The SS Agamemnon was built in 1865 to trade between Britain and China, and competed with tea clippers before and after the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. She brought together three improvements in steamship design: higher boiler pressure, an efficient and compact compound steam engine, and a hull form with modest power requirements.
Before Agamemnon, steamships were not a practical commercial option for trade between Britain and the Far East. The amount of coal that they needed to carry left little space for cargo. Agamemnon could steam at 10 knots (19 km/h), consuming only 20 tons of coal a day. This was substantially less than other ships of the time – a saving of between 23 and 14 tons per day was achieved. This enabled her to steam to China with a coaling stop at Mauritius on the outward and return journey. For further information please click here.