PS 'Pacific', 1854.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Watercolour drawing by J Taylor. This mail paddle steamer was built of iron for the Sydney and Melbourne Steamship Company, Australia. Her design embodied the 'wave line' principle developed by the Scottish engineer and naval architect, John Scott Rusell (1808-1882). This principle was aimed at reducing the ship's resistance as it moved through the water, in order to attain a desired speed for the smallest posible expenditure of power. The Pacific could carry 80 first-clas and 165 second-clas pasengers, and was intended to be the fastest ship in the world. In 1874 the ship foundered off Cape Flattery, in north-east Australia, with heavy los of life.