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Vintage Pewter SS Oronsay Cigarette Box

Vintage Pewter SS Oronsay Cigarette Box

$150.00


The S.S. Oronsay : "A Ship With a Scottish Heritage"

Found at market outside of London, this handsome Vintage Pewter Cigarette Box was produced exclusively for one of the ships in the great Orient Line Steamship Company's fleet, the S.S. Oronsay.  Exquisitely crafted in Sheffield, England by the T. Land & Sons metalsmith company (using their Civic Pewter trademark), the gently hammered pewter box has a colorful enameled medallion depicting the Orient Line's regal coat of arms applied to its lid. Below the coat of arms, a furled banner bears the S.S. Oronsay name. As was common in boxes designed to hold cigarettes or cigars, the interior is lined in mahogany wood. 

Learn More About the Orient Line

With a rich history, the Orient Line began as the Orient Steam Navigation Company with roots stretching all the way back to the late 18th century.  The British shipping company's beginnings can be traced to a ship-broking business started by Englishman James Thomson in 1797. The company operated a small fleet of sailing ships by the early 19th century, and by the middle of that century they were sailing on routes all over the world.

Over the years, the company changed ownership and by 1866, with the inauguration of service from England to Australia on the steamship Orient, the company changed its name to The Orient Line of Packets, or more simply, Orient Line. 

Close ties with another great shipping company, the P & O lines, began at the turn of the 20th century when both companies shared an Australian government mail contract.  This was a time of rapid expansion for the Orient Line and in 1909, five new ships all bearing names beginning with the letter "O" (in keeping with the company's tradition) entered service on the England to Australia route.  During both the First and Second World Wars, all of the Orient Line ships were requisitioned for war service with half of the fleet being destroyed during the wars. Following World War II, three new ships were built to replace those losses: the SS Orcades in 1947, the SS Oronsay in 1951 and the SS Orsova in 1953.

Produced for the SS Oronsay's maiden voyage in 1951, this handsome pewter cigarette box is a storied memento from the great era of steamship travel and will be a most treasured addition to your collection.


Strictly one-of-a-kind and subject to prior sale. In very good vintage condition. 4.5" X 3.5" x 2.25"H.

Learn More About the S.S. Oronsay

The S.S. Oronsay was the second Orient Line ship built after World War II and was named after an island off the West coast of Scotland. To enhance her Scottish identity she had a traditional Highlander “Targe and Broadsword” insignia located aft of her funnel and on her bow. Her Scottish heritage also influenced her décor with Scottish interior designer Brian O'Rourke creating a more modern "new look" for her interiors with design references of Scotland. 

Built especially for the Australasian service, her accommodations set a new standard, both in first and tourist class. With the final cost of building coming in at £4,228,000, she was considered the epitome of post-war British shipbuilding. Like other passenger liners, Oronsay had considerable cargo holds, with space for 370,000 cubic feet, accommodating both dry and refrigerated cargoes.

She was officially delivered to Orient Line at the port town of Tilbury, England on May 3, 1951 and set sail on her maiden voyage to Australia on May 16, sailing via the Suez Canal, to Fremantle (Perth), Adelaide, Melbourne, and arriving in Sydney on June 18, 1951.

On January 1, 1954, the SS Oronsay would become the first Orient Line ship to cross the Pacific sailing to San Francisco via Auckland, Suva, Honolulu, and Vancouver. After returning to Sydney, she made two further Pacific crossings and in 1960 she transited the Panama Canal completing her first round the world voyage.

On May 2, 1960, P&O (Peninsular Orient Line) absorbed Orient Line and in 1972 Oronsay was converted into a One-Class Liner, capable of accommodating 1,400 passengers. Among the famous passengers that sailed on the SS Oronsay, David Bowie sailed from San Francisco, arriving in Yokohama, Japan on April 5, 1973. During the voyage he gave an impromptu solo acoustic performance for the passengers and crew.

Eventually, with declining bookings due to competition from air travel, P&O decided to sell Oronsay to a scrap metal salvage company in Taiwan. Thus on September 16, 1975 she departed Sydney with some 700 passengers for her final one way voyage to Hong Kong, sailing via Brisbane and Manila, arriving on September 28. Her passengers had a farewell party and left her feeling very sad as many had sailed on her multiple times.

On October 7, 1975 SS Oronsay arrived in Taiwan and 2 days later the once great ship was being dismantled for scrap metal.

This fine liner with a Scottish heritage had called in total at some 150 ports and had completed 64 world voyages and 37 cruises in her 25 years of operation.

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