Argo (1853)

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United Kingdom
Builder: C.J. Mare and Company, Leamouth, London
Fate: Wrecked 28 June 1859, Trepassey Bay, Newfoundland
General characteristics
Displacement: 1,815 long tons (1,844 t)
Length: 254 ft (77 m)
Beam: 39 ft (12 m)
Speed: Average speed 10 knots (19 km/h) (steam or sail)
Capacity: 210 passengers
Complement: 120

Argo was an iron screw steamer launched in 1853. She was the first steamship to intentionally circumnavigate the earth.[1]


Argo was built by C.J. Mare and Company of Leamouth, London for the General Screw Steam Shipping Company and launched in 1853. She was a three-masted ship with a clipper bow and a single funnel.[citation needed]

She was an early example of a screw-propelled vessel, though she also possessed a fully functional sail rig, and her screw could be feathered when she was required to travel under sail. This operation could be conducted within 7 minutes from stopping the engines. The screw could also be raised for inspection while at sea if required. During trials she turned out to be a fine sailer, achieving a speed of 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph).[2]

On 8 May 1853, Argo sailed under the command of Captain George Hyde from Southampton, reaching Melbourne in 64 days, with one stop en route at Cape St. Vincent. She returned via Cape Horn in 63 days and received considerable acclaim as the first steamer to circumnavigate the globe.[citation needed]

Argo was sold along with all the other of the General Screw Company's ships in 1857. She was chartered to the Galway Line in 1859 and was wrecked at Trepassey Bay, Newfoundland, on 28 June 1859 on her first homeward voyage, after running on a reef in thick fog. There was no loss of life.[3]


  1. ^ The paddle steamer HMS Driver completed the first circumnavigation in 1847.
  2. ^ Percy, Sholto; Perry Fairfax Nursery (1853). "Trial Trip of the "Argo"". Iron. Knight and Lacey. 58: 353. 
  3. ^ Burke, Edmund (1860). "Wreck of the "Argo"". The Annual Register. Rivingtons. 101: 95. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 


  • Macpherson, Arthur George Holdsworth; Harry Parker; Frank Charles Bowen (1029). Mail and Passenger Steamships of the Nineteenth Century. J.B. Lippincott Company. p. 16. 

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