A five-masted full-rigged steel ship built in 1902 by John C. Tecklenburg, Gestemünde. Her dimensions were 124,25×16,30×8,24 meters [407'8×53'6×27'1] and tonnage of 5081 GRT, 4788 NRT and displacement of 11150 tons. The midship island was 93 ft long.
Equipped with Jarvis' Patent brace winches for the lower and top-sail yards. The fall winches were of Hall's Patent. The sail-area was 5560 square meters [59.770 sq feet].
In a thorough analysis of sailing ship performance conducted by Captain M. Prager at the Deutschen Seewarte and published in Annalen der Hydrographie in 1905 under the title Die Fahrtgeschwindigkeit der Segelschiffe auf großen Reisen, figures based on the first four voyages of the Preussen were presented. According to Prager, the best average performance of the Preussen was 13,7 knots in a force 8 wind "backstags" or 9-15 points from the wind. The corresponding figure for the Potosi was 13,1 knots in a force 9 wind.
In her 13 nitrate voyages the Preussen loaded between 7729 and 7998 metric tons of nitrate.
On the 18th of June 1899 the German Kaiser Wilhelm II, who showed a keen interest in naval matters, visted the F. Laeisz company and was shown around the five-masted barque Potosi by the legendary Captain Hilgendorf. At the end of the tour the Kaiser turned to Carl Laeisz and asked: "Na, Laeisz, wann kommt denn nun das Fünfmastvollschiff?"
1902 May 7
Launched at the shipyard of John C. Tecklenburg, Gestemünde, for F. Laeisz, Hamburg. Assigned the German signal RMPT. Employed in the nitrate trade from the South America West Coast to Europe.
In command of Captain Boye R. Petersen.
1902 July 31 - October 8
Sailed from Geestemünde to Iquique in 65 days from Start Point.
1902 October 24 - January 29
Sailed from Iquique to Hamburg. Lizard Point was passed 79 days out from Iquique.
1903 February 16 - May 1
Sailed from Hamburg to Iquique in 57 days from Lizard Point.
1910 November 6
Run down by the Newhaven-Dieppe cross-Channel steamer Brighton shortly before midnight. The Brighton had mis-judged the speed of the big sailing ship and tried to cross her bows but struck her abreast the foremast and the bowsprit and the fore-rigging of Preussen was damaged. Anchored off Dungeness but both anchor chains parted in the rising wind. The two assisting tugs which were trying to get her into the eastern entrance of the Dover harbour were not able to hold her against the wind but had to let her go. She subsequently drifted ashore at Dover at about 16:30 and was lost.
The Admiralty Court decision of April 12, 1911, was reviewed by the Syren and Shipping journal of which a translation into Swedish was published in the Nautisk Tidskrift Vol. 4 (1911).