Ordered for the prominent Boston merchant house of Enoch Train & Co., Chariot of Fame was designed and built by Donald McKay at his famous East Boston yard and launched in May 1853. A large three-decker and the identical sister to the Star of Empire, she was registered at 2,050 tons (old measurement) and measured 220 feet in length with a 43 foot beam. Handsomely fitted out for the fast Boston to Liverpool packet service, her seven North Atlantic passages averaged about 17 days except for one in the winter of 1854, when she was almost lost in severe weather. Leaving Liverpool on 11th January with a cargo valued at 100,000 pounds sterling - the heaviest and most valuable American-bound shipment to clear the port up to that date - she collided with an unknown bark on her first night out which, despite relatively minor damage, marked the start of a series of misfortunes which culminated in her limping into Boston Bay, barely seaworthy, in a blinding snowstorm on 23rd February. Refitted and put back into service, towards the end of 1854 she was chartered to the British-owned White Star Line which ran her on their profitable Australian run although that too lasted barely two years. After 1855 she was employed as a general trader and was most frequently to be found running between New York and San Francisco, often carrying guano from Callao to Hampton Roads.