Tod & Macgregor Shiplist


Yard No.:







 Passenger Ship














 Iron, two cylinder beam engine geared to a single shaft. Single propeller 12 feet in diameter.¹


 Tod & Macgregor


 On 1st Jan.1854, out of Liverpool, she went missing with the loss of 480.

Points of Note:

 First ocean going iron steamship. Barque rigged and carried "an enormous amount of canvass."¹

Date of Launch:

 28th February 1850


          Pioneer vessel of the Inman Line. Accomodated 52 passengers first-class, 85 in second-class, and 400 in steerage. Crew numbered about 70.¹

¹ [Trans-Atlantic Passenger Ships, Eugene W.Smith]


The Glasgow shipbuilding firm of Tod and Macgregor, had the idea that an iron screwship would pay and accordingly built as a speculation the steamer City of Glasgow which they intended to run on a new service between the Broomielaw, in Glasgow, and New York.


Her dimensions were 227 feet in length by 32 in beam, giving her a tonnage of 1,610 by builder's measurement, while she had 2 beam engines totalling 350 nominal horsepower geared to a single shaft with a propeller 12 feet in diameter by 18 feet pitch. The arrangement was peculiar. The engines were on one side of the ship and a beam crossed the keel line. On the other side of the ship was gearing which reduced the engine speed 3 to I. With her 3 flue boilers, working up to 10 lbs. pressure, the machinery was heavy for its type, 428 tons, and with the coal it accounted for 42 per cent of her displacement.


In addition she had the usual clipper rig of the period and was as sightly and graceful as Clyde-built ships of that time always were. She had accommodation for 52 passengers in the first-class, 85 in the second and 400 in the steerage, third-class passengers not having before been carried in steam on account of the expense.


The main deck, 237 feet long, was clear and flanked on either side by the state rooms, there being a 16-foot width of saloon space down the centre, while the head room of 7 feet was regarded being generous. Only 2 of the first-class cabins were 4-berth, the others having 2 berths only, which was another innovation. The second-class rooms were 4 and 8 berth; while the steerage space was of course open.


The City of Glasgow had only made two or three trips across the Atlantic when William Inman persuaded his partners to purchase her as the nucleus of a new fleet. After a certain amount of demur they agreed and she was advertised to take her maiden sailing to Philadelphia, not then covered by a direct steamship service from Europe, on the 11th December, 1850. For the first voyage or two she did not carry steerage passengers—that was the one point on which his partners would not give in to Inman’s importunities—and the fares Westward were 22 guineas and 13 guineas, Eastward 100 dollars and 60.


She also had stowage for about 1,200 tons of cargo which proved most profitable. Inman's calculations, in fact, were so sound that the Board soon gave way to him on the matter of third-class passengers.


The prefix City to the names of the company's ships, which was maintained until the end, thus came about quite accidentally, but the City of Glasgow did so well that they determined to stick to the distinction and the second ship of the fleet, hailing from the same yard, was christened City of Manchester.


The difference in the conditions on the old emigrant packet clippers and the Inman liners is shown by the fact that the City of Glasgow, sailing with 5 cabin and 280 steerage passengers on board, with a crew of 75 men, had on board as ship's stored full provisions for 50 days and an ample supply of water, besides having condensing apparatus in the engine room, which robbed the journey of its chief anxiety.


The City of Glasgow left port on March 1st 1854 and was never heard of again, not the least clue being obtained as to her fate or that of the 480 people she was carrying.

[A Century of Atlantic Travel, FG Bowen]