The Oregon was built in 1883 for the Guion Line based in Liverpool . It should serve as a complement to the two ships Arizona and Alaska in the weekly passenger service from Liverpool to New York . The Arizona and Alaska were the only express liners on the Guion Line, otherwise only older and much slower ships were used on the route. Guion then ordered the Oregon from the John Elder & Company shipyard in Govan near Glasgow , which should keep up with the records set by the Alaska . As is customary for Guion, the ship was named after a state in the United States .
The 7,375 GRT steamship Oregon was 158.8 meters long and 16.5 meters wide. The construction of the ship cost 1,250,000 pounds sterling (after's then monetary value ). The Oregon was a two-chimney ship with four masts and a single propeller made of crucible cast steel , the blade of which had a diameter of 7.3 meters. It had five decks . The hull was divided into ten watertight compartments by nine bulkheads . The steamer was powered by a three cylinder compound steam engine with reverse triple expansion flanked by a high pressure cylinder and two low pressure cylinders, producing 12,000 horsepower and allowing a speed of 18.5 knots (34.3 km / h). In comparison, the Alaska's machines had only 8300 PSi. The steam was generated in nine coal-fired double-ended boilers from the Fox brand. The daily coal consumption was 300 tons, which was 50 tons more than the Alaska and 165 tons more than the Arizona .
The ship was 6.5 percent larger and four feet wider than the Alaska , but the same length. This was intended to solve the vibration problem that had arisen with the Alaska and Arizona . The Oregon was originally intended to be built of steel, but at the time steel was very expensive and difficult to obtain. Until then, iron had always been used for steamships, so it was decided to build the Oregon in the tried and tested way. Steel constructions prevailed shortly afterwards. The Oregon was the last record-breaking iron steamship.
The Oregon could accommodate 340 first class passengers, 92 second class and 1,100 third class. The term Third Class (third class) was preferred over the otherwise common name Steerage (intermediate deck ) and the dormitories for travelers on the intermediate deck, which had been widespread up to that time, were replaced by separate cabins. This made the Oregon a very advanced ship that was also equipped with electric lamps from the Edison Electric Light Company . The comfortable first class cabins were described as spacious, bright and well ventilated. The large saloon on the upper deck, paneled with panels of polished satin wood, which was almost 20 meters long and 16 meters wide, attracted particular attention. The ceiling, decorated in white and gold, was nearly ten feet high and was crowned by a domed roof, the top of which was seven feet above the floor. There was also a writing parlor on the promenade deck and a smoking parlor paneled with Spanish mahogany wood and provided with a mosaic floor. Much of the wood used for the wall paneling came from Oregon .
period of service
The Oregon was launched on June 23, 1883 at John Elder & Company in Govan and successfully completed its test drives on September 18, 1883. On October 7, 1883, she left Liverpool under the command of Captain James Price on her maiden voyage to New York , where she arrived on October 14. On April 5, 1884, the ship won the Blue Ribbon when it covered the route from New York to Queenstown in seven days, two hours and 18 minutes at an average speed of 17.12 knots (31.7 km / h). On the return voyage to New York, the Oregon also won the Blue Ribbon for fastest route west when it crossed the Atlantic in six days, ten hours and ten minutes at an average speed of 18.56 knots (33.3 km / h). crossed.
In 1884 the Guion Line ran into financial bottlenecks due to disadvantageous investments. As a result, William H. Guion, the brother of the shipping company founder Stephen B. Guion, left the company. Guion could no longer pay the installments and gave the Oregon back to the shipyard. At the same time, the RMS Umbria and the RMS Etruria for the Cunard Line were built at John Elder & Company, which should outdo the competition, including Guions Oregon . Cunard took the opportunity and bought the Oregon for £ 616,000. On May 10, 1884, the ship left for its last voyage for Guion and on June 7, 1884 for its first voyage for Cunard. In August 1884, she beat her own record while traveling east.
In March 1885 there was a threat of fighting between Russia and Afghanistan . As a result, 16 liner steamers were chartered by the British Admiralty to convert them into auxiliary cruisers . 13 of these ships were converted, but only two, the Oregon and the Moor (built in 1881) of the Union Line, were ultimately used by the Royal Navy . The Oregon proved very useful because of her high speed . The Royal Navy then decided to partially finance passenger steamers in order to be able to use them as auxiliary cruisers in an emergency. On November 14, 1885, the Oregon was back in passenger traffic.
After the commissioning of the two new blue band record breakers Umbria and Etruria in 1884 and 1885, the Oregon was no longer needed on the route from Liverpool to New York. It was planned to move them to the Liverpool – Boston route . On Saturday, March 6, 1886 at 10 o'clock, she left Liverpool under the command of Captain Philip Cottier on one of her last crossings to New York, after which she was to be used on the Boston route. On board were 186 passengers of the first, 66 of the second and 395 of the third class as well as 205 crew members. On March 7th, the Oregon ran at Queenstown and then headed for the open Atlantic .
At 4:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 14, 1886, the Oregon was only 15 hours from arriving in New York when she collided five nautical miles east of Fire Island with another ship that sank immediately after the collision. Presumably it was the wooden schooner Charles H. Morse , which was lost that same day in those waters with all the men on board. However, it could never be clarified beyond doubt which ship it was actually. The wreck of the Charles H. Morse was never found. Oregon passengers later remembered the drowning screams in the dark.
The hole made in the Oregon side by the collision was described as large enough for a carriage to fit through. An attempt to cover the leak with a leak sail failed. There was no panic; the passengers on board the sinking ship were served tea and coffee and had enough time to get dressed. Two hours after the collision, Captain Cottier ordered the ship to be abandoned, but the lifeboats only had room for half the people on board. The crew thereupon set off light signals which were noticed by the schooner Fannie A. Gorham , the pilot boat Phantom and the steamer Fulda of the North German Lloyd . The Fulda took passengers and crew of the wrecked ship around noon on March 14th.
The purser was able to save a large part of the valuables from the safe. Captain Cottier tried to aground his ship off Fire Island, but the boiler rooms filled up too quickly and the Oregon sank eight hours after the bow- first collision at . For some time afterwards, their mast tips protruded from the water. Cunard had divers inspect the wreck to see if it would be worth salvaging . However, the hull was too badly damaged when it hit the seabed.
The total cost of the loss in monetary value at the time was £ 3,166,000, including £ 1,250,000 for the ship, £ 1,000,000 for insurance and mail, £ 700,000 for cargo and £ 216,000 for the luggage of the passengers. The Oregon's decks have since collapsed, but the machinery is still about 12 meters above the sea floor. The bow, which was likely severed during the collision or during the sinking, is on its starboard side . The rest of the fuselage is on even keel with a slight list to starboard. The wreck lies at a depth of 38/39 meters.
- Depiction of the history of the ship, the sinking and the wreck
- Brief recap of the history of Oregon
- Ship description in The Ships List (approximately in the middle)
- Frame data and photo of the Oregon in the Clydebuilt Ships Database
- Photos and information about diving on the Oregon wreck
- Report of the Oregon maiden voyage in the New York Times, October 15, 1883
- Report of Captain Cottier's testimony about the sinking of the Oregon in the New York Times, March 15, 1886
- A picture of the Oregon