News from 1895-96: Doric enters the transpacific service


Mark Baber

Staff member
The Call, San Francisco, California, 27 February 1896
Retrieved from the California Digital Newspaper Collection web site

The Splendid White Star Steamship Is Direct From Liverpool
Her Commander Is an Officer in the Royal Naval Reserve - For the China Run

The splendid White Star steamship Doric arrived last night direct from
Liverpool and anchored off Powell street. She is forty-one days between port
and port, but having to anchor over night at Sandy Point, the entrance to
the Straits of Magellan, consequently her steaming time is forty days. The
distance is 13,600 miles, which makes an average of over fourteen knots an
hour. Notwithstanding the fact that she started with new boilers and engines
there were only two stops at sea --- one of an hour and the other of five
minutes. During all the long voyage the propeller recorded just 4,000,000
revolutions. She was built about twelve years ago, but has been refitted
throughout for the Occidental and Oriental service.

In appearance she resembles her sisters, the Oceanic, Coptic and Belgic, but
her interior is more magnificent than that of the three other vessels. The
furnishings are of oak, teak and mahogany, the colors of the wood blending
together in perfect harmony. The saloons with their beautiful gildings, the
cozy smoking-rooms with their easy chairs and lounging-places, the library
with its hundreds of finely bound volumes, and, above all, the grand, large
staterooms, make this noble craft a veritable ocean palace.

She is 440 feet long (ten feet more than the Coptic), 44-foot beam and 31
feet in depth. Her gross tonnage is 4784, more than that of her sister by
336 tons. The engines are triple expansion, of 3500 horsepower, fitted with
Howdon's forced draught. Her new boilers have been tested at 180 pounds
steam pressure.

The Doric is commanded by Captain Harry Smith, a brother of the old captain
of the Oceanic. He holds the commission of lieutenant in the Royal Naval
Reserve. First Officer A. Hambleton [sic] is also an officer in the reserve.

The other officers are: C. E. Starck, second; B. F. Lawlor, third; C. H.
Cross, fourth; W. Allen, chief engineer; J. Gaston, first assistant; J.
Reid, second; David McKinnon, third; Thomas Tomlinson, fourth; William
Crawford, fifth; Thomas Hellon, boiler-maker. Chief Steward W. Wheat is
acting purser. Chief Engineer Allen, First Assistant Geston and Third
Assistant McKinnon are old O. and O. engineers and well known here.

"I bade my old ship, the Oceanic, goodby when we steamed out of Belfast,"
said the chief last night. "She has been sold to Harland & Wolfe [sic] of
that place, and I imagine she will be refitted for the German Ocean trade.

"The company wanted a larger and faster vessel for this run and here we are.
Nothing of any note happened during our trip, we just went ahead day after
day reeling off fourteen and fifteen knots from hour to hour. In calm and
storm the Doric goes grandly on like the stately Grecian motion that has
given her a name. These great new engines drive her in the teeth of a gale
as they do over the smooth waters of the harbor."

The Doric will discharge her small freight of about a thousand tons or so
and prepare for her first trip to China and Japan. When she was first
reported last night she was taken for the Belgic, which is due from the


Mark Baber

Staff member
MAB Notes: 1. At the moment, I don't know who Col. Crocker was; I don't
think I've encountered his name before. 2. Coptic was in fact not
withdrawn when Doric arrived; to the contrary, the two ships remained on the
Pacific service until it ended in 1906. 3. 3. The final part of the final
sentence, of course, is gibberish.

The San Francisco Call, 19 June 1895
Retrieved from the California Digital Newspaper Collection web site,

The Occidental and Oriental Company Will Have the Doric in Service
She Will Succeed the Oceanic and Be Remodeled to Compete on the Pacific

The Occidental and Oriental Steamship Company has decided to put a new ship
into commission on the Pacific Ocean between this port and the Orient. This
decision was reached yesterday, and after considering different first-class
ocean steamers the Doric was chosen as the new ship to ply between San
Francisco, Yokohama and Hongkong.

"The Oceanic that was taken off and sent home for repairs will not return,"
said Colonel C. F. Crocker yesterday. "In her place we will put on the
Doric, a splendid steamer, which has very much better accommodations for
passengers and is in every way superior to the other ships. I believe she is
now plying between New Zealand and London. It is our intention to have her
thoroughly overhauled, refitted and refurnished. Her engines will be removed
and substituted with powerful engines capable of developing tremendous
horsepower and a high rate of speed. As soon as the Doric is finished she
will be brought to San Francisco and placed in service."

The Coptic, which has taken the place of the Oceanic, will be then withdrawn
and either reserved for other service on the Pacific or returned to England,
either of which alternatives has not yet been decided.

With the Doric in service there will be a lively competition in the
trans-Pacific trade. The local steamship lines having made up their minds to
lose no patronage will then race against the Canadian steamship lines and in
this way improve their service materially.

The Doric is a steel steamer 440 feet long, 44 feet in beam and 31 1/2 feet
deep. She carries four masts schooner rigged and has three decks, two of
which are steel. She was built by Harland & Wolff in Belfast, Ireland, in
1883 for the White Star line, but has been chartered by the Oceanic Steam
Navigation Company.