The Scotia was the last paddle wheel vessel built for the transatlantic trade before the superiority of screw propulsion put an end to their further construction. At the time of her launch in 1861, she was said to be the strongest-built merchant steamer afloat. She was built in iron of 3,871 tons gross, length 379 ft (116 m) between perpendiculars, 47.8 ft (15 m) broad and 30.5 ft (9.3 m) deep. Accommodation was provided for 300 passengers, and 1400 tons of cargo could be carried. On her trials, she is stated to have attained a speed of 16.5 knots. Her paddle-wheels were 40 ft (12 m) diameter, with fixed radial floats 11.5 ft (3.5 m). wide, and were driven by side-lever engines of 975 nominal h.p. constructed by Messrs. Robert Napier and Sons. These had two cylinders, 160 in. diam. by 12 ft. stroke, which indicated 4570 total horse power Steam at 25 lb. psi. pressure was supplied by eight tubular boilers, containing in all 140 furnaces. The fuel consumption amounted to 165 tons per day. The fastest Atlantic crossing of the “Scotia” was made from New York to Queenstown in 8 days 3 hours. She held the Blue Riband from 1862 to 1867 and remained on the North Atlantic service for 13 years. She represented the highest development in transatlantic paddle steamers, and together with her sister ship, the S/S Persia she introduced the first real express service for passengers across the Atlantic.