1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Steamship Lines
STEAMSHIP LINES. The shipping company is the outcome of the development of the steamship. In former days, when the packet ship was the mode of conveyance, there were combinations, such as the well-known Dramatic and Black Ball lines, but the ships which were run in them were not necessarily owned by those who organized the services. The advent of the steamship changed all that. It was in the year 1815 that the first steamship began to ply between the British ports of Liverpool and Glasgow. In 1826 the “United Kingdom,” a “leviathan steamship,” as she was considered at the time of her construction, was built for the London and Edinburgh trade, steamship facilities in the coasting trade being naturally of much greater relative importance in the days before railways. In the year 1823 the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company was inaugurated, though it was not incorporated till ten years later. The year 1824 saw the incorporation of the General Steam Navigation Company, which was intended not only to provide services in British waters, but also to develop trade with the continent. The St George Steam Navigation Company and the British & Irish Steam Packet Company soon followed. The former of these was crushed in the keen competition which ensued, but it did a great work in the development of ocean travelling. Isolated voyages by vessels fitted with steam engines had been made by the “Savannah” from the United States in 1819, and by the first " Royal William " from Canada in 1833, and the desirability of seriously attacking the problem of ocean navigation was apparent to the minds of shipping men in the three great British ports of London, Liverpool and Bristol, Three companies were almost simultaneously organized: the British & American Steam Navigation Company, which made the Thames its headquarters; the Atlantic Steamship Company of Liverpool; and the Great Western Steamship Company of Bristol. Each company set to work to build a wooden paddle steamer in its own port. The first to be launched was the “Great Western,” which took the water in the Avon on the 19th of July 1837. On the 14th of October following the “Liverpool” was launched by Messrs Humble, Milcrest & Co., in the port from which she was named, and in May 1838 the Thames-built “British Queen” was successfully floated. The “Great Western” was the first to be made ready for sea.
But the rival ports were determined not to be deterred by delays in getting delivery of their specially built ships. The London company chartered the “Sirius,” a 700-ton steamship, from the St George Steam Packet Company, and despatched her from London on the 28th of March 1838. She was thus the first to put to sea. She eventually left Cork on the 4th of April, and reached New York on the 22nd, after a passage of 17 days. The “Great Western” did not leave Bristol till the 8th of April, but under the command of James Hosken, R.N. (1708–1885) she reached New York only a few hours after the “Sirius.” The Liverpool people, fired by the action of the other two ports, chartered the “Royal William” from the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company, and despatched her on the first steam voyage from the Mersey to Sandy Hook on the 5th of July in the same year. The “Liverpool” made her maiden voyage in the following October. But the “British Queen” did not make her initial attempt till the 1st of July 1839. Trouble overtook all three of these early Atlantic lines, and they soon ceased to exist.
Perhaps the most serious factor against them was the success of Mr Samuel Cunard in obtaining the government contract for the conveyance of the mails from Liverpool to Halifax and Boston, with a very large subsidy. The Cunard Line was enabled, and indeed, by the terms of its contract, obliged, to run a regular service with a fleet of four steamships identical in size, power and accommodation. It thus offered conveyance at well-ascertained times and by vessels of known speed. The other companies, with their small fleets of isolated ships and their irregular departures, could not continue the competition. The Atlantic Steamship Company of Liverpool found that the port could not then maintain two steamship lines, and the steamship “Liverpool,” with another somewhat similar vessel which they had built, fell into the hands of the P. & O. Company. The Great Western Steamship Company proceeded to build the “Great Britain,” an iron screw steamship, which in every way was before her time, and were swamped by financial difficulties, their “Great Western” being sold to the West India Royal Mail Company, to whom she became a very useful servant. The “Great Britain” (which was stranded in Dundrum Bay in September 1846, owing to her captain, Hosken, being misled by a faulty chart and mistaking the lights) eventually drifted into the Australian trade. The London company put a second ship, the “President,” on their station. She was lost with all hands, no authentic information as to her end ever being obtained. Her mysterious fate settled the fortunes of her owners, and the “British Queen” was transferred to the Belgian flag. Steam navigation across the Atlantic was now an accomplished fact. But all the three pioneers had been borne down by the difficulties which attend the carrying out of new departures, even when the general principles are sound.
Constant improvement has been the watchword of the ship-owner and the ship-builder, and every decade has seen the ships of its predecessor become obsolete. The mixed paddle and screw leviathan, the “Great Eastern,” built in the late ’fifties, was so obviously before her time by some fifty years, and was so under-powered for her size, that she may be left out of our reckoning. Thus, to speak roughly, the ’fifties saw the iron screw replacing the wooden paddle steamer; the later ’sixties brought the compound engine, which effected so great an economy in fuel that the steamship, previously the conveyance of mails and passengers, began to compete with the sailing vessel in the carriage of cargo for long voyages; the ’seventies brought better accommodation for the passenger, with the midship saloon, improved state-rooms, and covered access to smoke-rooms and ladies’ cabins; the early ’eighties saw steel replacing iron as the material for ship-building, and before the close of that decade the introduction of the twin-screw rendered breakdowns at sea more remote than they had previously been, at the same time giving increased safety in another direction, from the fact that the duplication of machinery facilitated further subdivision of hulls. Now the masts of the huge liners in vogue were no longer useful for their primary purposes, and degenerated first into derrick props and finally into mere signal poles, while the introduction of boat decks gave more shelter to the promenades of the passengers and removed the navigators from the distractions of the social side. The provision of train-to-boat facilities at Liverpool and Southampton in the, ’nineties did away with the inconveniences of the tender and the cab. The introduction of the turbine engine at the beginning of the 20th century gave further subdivision of machinery and increase of economy, whereby greater speed became possible and comfort was increased by the reduction of vibration. At the same time the introduction of submarine bell signalling tends to diminish the risk of stranding and collision, whilst wireless telegraphy not only destroys the isolation of the sea but tends to safety, as was seen by the way in which assistance was called out of the fog when the White Star liner “Republic” was sinking as the result of a collision off Martha's Vineyard (1909). In the following pages some of the ships which first embodied these improvements are mentioned, a brief history of the prin- cipal lines is attempted, and reference is made to some of the milestones on the road of improvement.
Allan Line.—The story of the Allan Line is that of the enterprise of one family. Captain Alexander Allan, at the time of the Penin- sular War, conveyed stores and cattle to Lisbon for Wellington's army. After 1815 he began to run his vessel between the Clyde and Canada, and as years went on he employed several vessels in the service. Till 1837 the ships ran from Greenock to Montreal, but in that year, after the Clyde was deepened, the ships went to Glasgow, as they have continued to do ever since. Captain Allan and his five sons devoted all their energies to the development of the Canadian trade, and for about forty years the line ran sailing ships only, which were greatly in request for the emigrant traffic. In 1852 the Canadian government requested tenders for a weekly mail service between Great Britain and Canada. That of Sir Hugh Allan of Montreal, one of Captain Allan's sons, was accepted, and the Canadian mail line of steamships came into existence. It may be noted that the Allan Line inaugurated steamers of the “spar-deck” type, i.e. with a clear promenade deck above the main deck. This measure of safety was taken as a lesson from the disastrous foundering of the Australian steamship "London" in the Bay of Biscay in the year 1866. The company may claim, too, that their steamship " Buenos Ayrean," built for them in the year 1879 by Messrs Denny of Dumbarton, was the first Atlantic steamship to be constructed of steel. As time went on the company's services were extended to various ports on the eastern shores of North America and in the river Plate; and London, as well as the two strongholds of Glasgow and Liverpool, was taken as a port of departure. In the course of its career it has absorbed the fleet of the old State Line of Glasgow and a great part of the fleet of the Royal Exchange Shipping Company and of the Hill Line. Included in the latter fleet were the first twin-screw steamers constructed for a British North Atlantic line. The " Virginian " and the " Victorian," built for the Allan Line in 1 905, were the first transatlantic liners propelled by turbines. The principal ports served by the Allan Line are (in the United Kingdom) Glasgow, Londonderry, Belfast, Liverpool and London ; from these their vessels ply to many places in North and South America, including Quebec, Montreal, St Johns (Newfoundland), Halifax, St John (New Brunswick), Portland, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Montevideo, Buenos Aires and Rosario.
American Line.—Though the American Line, as now constituted, is of comparatively modern origin, it is the successor of several much older organizations. Of these the oldest is the Inman Line, last acquired by it. On the 16th of April 1850 an iron screw steamship of 1609 tons gross register left Glasgow on her maiden trip to New York. This was the beginning of the Inman Line. After a few voyages this ship was sold to Messrs Richardson, Spence & Co. of Liverpool, in which William Inman (1825–1881) was a partner, and the sailings of the steamships were thenceforth for some years between Liverpool and Philadelphia. But in 1857 New York took the place of Philadelphia as a regular terminus. In 1859 the regular call at Queenstown was commenced by this line, which may be said to have been responsible for two other innova- tions in transatlantic traffic. Before 1850 practically all the steamships crossing the ocean, with the famous exception of the " Great Britain," were paddle-boats. After the advent of the Inman liners the screw began to be everywhere substituted for the paddle. In the second place, the Inman steamers were the first which regularly undertook the conveyance of third-class passengers, to the extinc- tion of the old clipper vessels which had hitherto carried on the traffic. In 1867 the Inman liner " City of Paris " (the first bearing the name) held the westward record with 8 days 4 hours, and in 1869 the " City of Brussels " came home in 7 days 22 hours 3 minutes. Till 1872 these records held good. The " City of Brussels " also had the distinction of being the first Atlantic mail steamer to be fitted with steam steering-gear. About 1875 Mr William Inman turned the concern into a limited company, and in 1886 the business was amalgamated with the International Company, and the vessels, though still flying the red ensign, became the property of a group of United States capitalists, who also acquired the old American Line which had been started in 1873 with four Philadelphia-built steamers. This company had been conducted under the auspices of the Pennsylvania Railroad. It plied between Liverpool and Philadelphia. A third constituent in the Inman and International Steamship Company was the Red Star Line, as the Soci6t6 Anonyme Belge-Americaine was familiarly called. Its service was from Antwerp to New York. The whole was placed under the manage- ment of Messrs Richardson, Spence & Co., who thus after thirty- two years reassumed the direction of the old companv. In 1887 the two ships " City of New York " and " City of Paris were built on the Clyde for the company. At the time of their construction they were the largest vessels ever built, always excepting the " Great Eastern." The " City of Paris " was the first vessel (1889) to cross the Atlantic in less than six days. The year 1893 was an important one in the history of the company, and indeed of the United States. The two vessels above mentioned were admitted to American registry by Congress, a stipulation being made that two new ships of at least equal tonnage and speed to the pair should be ordered by the company from American firms, and that they should, be capable of being employed by the United States government as auxiliary cruisers in case of war. The American flag was hoisted over the " New York " in 1893 by President Harrison, and in the same year the British headquarters of the company were transferred from Liverpool to Southampton. In 1894 the first American-built ocean liner of the new fleet was launched, and was named the "St Louis." In 1898 the American Line had the distinction of supply- ing the navy of its country with cruisers for use in war. The " St Paul," the only vessel of the tour under contract in American waters at the time, was put under the command of Captain Sigsbee, whose own battleship, the " Maine," had been blown up in Havana harbour on the 15th of February. The other three ships were also put into commission, the " Paris " being temporarily renamed the " Yale " and the " New York " the " Harvard." In 1902 with their twin-screw liner " Kensington " the American Line made the first experiments towards fitting Atlantic passenger steamers with appliances for the use of liquid fuel. The express fleet of- the line consists of the four vessels, " St Louis " and " St Paul," each of 11,600 tons and a length of 554 ft. ; and the "New York " and " Philadelphia," each of 10,800 tons and 560 ft. length. Several still larger but less speedy steamships have been constructed . for the intermediate services of the company In addition to the weekly express service between Southampton and New York, the American Line runs steamers between New York and Antwerp, Philadelphia, Queenstown and Liverpool, and Philadelphia and Antwerp.
Austrian Lloyd Steam Navigation Company.—This company was started in 1837 at Trieste, where its headquarters are still situated. It commenced operations with seven small wooden paddle-boats for the voyage to Constantinople and the Levant. By 1910 they had increased to a fleet of sixty-two iron and steel steamships, with a gross tonnage of about a quarter of a million tons. The whole eastern coast of the Adriatic and the Levant is visited by them with frequent services. There is a line to the west as far as Brazil, and a monthly mail service between Trieste, Brindisi and Bombay. There is also a monthly ordinary service between Trieste, Bombay, China and Japan, and a monthly branch in connexion with it between Colombo, Madras and Calcutta.
Bibby Line.—The name of Bibby has long been known and respected in the shipping world. The first undertaking of the family was the institution of a service from Liverpool to Mediterranean ports about the middle of last century. When Mr (subsequently Sir Edward) Harland took over the shipbuilding works at Belfast, which he afterwards made famous, Mr Bibby was one of his earliest customers. It was he who gave him practically carte blanche in the way of proportion for the new ships built for his service, and it was from the experience acquired and the success achieved with them that the "long ships," with which the White Star Line made its name, were first brought into the region of the practical. In this connexion it may be stated that Sir Edward Harland was born at Scarborough in 1831, his father being a medical practitioner. He learnt the science of ship-building in the yards of Messrs R. Stephenson & Co. of Newcastle, and became first a draughtsman with Messrs J. & G. Thomson, and then manager in a Newcastle yard. In 1854 he went to Belfast, first as manager to Messrs Robert Hickson & Co. Then in 1858 he took over their yard. In 1859 he launched the "Venetian "for Mr Bibby, and in i860 he took Mr G. W. Wolff into partnership. After a time Mr Bibby retired from the active pursuit of his business, and the, line passed into the hands of one of his confidential managers—Mr Leyland (see Leyland Line). But the Bibby family, though large shareholders in the White Star Line, could not remain without some active interest in seafaring matters. Hence a new Bibby Line was started. Its first vessel was the “Lancashire,” a single-screw steamer of 4244 tons gross register, built—as have been all this fleet—by Messrs Harland & Wolff. She came out in 1889. Her sister was a similar vessel. Subsequent additions to the fleet were all of the twin-screw type; thus the Bibby Line can boast that it was the first to maintain its service, which is now fortnightly, exclusively with twin-screw vessels. In the trade between Liverpool and Rangoon they soon made a name.
The Booth Line is essentially a Liverpool company. It was founded in the year 1866 by Messrs Alfred Booth & Co., who in that year instituted a service to north Brazil. Three years later from the same port was started the Red Cross Line of Messrs R. Singlehurst & Co. to carry on a similar service. In 1901 the two lines were amalgamated under the title of the Booth Steamship Company Limited. Since the year 1883 there has been a connexion by the Booth steamers between north Brazil and New York. Para, Manaos, Maranham, Paranahyba and Ceara are the chief Brazilian ports served by the company, whilst the steamers make calls on the eastern side of the Atlantic at Cardiff and Havre as well as at Spanish and Portuguese ports. The company carries the British mails to Para and Manaos, whilst it also takes the United States mails between New York and north Brazil. In addition to its transatlantic passenger traffic the Booth Line is largely developing a tourist trade to Vigo, Oporto and Lisbon in the Peninsula as well as to Madeira. The Yquitos Steamship Company, which is under its management, carries its trade a couple of thousand miles up the River Amazon; a further development will extend to River Plate ports.
British India Steam Navigation Company.—This line maintains, perhaps, a larger network of communications and serves a greater number of ports difficult of access than any in the world. The Persian Gulf, Burma, the Straits of Malacca, and the entire littoral of the East Indies, to say nothing of the east coast of Africa, are among the scenes of its enterprise. Though its ramifications now extend to the ports of northern Australia, the company had its origin in the Indian coasting trade. Its present designation is of comparatively recent origin, but its first operations date from 1855. A project for a mail service between Calcutta and Burma was then first set on foot by the East India Company. Early in the following year a company was formed, under the title of the Calcutta and Burma Steam Navigation Company. Two small steamers of 600 tons each were brought and despatched to India round the Cape in 1857, for a service between Calcutta, Akyab, Rangoon and Moulmein, under a contract with the government of India. At the outbreak of the Mutiny in 1857 the company rendered important service by bringing up from Ceylon to Calcutta the first detachment of European troops which came to the assistance of India from outside. In 1862 an agreement was made between the company and the government, by which the former agreed to convey troops and stores and to perform other services. Under this arrangement steamers were to be despatched regularly from Calcutta to Rangoon, Moulmein, Akyab and Singapore, and from Rangoon to the Andaman Islands. A service was also set on foot to the Persian Gulf, between Bombay and Karachi and Madras and Rangoon. This gave a great impulse to the business of the company. During the Abyssinian campaign of 1867 it proved of the greatest assistance to the government. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 produced an entire revolution in the shipping trade of India, and led to a great development of the company’s fleet. The s.s. “India” with cargo was waiting at Suez when the canal was opened to traffic, and was the first steamer to arrive in London through the canal with an Indian cargo. In 1872 the company extended its operations to the east coast of Africa, and by an arrangement with the British government began to run a service every four weeks between Aden and Zanzibar. Upwards of one hundred ports are visited by the company’s steamers. In all there are twenty-one lines with additional services. They may be classed roughly as those running to ports in (i.) India, Burma and Straits Settlements; (ii.) Straits Settlements and Philippines; (iii.) East Coast of Africa; (iv.) Persian Gulf; (v.) Dutch East Indies and Queensland.
The Canadian Pacific Railway is now one of the big shipping companies of the world, owning, as it does, just under 200,000 tons of steam shipping. Its services divide themselves into several sections. There are those in home waters, such as the Great Lakes, where it employs a fleet of vessels of quite considerable tonnage. Under this head, too, come the local services on the coasts and rivers of the Pacific. Then there are the ocean lines on the Pacific and the Atlantic. The first of these is run from Vancouver via Yokohama and other Japanese ports to Hong-Kong. Sailings are made at about three-weekly intervals. This service is maintained by the three Empresses, the “Empress of India,” the “Empress of China” and the Empress of Japan,” sister ships of about 6000 tons and 10,000 i.h.p., specially built with a view to serve as auxiliary cruisers to the British navy in time of war. The great development of the Canadian Pacific, as far as regards ship-owning, took place in 1903, when it took over from Messrs Elder, Dempster & Co. their transatlantic services to Canada. The “deal” affected four twin-screw passenger and cargo steamers, and some ten vessels of a purely cargo type. These steamers ranged in size from the “Monmouth,” of just over 4000 tons gross register, to the “Lake Manitoba” of not far short of 10,000 tons. Since their entry into the Atlantic trade the company has added two important mail steamers—the “Empress of Britain” and “Empress of Ireland”—to that side of its fleet.
Castle Line (see also Union Line and Union-Castle Line).—The Castle Line began its career in 1872 with the “Iceland” and the “Gothland,” both vessels of about 1400 tons. At that time the charge for carrying letters to the Cape was about 1s. per half oz., and the contract time between England and the Cape thirty-seven days. The mail contracts were then in the hands of the Union Line exclusively, but in 1873 the House of Commons refused to ratify the extension of the contract signed with them by the chancellor of the exchequer, and their rights thus expired in 1876. Up to 1876 the Cape parliament made an allowance to the Castle Line for the conveyance of letters, and when the postal contract was renewed in that year it was divided between the Union and the Castle lines, an arrangement which was adhered to down to the time when the two lines united their fortunes. The scope of the company’s energies has now been extended to all parts of South Africa. The line did great national service in carrying troops and stores to South Africa during the 1899–1902 and previous campaigns. By a resolution passed at a meeting of shareholders held on the 13th of February 1900 this company was amalgamated with the Union Line. The fleet had grown from two ships in 1876 to twenty ships in 1900, and from a total tonnage of 2800 to one of about 110,000 gross register.
City of Dublin Steam Packet Company.—Among the steamship services in the narrow seas round Great Britain a special interest attaches to this company, which vies with the General Steam Navigation Company in the claim for seniority. The General Steam was undoubtedly the first to receive incorporation in the year 1824, but the undertakings from which the City of Dublin Company sprang were at work in the years immediately prior to these dates. As far as appears, the firm of Bourne & Co.—who fulfilled in Ireland functions for which the Messageries Impériales in France were first formed—were large shareholders in two undertakings which made history in regard to the development of steam navigation. One of these companies was the Dublin & London Steam Packet Company, from which Messrs Wilcox & Anderson, the first managers of the P. & O., chartered the “Royal Tar,” the first steamer they despatched to the Peninsula, and the other was the City of Dublin Company, which originally occupied itself in the maintenance of a service of steamships between Dublin and Liverpool. It was this company's “Royal William” which had the distinction of opening the Liverpool service to New York. By absorption, too, this company represents the old St George Company, whose “Sirius” was the first steamer to sail from London towards New York. In the year 1838 the admiralty, which in those days had the management of many of the mail services and continued for a time to keep the Irish day mails in its own hands, gave the City of Dublin Company the contract for the night Irish mails, which were thus despatched via Liverpool. The name of Laird is to this day closely associated with the fortunes of the company, and even at that time a Mr Laird, grandfather of the present partners in the ship-building firm, was a director of the City of Dublin Company. In the year 1848 the government with four steamers endeavored to run the day and night mails itself via Holyhead. But this arrangement did not work well, and two of its mail steamers were bought by the City of Dublin Company, while the two others were acquired by the Chester & Holyhead railway. It is needless to follow the vicissitudes of the mail service, wavering as it did from the admiralty to the Chester & Holyhead railway, and then to the City of Dublin Company. Suffice it to say that in 1859 an arrangement was entered into whereby the City of Dublin Company undertook the conveyance of both day and night mails via Holyhead, and built four ships, called after the four Irish provinces, for the service. The performances of these four paddle-ships, three of which were built by Messrs Laird, were remarkable indeed. The “Connaught” was the first vessel to do her 18 knots. The “Ulster” made the best passage of them all—doing the journey from Holyhead and Kingston in 3 hours 18 minutes. But the “Leinster” was only two minutes behind her, and the “Munster” only six minutes worse than the “Leinster.” Taking the performances of the whole four vessels over the first fourteen years of their existence, and considering the mean of 20,440 passages made as well in winter as in summer, the average time of passage was only 3 hours 56.1 minutes. The contract was renewed from time to time, that coming into operation on the 1st of October 1883 being for an accelerated service. To enable this to be adequately performed, the last paddle-ship of the fleet, the “Ireland,” was built by Messrs Laird, who also overhauled and improved the machinery of the older vessels, giving them new boilers adapted for the use of forced draught. In 1895 it was felt that the mode of carrying these important mails again needed revision, and in that year the House of Commons approved of a new contract, under which four new twin-screw vessels were to be built for the service. The work of design and construction was again undertaken by Messrs Laird, and in 1897 the new fleet assumed the duties, and indeed the names, of the vessels which had done such remarkable service during a period of about thirty-eight years. The contract time was now decreased by half an hour, and this meant naturally a very great increase in the speed of the vessels employed. The present ships, capable of a speed of about 24 knots, maintain however with regularity and ease the 20 to 21 knots which are required. Besides the night and day services with the mails the company also maintains its old line between Liverpool and Dublin.
Compagnie Générale Transatlantique.—A French undertaking known as the Compagnie Générale Maritime was founded in 1855. It owed its inception to the brothers Emile and Isaac Pereire. Services were first organized from Rouen to Algeria, between Havre and Hamburg, and between Marseilles and Antwerp, with calls at Spanish and Portuguese ports. In 1861 the company was allowed to change its title to the more comprehensive one under which it is now known, and it then undertook its first contracts for the carriage of the French mails to the United States, the Antilles and Mexico. Some of the earlier vessels employed in the New York service were very fine specimens of the naval architecture of their day. Among them may be instanced the great iron paddle-steamer “Napoleon III.,” built in the year 1864 by Messrs Scott & Co. of Greenock, who at that time constructed most of the more important vessels for this service. This vessel with her imperially titled sisters suffered a change of name in the early ’seventies, when several of them were lengthened and altered to screws. In the year 1881, again, there was a great movement towards the acceleration and improvement of the New York service, and a new fleet was begun with the single-screw steamship “La Normandie,” launched at Barrow-in-Furness in 1883. Four larger vessels of much the same class followed, three of them being constructed in the owners' own yard at Penhoet. In 1890 the first twin-screw steamer of the line appeared in “La Touraine,” and proving a success, the British-built “L’Aquitaine” was purchased. A new postal contract was arranged in 1898, and under its terms it became necessary for the company to build still larger and faster vessels. Eventually four such ships were to be provided. These vessels are of 22 knots speed on trial, and are among the fastest on the Atlantic. The company maintains a weekly service to New York, as well as the lines to the Antilles and Mexico in the Atlantic. There are also communications with British and Algerian ports.
Cunard Line.—This company derives its name from Samuel Cunard of Halifax, Nova Scotia, an owner of sailing vessels trading from Boston and Newfoundland to Bermuda. He first conceived the idea of a regular despatch of royal mail steamships across the Atlantic, to take the place of the government brigs, which often took six or seven weeks in the transport of mails. This idea he realized with the help of Mr George Burns of Glasgow and Mr David MacIver of Liverpool. On the 4th of July 1840 the first Cunarder, the “Britannia,” started on her voyage across the Atlantic with sixty-three passengers, landing them at Boston in a fortnight. The experiment of using the screw for the Atlantic service was made with several cargo steamers in the early ’fifties, and the first Cunard screw steamer for the mail line made her début in 1862. This was the “China,” the gross tonnage of which was 2539, her i.h.p. 2250, and her average speed 13.9 knots. In 1870 the Cunard Company first fitted compound engines to their steamship “Batavia,” and in 1881 the “Servia,” the first steel vessel in the service, was the pioneer of the larger type which constitutes the present express fleet. Since 1840 the Cunard Company has been under contract with the British government for a mail service. At the present time the contract is for a weekly mail to the United States, via Liverpool and New York. The British post office, however, only pays its contractors for the weight of mails actually carried, and reserves the right to send specially addressed letters by foreign ships. The company’s services also include a passenger line to Boston, and frequent despatches to Mediterranean and Levant ports as well as a weekly steamer to Havre, and a passenger service from the Mediterranean to New York. In October 1902, as a result of the formation of the Morgan Shipping Trust, the British government made a new arrangement with the Cunard Line, involving the loan at 23% of the capital for building two new fast steamers, besides a yearly subsidy of £150,000 for twenty years. The company showed its confidence in the turbine system—then in its infancy—by adopting this principle for these two vessels, the largest and fastest at that time contemplated. The advance in size and power of Atlantic steamships is evidenced by the following comparison:—
|1884||“Umbria” and “Etruria”||19||8,127||14,500|
|1893||“Campania” and “Lucania”||22||12,952||30,000|
|1907||“Lusitania” and “Mauritania”||25||30,830||68,000|
Elder, Dempster & Co.—The remarkable progress of this company, and of the undertakings connected with it, was largely due to the activity of the late Sir Alfred Jones. The oldest business under its management is the African Steamship Company, which was incorporated by royal charter in the year 1852 for the purpose of trading with West African ports. It received a subvention of £30,000 per annum for a monthly mail to the Gold Coast, and began its work with an unambitious little fleet of four 700-ton vessels. These were at first, however, equal to all the traffic which the trade could offer them. As time went on the number and size of the vessels employed was increased. In 1869 such progress had been made that it appeared worth while to start an opposition line under the name of the British and African Steam Navigation Company. This was at first a Glasgow venture, much in the same way as the old concern had made its headquarters in London. But Liverpool has long been the centre of the West African trade, and both companies practically transferred their business thither. In the year 1883 the British & African Company, which was the first of the two to fall under the management of Messrs Elder, Dempster & Company, became a limited company, and not long afterwards the two rivals arrived at a working arrangement whereby their sailings—at that time about three times a fortnight—were worked into one another. The Canary Islands, where the West African steamers called on their voyages, were then becoming known as a resort for tourists and invalids, and the issue of tickets available by either line was commenced for their convenience. The development of the cultivation of the banana for the English market was also begun to be encouraged by the two steamship companies. But it was in the month of August 1891 that the great movement by the Elder-Dempster Company was made public. It was then announced that the firm had assumed the management of the African Company. The two concerns were, and are, continued as distinct organizations, but they naturally work very closely together. The African Company soon began to break fresh ground, building not only superior vessels for the improving West African service, but also constructing large cargo vessels for the general Atlantic trade. These were soon engaged in the trade between the Mersey and the St Lawrence on the one hand, and between Liverpool and the southern ports of the United States on the other. Meanwhile the development of the possibilities of West Africa and of the Canary Islands was not neglected. Various undertakings, not usually considered part of a shipowner’s work, were inaugurated. These included a bank, founded in 1894, for the accommodation of West African traders, oil-mills in Liverpool, where the palm kernels so largely consigned from the coast might be dealt with, and a hotel at Grand Canary for the convenience of the tourist; while, to ensure the disposal of the bananas which their companies brought to England, a fruit brokerage business was opened in Covent Garden. Having already, as has been seen, a footing in the Canadian trade, they began the restoration of the Atlantic trade to Bristol, by giving it a service of steamships to the St Lawrence, employing for the purpose vessels of as great size as their docks could accommodate. At the beginning of 1899 they further strengthened their connexion with the nearest British colony by the purchase, from the liquidator of the insolvent Canada Snipping Company, of the name, house-flag and remains of the old Beaver Line. A new fleet for this service was at once put in hand, a fair representative of the ships being the twin-screw “Lake Erie,” a vessel of 7550 tons gross register, built in 1900 by Messrs Barclay, Curie & Co. of Glasgow, which did good work—with many other Elder-Dempster steamers—in the transport service during the Boer War. The Canadian steamers were however in 1903 transferred to the Canadian Pacific railway. At the beginning of the 20th century the firm began trading with the West Indies. By arrangement with the colonial office, for an annual subsidy of £40,000, the “Direct” service of fortnightly steamships was started with the sailing from Avonmouth of the then newly built “Port Morant” in February 1901. The steamships of the new line have good passenger accommodation and hotels were acquired in Jamaica to provide accommodation for those who wished to visit the West Indies under the new management. This provision for tourists was a novel feature. The increase, at once absolute and comparative, in the tonnage of the Elder-Dempster fleet has been very remarkable. On the death of Sir Alfred Jones a limited company was established under the direction of Lord Pirrie, of the great ship-building firm of Harland & Wolff, and of Sir Owen Philipps, chairman of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, to carry on the Elder-Dempster Company and take over the various interests concerned. The vessels of the West African lines ply as well from Hamburg and other North Sea continental ports as from Liverpool, while closely connected with the firm, though sailing its vessels under the Belgian flag, is the Compagnie Belge Maritime du Congo, which runs a service from Antwerp to West African ports.
Ellerman Line.—“Lloyd’s Register of Shipping” in its issue for 1901–1902 contains no reference to the Ellerman Line. For unlike most other shipping companies it sprang into being in a moment. It was started when Mr (afterwards Sir) John Ellerman, chairman of the Leyland Line, severed his connexion with that company and went his own way, taking with him some nineteen vessels of the fleet, and the Peninsula and Mediterranean connexions of the old company. Forthwith he added to the tale of his ships by taking over the management of the seven steamers of the Papayanni Line—which has also long maintained a service to Mediterranean ports. Nine steamers previously managed by Messrs Westcott & Laurence also came into the fold. But this was not all; the direction of two old-established lines to Indian ports was also acquired. These were the fleet of the City Line, which at that time comprised some fifteen vessels, many of them fitted for the passenger trade. This line had been founded by Messrs George Smith & Sons of Glasgow in the first half of the 19th century and had grown up out of a fleet of sailing vessels. The other was the Hall Line of Liverpool, previously managed by Messrs Robert Alexander & Co. It consisted of some eleven steamships of about 4000 tons gross apiece. The various sailings of these different companies have all been maintained and extended, and in 1910, in conjunction with the Harrison and Clan lines, a new development up the East Coast of Africa towards Zanzibar and Mombasa was organized.
The Leyland Line may be said to date from the year 1851, when the first Mr Bibby founded his steamship line with the small vessels “Arno” and “Tiber” for service to the Mediterranean (see Bibby Line above). The company extended its business to the North Atlantic and in the early ’seventies changed its name, Mr F. R. Leyland, one of its managers, assuming the control. On his death in 1892 the concern became a limited company. In 1900 it purchased the fleet and connexions of the West India & Pacific Steamship Company—a business which had been founded nearly forty years previously in Liverpool and which served, beside many West India Islands, the cotton ports of Galveston and New Orleans, having also a connexion to Colon for places on the western coast of America. This company at the date of its absorption had a fleet of twenty-two steamships totalling over 111,000 tons gross register. This amalgamation was the first step towards the great American combine. Mr Ellerman, however, who was chairman of the old Leyland Company, separated himself from it at this juncture, and founded his own line. The Leyland Company had a number of transatlantic services.
General Steam Navigation Company.—This is the oldest existing line. Its first prospectus was issued in 1824, and in 1831 it received its charter of incorporation. It commenced with the passenger trade from London to Margate, and its operations gradually extended to the British coastwise ports and the home trade ports on the Continent. In time the company introduced a regular steam service between Edinburgh and other east coast ports and London, Hamburg, Rotterdam, Antwerp and Havre in the north of Europe. It gradually obtained a strong hold upon the passenger and fine goods trade to the Continent, holding the mail contracts between London and Hamburg, and London and Rotterdam. In the early ’seventies the pressure of foreign competition made itself severely felt, and in 1876 the increase of the American cattle trade told on the profits of the company; but the difficulty was met by obtaining parliamentary leave for an increase of capital, and the company had displayed new enterprise, especially in regard to its passenger facilities. It may claim to have been the pioneer in the promotion of steamship traffic between British home ports and the nearer ones of the Continent. The steamship “Giraffe,” built in 1836, brought over the first cargo of live cattle from Rotterdam to Blackwall in 1846. The company runs steamers from London to Edinburgh, Hull and Yarmouth, and from London to Antwerp, Amsterdam, Bordeaux, Havre, Hamburg, Oporto, Ostend, Rotterdam, Charente and the Mediterranean port. Vessels are also run to some of the ports above-named from Hull and Southampton. There is also a passenger service between Harwich and Hamburg, and excursion services in summer to the watering-places at the mouth of the Thames and on the Kentish coast.
Hamburg-American Line.—The extraordinary progress of Hamburg as a seaport during the last thirty years of the 19th century may be held due in no small measure to the enterprise of this line, which now carries passengers not only to the two American continents, but also to the east of Asia and Africa. It was founded in May 1847. At that time, owing to the political disturbances throughout Germany, there was an enormous exodus of emigrants to the new world; of this the founders took advantage, and they started a regular service of sailing ships between Hamburg and New York. The first ship they owned was the “Deutschland,” of 700 tons, built on the Elbe. It is interesting to note that the present “Deutschland” is of 16,502 tons gross register, and is of twenty-three times the capacity of her predecessor. The first sailing took place in October 1848. In 1851 the company’s fleet consisted of six vessels, with an aggregate of 4000 tons. In 1856 the first screw steamer in the company’s service left Hamburg; this was the “Borussia,” a vessel constructed, as were her sisters for many years, on the Clyde. From this time, when the company abandoned sailing ships and took to steam, its prosperity may be said to have dated. It is strange to note that the two first steamships owned by it were chartered by the British and French governments to convey troops to the Crimea. By 1867 the company had ceased to own any sailing ships. The enormous increase of the traffic is indicated by the fact that whilst in 1856 the sailings to New York took place every fortnight, in 1881 there were two a week, and later on three. The company had also by this time considerably extended its operations from the original passage between Hamburg and New York. After the war between France and Germany it started a line to the West Indies, and later to Baltimore, Boston, Montreal and other ports in North America. In 1875 it absorbed the old Eagle Company of Hamburg, which had previously been its rival, and then began to run steamers to Central and South America, and later to China, Japan and the Straits Settlements. To-day the Hamburg- American Line may claim to be the largest steamship company in the world. For its services to New York run by twin-screw steamers it has the “Deutschland,” built at Stettin by the Vulcan Company. Her engines develop about 33,000 horse-power, and she was the first Atlantic liner to exceed a speed of 23 knots at sea. Other large steamers built for its Hamburg-Southampton-New York service are the “Kaiserin Augusta Victoria” and the “Amerika,” which, though larger, has not the “Deutschland’s” speed. A service from Hamburg to New York direct for third-class passengers only is also maintained. The Hamburg Company has extended its influence and enlarged its fleet by purchases from and absorptions of other fleets. Thus it has acquired vessels from the Carr Line and the Hansa Line of Hamburg, the Rickmers Line of Bremen, as well as from the Hamburg South America and the Hamburg-Calcutta companies. In conjunction with the Lloyd Line it took over the fleet of the Kinsing Line. In 1901, with a view to the feeding of its main lines, it acquired the Atlas Line of Liverpool—a company which had developed the tra3e between New York and the West Indies. Starting from Hamburg, its vessels run to New York, Portland, Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia, Galveston and New Orleans, and to Canadian ports. In Central and Southern America, there are lines to Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. Amongst the West Indian Islands Cuba receives special attention from this line. There is a service to Eastern Asia, China and Japan. From Stettin its steamers run to New York, and from New York to the Mediterranean, Brazil and Eastern Asia. From Genoa they run to La Plata direct.
Japan Mail Steamship Company, Limited (Nippon Yusen Kaisha).—From an early period their insular frontiers made the Japanese a seafaring folk, but imperial policy for a long period shut them away from all intercourse with the rest of the world. It was not until about the year 1860 that the life of the West really touched Japan: In 1868 steamship communication was opened between Tōkyō and Osaka; in 1871 the Yubin Kisen Kaisha Steamship Company came into existence under the control of the Imperial Bureau of Communication; and in the same year a private company, called the Mitsubishi Kaisha, was founded. This may be said to have been the beginning of all modern maritime enterprises in Japan. In 1876 the government company gave up the contest, and its fleet passed into the hands of the private company. In 1873 the capacities of this company had been tested in the military expedition to Formosa, when its organization had been found excellent, but its fleet insufficient. The treasury now invited the company to buy up the Yokohama-Shanghai service of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company. In 1876 the company had a fleet of forty-two vessels, including sailing ships. In 1882 the government set on foot another rival line, the Kyodo Unyu Kaisha, but it did not answer, and in 1885 the two were amalgamated into the present “Nippon Yusen Kaisha,” or “Japan Mail Steamship Company.” In the nine years which passed between this union and the outbreak of the war with China in 1894, the services between Japan and neighbouring countries were extended, and the development of the cotton trade induced the government to inaugurate a service between Japan and Bombay. During the war the vessels of the line were used for the transport of troops, and many additional ships had to be acquired. The result of the war gave an enormous impulse to trade and navigation. The company determined to run vessels to America, Europe and Australia. The capital was greatly increased, and orders were given for the construction of twelve twin-screw steamers of over 6000 tons each for the European line, and three of 3800 tons each for the Australian line. In 1899 the Japanese Diet resolved to grant subsidies to the company’s European and American lines. All its lines therefore now, with few exceptions, run under the mail contract of the Japanese government. There is a regular fortnightly service of twin-screw vessels between Yokohama, London and Antwerp; a monthly service between Yokohama and Melbourne; also between Yokohama and Victoria (British Columbia). There are lines to Bombay, Shanghai, Vladivostok, Newchang, Tientsin, and many local lines, touching at all the ports of the islands of Japan.
Royal Mail Steam Packet Company.—Soon after British-owned steamships began to run to America a company was formed by leading business men interested in the West Indies, to carry the mails from England to that part of the world. The charter of this company, to be known as the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, was granted in 1839. The government believed that the institution of a line carrying the mails regularly to British possessions in the West Indies was likely to prove of benefit to the empire, and granted it a large subsidy. The first contract with the government was entered into in March 1841. No less than fourteen large paddle-steamers capable of carrying the largest guns then used by the Royal Navy were at once ordered, and the service was opened with the “Thames” on the 3rd of January 1842, followed by other vessels in fortnightly succession. These steamers started from Falmouth and returned to Southampton, which was the company’s headquarters, though it had no dock accommodation in those days. In 1846 the company began to carry the, mails for places on the western coast of South America, the Pacific Steam Navigation Company receiving them at Panama. In January 1851, the company by contract with the government inaugurated a monthly service to Brazil and the river Plate, and new steamers were built which greatly increased the rapidity of transit. This company was therefore the first to institute direct mail communication by steamer between Europe and the countries of South America, as it had also been with the West Indies. The company’s vessels were employed continuously during the Crimean War in the transport of troops. It is interesting to note that it was from one of the company’s ships, the “Trent,” that Slidell and Mason, the commissioners of the Confederate states, were taken on their way to Europe by a United States man-of-war. In 1872 the service to Brazil and the River Plate was doubled. At the beginning of the 20th century the company seemed to be on the downward grade. But a change came over its fortunes. new chairman, Sir Owen Philipps, took over the reins and new enterprises were started in several directions. The interest of the Pacific Steam Navigation Company in the Orient-Pacific Line to Australia was purchased in January 1906, and steamers despatched once a month from London to Australia through the Suez Canal. This enterprise, however, was discontinued when the new mail contract came into force in May 1909. New twin-screw steamships of much greater tonnage than any they had hithertofore owned were constructed for the mail service to South America, and an extension was made into the tourist and cargo trade to Morocco, Madeira and the Canary Islands by the purchase of the old-established Forwood Line. Part of the fleet of the Shire Line to the Far East was also acquired. But the great development took place at the beginning of 1910, when the directors made the startling announcement that they had purchased the whole of the share capital of the Pacific Steam Navigation Company—a business established in Liverpool only a year after the grant of their own royal charter. This absorption brought some forty ships—many of them modern twin-screw steamships of a high class—into the fleet, which was then placed amongst the big lines of the world. Another move was made when Sir Owen Philipps joined Lord Pirrie in organizing a company to take over the numerous enterprises of Sir Alfred Jones. The West India Line steamers leave Southampton for the West Indies every fort- night, and after calling at Cherbourg proceed direct to Barbadoes, thence to Jamaica and Colon, whence they proceed to Savanilla and other local ports. From Barbadoes, Trinidad, La Guaira, branch lines run to Demerara and the islands. The Brazil and River Plate Line comprises a fortnightly service of mail steamers to Pernambuco, Bahia, Rio, Montevideo and Buenos Aires. The Shire Line steamers sail to the Far East every fortnight, as do those of the Islands service, whilst the Pacific Line despatches twin-screw passenger steamers and large cargo vessels alternate weeks from Liverpool to South American ports, besides maintaining local services up the West Coast. There are also cargo services to the West Indies and Mexico, and to the River Plate and intermediate ports.
Messageries Maritimes de France.—Originally known as the Messageries Imperiales, this company sprang from a land-transit undertaking. It received its first contract for the conveyance of oversea mails from the French government in 1851. It then extended its services to Italian, Greek, Egyptian and Syrian ports. In the following year it included Salonica in its itinerary. The occurrence of the Crimean War gave an increase to its fleet and a stimulus to its operations. For it was not only given the task of maintaining mail communication with the French forces in the Black Sea, but was largely entrusted by the government with the duty of transporting troops and stores to the seat of war. At that time it was a considerable purchaser of British tonnage. In 1857 it had the French mail contract to Algiers, as well as to the Danube and Black Sea ports, whilst in the same year a new mail contract for a service between Bordeaux and Brazil and the river Plate was granted to it. By this time it had, either afloat or under construction, a fleet of no less than fifty-four steamships of 80,875 tons. In 1 861 further employment was found for its vessels in the conveyance of the mail to India and China. By the year 1875 its fleet embraced 175,000 tons of shipping, and also employed a large number of chartered sailing vessels. It was at that time the largest steam shipping company in the world. It had already ceased to employ British shipbuilders and now constructed its own tonnage in its own yards. The extension of its services to Japan followed, and eventually it put forth branches which served Madagascar, Mauritius and Zanzibar, as well as Australian ports and the French colony of New Caledonia. Some of the steamers employed in the mail services to the Far East and South are of a very fine character. In 1909 its fleet traversed 1,019,046 marine leagues and carried 197,320 passengers and over a million tons of cargo.
Morgan Combination.—Under the head of the American Line it has been shown how a group of American capitalists acquired the Red Star, Inman and American lines, thus forming a body of shipping which embraced in the year 1901 about 167,000 tons of shipping tonnage, partly under the British and partly under the Belgian and American flags. Another company which drew its capital chiefly from the United States, though its vessels fly the red ensign, is the Atlantic Transport Company, registered under the British Limited Liability Acts in 1889. Its main service is between London and New York, and it is carried on by large and modern twin-screw steamships, several of which have been con- structed by Messrs Harland & Wolff of Belfast. These vessels range up to about 14,000 tons gross register, and though they carry large quantities of cargo and of cattle on the eastward voyage, also accommodate a number of passengers in their saloons. Through the connexion of this undertaking with Messrs Harland & Wolff as builders of their vessels, those American capitalists who were interested in the extension of United States interests on the North Atlantic and who purchased the share capital of the Leyland Line were brought into connexion with Lord Pirrie, the managing director of this ship-building firm, and through him approach was made to the managers ot the White Star Line in the year 1901. An offer for the purchase of this famous British line was put forward by the American syndicate, headed by Mr J. Pierpont Morgan. The managers of the White Star Company had not merely to consider what many experts believed to be a liberal offer. There was another factor in the situation present to their mind. The New York syndicate, besides having the control of the vessels of the American lines on the Atlantic, had, it was said, secured the management of the trunk lines of railway between the great producing districts of the Western states of America and the eastern seaboard. They were thus in a position to give to shippers from the United States the convenience of transit by a through bill of lading to embrace both the railway journey and the ocean voyage, and there was ground for the belief that if competition were allowed to ensue the British steamship companies—which from the nature of things could receive no corresponding support from the railways of the United Kingdom— might suffer very severely. The White Star Line accordingly threw in its lot with the American and Atlantic Transport Companies, and with the White Star Line went the Dominion Company—a line whose fine passenger vessels were constructed by Messrs Harland & Wolff, and whose management is largely influenced by the partners in that firm. The Dominion Line has services from Liverpool to Boston, Portland (Maine), and St Lawrence ports. The Norddeut- scher Lloyd and the Hamburg-American companies were approached by Mr Morgan with a view to their entering into the scheme; but though a working agreement was arranged, the German lines decided to preserve their separate existence. The Morgan combination was eventually incorporated at the end of September 1902 in New Jersey as "The International Mercantile Marine Company," with a capital of $120,000,000; and an agreement was come to with the British government, by which the British character of the British ships in it would be preserved. The combine controls about a million tons of steamships.
Navigazione Generate Italiana.—The union of the Florio and Rubattino lines in the year 1882 was the origin of this company. The Rubattino Line finally made Genoa its headquarters, while the Florio Line centred its business at Palermo, and had itself been largely strengthened by the absorption of the Trinacria Company of its own port. The coasting trade of Italy and Sicily, with services to various ports of the Mediterranean and Black Seas, occupies the great part of the company's fleet. But it also runs monthly lines from Genoa through the Suez Canal to Red Sea ports, and so to India and Hong-Kong. Towards the western ocean it has a service maintained in conjunction with that of another Italian company, La Veloce, to Brazil and the River Plate, whereby weekly departures are made from Genoa. In February 1901 a new line was opened by the sailing of the Italian Generate Company's steam- ship "Liguria"—a new Italian-built vessel of upwards of 5000 tons register—for New York. The object of this line, which is maintained by steamers of the Generate Company, aided by a similar number from the fleet of La Veloce, sailing once a week from Genoa via Naples, is to attempt to retain in Italian hands some of the large traffic which is carried on from these ports in the steamers of the Norddeutscher Lloyd, the Hamburg-American Line, the Cunard and White Star lines.
New Zealand Shipping Company.—This company was established in 1872 for the purpose of maintaining a passenger and cargo service between London and New Zealand. This was before the days when steam vessels could be used with commercial success in the long sea trade. At first it depended on chartered vessels, but gradually it acquired a fleet of fast clipper iron sailing-ships which reduced the voyage to 90 days. These vessels took out a large number of government emigrants between 1874 and 1882. In 1881 one of these ships inaugurated the frozen meat trade from New Zealand, thus opening up a business which has since grown to colossal proportions. The trade increased so rapidly that it was found impossible to conduct it by means of sailing ships, and in January 1883 the company despatched from London the chartered steamship "British King," of 3559 tons. This vessel accomplished the voyage in 50 days, but it was found necessary to diminish the passage to 45 days out and 42 home. Five steamers were therefore built to fulfil the requirements of the trade. The first of these, the "Tongariro," of 4163 tons, left England in October 1883. The company about this time received the contract of the New Zealand government for a monthly mail service, with a guaranteed time .of 45 days. The managers gradually eliminated all the sailing vessels from the fleet, and more recently replaced the original single-screw mail steamers with large modern twin-screws. In addition to passenger vessels the company owns several cargo boats, some of which are among the largest afloat. In the " Otaki " triple-screw vessel, added to the fleet in 1907, the company initiated a combination of reciprocating engines for using the high-pressure steam and turbines to make use of it subsequently. The company's ships sail from London, calling at Plymouth, Teneriffe, Cape Town, Hobart, on the way out, and sometimes at Montevideo or Rio and Teneriffe on the return voyage. Communication with the different ports of New Zealand, as well as to Australian ports, is carried out by the vessels of the Union Steamship Company of New Zealand.
Norddeutscher Lloyd.—To the enterprise of certain citizens in the city of Bremen this large business owes its existence. The originator was Herr H. H. Meier, who brought into line the various shipping interests of Bremen, and induced them to amalgamate into one company. The associations thus brought together were the Weser Haute Steamship Company, the Unter Weser and Ober Weser Steam Tug Companies and the Ober Weser Universal Shipping Insurance Association. The statutes of the new company were approved by the senate of Bremen on the 18th of February 1857. The original capital was 4,000,000 thalers, but soon after the formation of the new company great depression set in, owing to the commercial crisis in North America. More than 2500 shareholders in the Lloyd forfeited their shares, but the directors were not dismayed, and had the loyal support of their fellow citizens. Four big ocean steamers were constructed for the American line and three for the English, and large docks for repairs were established at Bremerhaven. The first voyage was made in June 1858, when the "Bremen" started for New York, carrying many steerage passengers, but only one in the saloon. The second ship, the "Hudson," was shortly afterwards burned while lying in harbour. At the end of the first year both lines showed a loss. At the end of the second year matters improved, the English cattle trade especially showing great progress. But the company still commanded little confidence, for the Darmstadt Bank parted with 1,000,000 thalers' worth of shares at a loss of 75 %. These the directors themselves took over. But the American Civil War now came, to deal another severe blow at the Lloyd, just when its prospects were growing brighter,and till 1864 no dividend greater than 2½% was paid to the shareholders.. After the termination of the war the trade with the United States grew enormously, and the English traffic also revived in a most unexpected way. One result was the foundation of rival lines, which, however, were unable to maintain effective competition, and succumbed. In 1868 a new line was opened. Bremen's staple of commerce is tobacco, and the directors determined to bring their port into direct communication with the tobacco-producing areas in the States; so in that year they inaugurated their line to Baltimore. In the following year a line was started to New Orleans, another great centre of the tobacco and cotton trade. It was necessary to construct three special liners for that service, as the ordinary ships could not pass the bar of the Mississippi. In 1869 a line to Central America and the West Indies was set on foot, and new steamers were ordered to run on it. With the outbreak of the war of 1870 the company naturally had anxious times, as the French fleet blockaded the German coasts ; but its vessels often ran the blockade with success. Soon after the war the West Indian service, proving unprofitable, was given up. In 1875 a new line of steamers to Brazil and Argentina was started. This was separated into two distinct services in 1878. In 1880 the approach of the great struggle for supremacy on the Atlantic made itself felt, and the company began to prepare for the contest, and ordered the con- struction of the " Elbe," the first of its express line of steamers. She commenced running in 1881, and was quickly followed by others. Between 1881 and 1888 an entirely new fleet was placed on the New York line. In 1886 the Australian and East Asian Lines were founded in accordance with a contract with the imperial government. This included a monthly service to China, with a branch service to Japan, and a monthly service to Australia, with a branch line to the Samoan and Tonga Islands. From that time onwards the story of the Norddeutscher Lloyd has been one of increased prosperity. The company's fleet includes four large and fast steamships of about 23 to 235 knots speed for its weekly express service to New York, whilst it has also large vessels—one, the "George Washington," being of 27,000 tons—for its intermediate service to the same port, built by the Vulcan Company at Stettin. The company runs many lines from its headquarters at Bremen; among them are those to New York—a line of express steamers and a line of ordinary mail steamers, all calling at Southampton or Cherbourg; to Baltimore direct; to Galveston direct—there are no first-class passengers by this line; to Brazil; to the River Plate, calling at principal ports on the way. There are also lines of imperial mail steamers between Bremen and Hamburg and eastern Asia, and Bremen and Australia, and a freight line to east Asia, which runs in connexion with the Hamburg-American Line. In pursuance of the German policy of securing the feeders to maintain traffic, the Norddeutscher Lloyd purchased the ships and business of the Kinsing Line and of the Scottish Oriental Company, when it began seriously to develop its Eastern trade. Feeling in common with all large steamship companies the difficulty of providing efficient personnel for its constantly expanding fleet, and believing in the necessity for seamen of experience in masted ships, the Lloyd has provided itself with a sea-going training-ship. Such success attended this experiment that a second vessel has been added and the idea has since commended itself to certain British steamship companies.
Ocean Steamship Company.—The Ocean Steamship Company is the successor of older steamship enterprises, mainly under the same management and ownership. These began in 1852 with the coasting trade, and extended in following years to French ports, and in 1852 to the West Indies. The last-named line attained some moderate importance, comprising seven vessels; it was sold in 1863, and eventually became the West India & Pacific Steamship Company, which in its turn was absorbed by the Leyland Line in 1900. The managers thereupon, seeking other trades, decided on attempting that to China, and the company under its present title was registered as unlimited in 1875. Up to this date low- pressure jet-condensing engines were alone used, burning perhaps 5 to 5i lb of coal per indicated horse-power per hour. This rate of consumption would have been fatal to the scheme, since vessels could not have carried any cargo in addition to the coal necessary for so long a voyage as that via the Cape, the Suez Canal not being opened till 1870. A small vessel, the " Cleator," of which the exact speed and consumption with the old type of engine was well known, was therefore experimentally fitted with new machinery of the compound high-pressure (70 lb), surface-condensing type. The result of the experiment was that her consumption was reduced to about 3 or 3$ lb per i.h.p. per hour, and this warranted the construction of the "Agamemnon," "Ajax" and "Achilles," all 309 ft. long, 38 ft. 6 in. broad, 28 ft. 6 in. deep, fully rigged as barques, with screws outside their rudders. These rigs were subsequently altered to that of barquentines, but the relative positions of the screws and rudders were retained till they were disposed of in 1899. In these vessels the consumption was further reduced to about 25 lb, which allowed margin for a reasonable cargo. The "Agamemnon" sailed from Liverpool in 1866; the itinerary being Mauritius, Penang, Singapore, Hong-Kong and Shanghai, and, with similar calls, back to London. The cargoes in those days were mainly manufactured goods outwards and tea homewards. The average speed was perhaps 9! knots, and the consumption about 21^ tons of Welsh coal per day. These and succeeding steamers were at that date the only vessels carrying high-pressure steam on long voyages, and they traded regularly round the Cape, being the only line that did so. When the Suez Canal was opened in 1870 they changed the route. The trade from the United Kingdom to China has since steadily grown, and increasingly large cargoes are also procurable homewards from the Far East, in spite of the successful competition of Indian and Ceylon teas. In 1891 a service was begun from Amsterdam and Liverpool to Java, and this is maintained about once a fortnight, finding employment for about ten of the smaller ships. The vessels in this trade, which is principally between Holland and her eastern possessions, fly the Dutch flag. A limited number of passengers were formerly carried between England and the East, but these ships now take cargo only to and from Europe, though Mahommedan pilgrims are conveyed in considerable numbers to and from Jeddah, the port for Mecca. The ships generally commence loading at Glasgow, and occasionally at other West Coast ports. They usually carry the greater part of the cargo from Liverpool, the most important element being fine goods (manufactured cottons, &c.) from Lancashire and Yorkshire. Abroad the regular service has been extended to the principal Japan ports—Nagasaki, Kobe and Yokohama, and, as opportunity arises, additional ports of call in China and Korea have been added to its itinerary. The following local services have their headquarters at Singapore: (1) Singapore to West Australian ports, including Fremantle. These steamers carry passengers, and bring large quantities of wool and pearl shell from Australia to Singapore for transshipment to the main line steamers bound for London. (2) Singapore to Deli (Sumatra). Three small steamers bring tobacco from Deli for transshipment to Europe. (3) Singapore and Penang to China. The great emigra- tion of Chinese coolies to the British colony of the Straits Settlements keep several steamers regularly employed. The company is colloquially known in the shipping world as the " Blue Funnel ' Line, and is also often referred to by the name of Mr Alfred Holt, who has been closely identified with it throughout its history. In 1902 the Ocean Company absorbed its younger rival, the China Mutual Steam Navigation Company, with a fleet of thirteen vessels of 106,870 tons, and shortly afterwards re-registered itself under the Limited Liability Acts. The company's most recent develop- ment is in its connexion with Australia. For its direct service thither several 10,000-ton ships fitted with refrigerating apparatus and accommodation for some 300 passengers each are provided.
Orient Line.—The Orient Line of steamers between London and Australia took up the work of the Orient Line of clipper packets, which in the days of sailing-ships used to ply between London and Adelaide. In April 1877 it was announced that " the Orient Line would sail the under-mentioned steamships of the Pacific Steam Navigation Company to Australia." That connexion between the two organizations was continued and strengthened till in 1901 the name of Orient Line was changed to that of Orient-Pacific. In June of 1877 the " Lusitania " was despatched from London to Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney, via the Cape of Good Hope. Other sailings followed at about two-monthly intervals. In the following year the Orient-Pacific Line came into existence. It was formed by the joint efforts of Messrs Anderson, Anderson & Co. and F. Green & Co., who are the managers of the line. When the service was begun it was intended to be run monthly, but the in- crease of traffic soon demonstrated that fortnightly sailings would be successful. This extension was determined on in 1880, the year following that in which the "Orient," the first ship specially built for the company's trade, commenced work. Since 1888 the Orient Company has carried the mails to Australia by contract with the English post office, once a fortnight. These despatches, alternating with those of the P. & O., give Australia a weekly mail. Several twin-screw steamers have been built for this service by both the Orient and the Pacific Companies. The latter company subsequently retired from the partnership, the Royal Mail Company taking its place and purchasing the vessels which it employed. In 1910, however, a new mail contract came into operation, and this was undertaken by the Orient Company alone. The Royal Mail withdrawing its ships, the Orient Company replaced them with a new fleet of 12,000-ton steamers, of which the first five are twin-screws and the sixth is to have three propellers driven by a combination of reciprocating and turbine engines. It was the Orient liner "Ophir" which took the place of a royal yacht for the imperial tour of the Prince and Princess of Wales in 1901. The steamers of the Orient Line call regularly at Plymouth, Gibraltar, Marseilles, Naples, Port Said, Suez, Colombo, Fremantle, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney.
Pacific Steam Navigation Company.—This was the pioneer of the steam-trade along the western coast of South America; subsequently its operations were extended to Europe, and finally, in conjunction with the Orient Steam Navigation Company, it established the Orient Line to Australia, from which it withdrew in 1906. It obtained a charter early in 1840, and soon sent out from England two steam vessels, the "Chili" and "Peru." These were paddle-boats of 710 tons and 198 ft. in length. They ran along the coast from Valparaiso to Panama. The early struggles of this company are noteworthy as showing how difficulties, apparently insuperable, may be overcome, and even turned to essential ad- vantage. The great obstacle to the success of these steamers was the difficulty of obtaining supplies of fuel, and in the first five years of its existence no less than £72,000 was lost, the whole capital of the company being but £94,000. But the difficulties were overcome, and all that remained in the mind of the managers was a strong feeling of the importance of economy in coal consumption. Accordingly, in conjunction with the Fairfield firm of Randolph, Elder & Co., they turned their attention in this direction, and were sending out vessels fitted with compound engines some ten or a dozen years before the Atlantic companies adopted them. In 1867, under pressure from the Chilean government, the company sought and obtained powers to extend its operations, and in the same year the " Pacific," of 1630 tons, was constructed. She left Valparaiso for Liverpool in May 1868, the first of the new mail line. In 1870 the voyage was extended, Callao, 11,000 miles from Liverpool, being made the terminal port, and the sailings were increased from one to three a month. In 1873 a weekly service between Liverpool and Callao was instituted, and by 1874 there was a fleet of fifty-four steamers, with an aggregate of 120,000 tons, in commission. Owing, however, to a great decrease in the South American trade the service was reduced to a fortnightly one. The opening of the Transandine railway was expected to have a great effect on the fortunes of shipping companies in South American waters and consolidation of interests seemed desirable. In 1910 the whole of the company's ordinary capital was purchased by the Royal Mail Company, and the line was thus absorbed. In January 1893 the company inaugurated a monthly cargo service to the Brazils, River Plate and the West Coast. This service has been extended to Glasgow. Many ports are served. The principal are La Pallice, La Rochelle, Corunna, Carril, Vigo, Lisbon, St Vincent, Pernambuco, Bahia, Rio de Janeiro, Monte- video, Buenos Aires, Punta Arenas, and the ports of the western coast of South America, Valparaiso and Callao.
Peninsular & Oriental.— The story of the P. & O. Company may be divided into two eras—the first reaching from its foundation to the opening of the Suez Canal; the second from that date to the present day. During almost the whole of its career the company has acted as the agent of the British government in the conveyance of its mails, first to Mediterranean ports, and afterwards to Egypt, India and the Far East. From time to time the government has made efforts to procure some other means for transmitting its mails, but on every occasion it has found it advisable to return to the P. & O. In 1835 Messrs Willcox & Anderson, a firm of London merchants, began to run steamers to the principal ports of the Peninsula. Their vessels observed greater regularity than the sailing-ships then employed to carry the mails, and the first mail contract was entered into on the 22nd of August 1837. This was awarded to them after another company, which was unable to fulfil its obligations, had been engaged for the work. Messrs Willcox & Anderson had shortly before, in concert with Captain Bourne, R.N., founded the Peninsular Company. This contract arranged for a monthly service between Falmouth and Vigo, Oporto, Lisbon and Gibraltar. About two years later another step was taken. Hitherto the mails to Egypt and India had been conveyed by the Peninsular Company to Gibraltar, by an admiralty packet from Gibraltar to Malta, by another admiralty vessel from Malta to Alexandria, and from Egypt to Bombay by one of the East India Company's steamers. It was resolved to substitute for this unsatisfactory mode of conveyance a direct system of carriage by one line of steamers from London to Alexandria. The Peninsular Company again secured the contract, which was put up to public competition, and built two steamers of 1600 tons for the purpose this being a large tonnage for those days. The annual subsidy was fixed at Â£34,000, by which the government saved Â£10,000 of the amount formerly expended on their own inefficient means of transport. The company then, by a charter of incorporation, dated December 1840, assumed the name by which it has ever since been known— The Peninsular & Oriental Company. The charter was granted only on the onerous condition that steam communication with India should be established within two years. The first steamer, the "Hindostan," was despatched to India via the Cape of Good Hope on the 26th of September 1842. She was one of a small fleet destined to ply between Calcutta, Madras, Ceylon, Aden and Suez. It was an adventurous undertaking, for the East India Company promised no definite subsidy, only a small premium on a certain number of voyages.
The obvious advantages of a direct conveyance of mails between Suez and Bombay by a regular sufficient service were becoming evident, and the P. & O. Company offered to effect this at a great saving on the existing system; but, for some reason or other, the East India Company showed the greatest reluctance to allow the control of this route to pass out of their hands, in which, in fact, it remained until 1854. Fortunately for the P. & O. Company the government decided to establish regular monthly steam com- munication between England and Ceylon, Madras and Calcutta, and also from Ceylon, eastward to Singapore and Hong-Kong. Only the P. & O. could at that time have comtemplated under- taking such a service. In 1844 the contract was signed, and by it the company was to receive a subvention of Â£160,000. The Indian portion of the service opened on the 1st of January 1845, and during that year the extension to China was effected, and nine new steamers were put on the stocks. The organization of the overland route was due to the P. & O. Company, which brought it into regular working in order to convey its passengers from Alexandria to Suez. It was a picturesque but uncomfortable passage by canal-boat and steamer to Cairo, then by a two-wheeled omnibus for ninety miles across the desert to Suez. Even the coal for the boats at Suez had to be transported in this fashion, which was cheaper than sending it by sailing vessel round the Cape. The construction of a railway across the isthmus in 1859 greatly simplified the transit. It may be noted that the company had to establish coaling stations between Suez and the Far East, and also dep6ts of provisions, a business of no less magnitude than that of the steam service itself. In 1852 the first mail service to Australia was undertaken by the company, and the same contract included an arrangement for a fortnightly service to India and China, though a service running once every two months via Singapore and Sydney was thought sufficient for the requirements of Australia. The year 1854 saw the abolition of the East India Company's service to Bombay, the P. & O. taking its place. This arrangement saved the country £80,000 per annum. The Crimean War made large demands on the company's resources for the conveyance of troops, and the Australian service was for a time interrupted. By 1859 the company was in possession of all the lines of steam communication between England and the East. In 1864 the service to Australia was increased to one sailing a month, and in 1868 the Bombay mail left weekly. About the same time the fourth India and China contract was entered into, and at the end of 1869 the opening of the Suez Canal led to a serious crisis in the company's affairs; and also, after these difficulties had been surmounted, to a complete revolution in its methods. The opening of the canal led to a prolonged controversy with the post-office, which, with true official perversity, would not allow the company to use the canal for the conveyance of its mails. A serious falling-off of the company's revenue was the result, as the competition of the canal steamers was killing its trade. At length in 1874 a new arrangement was made by which the mails were to be carried through the canal, the subsidy granted to the company being at the same time reduced. Under these conditions, however, it was now able to construct vessels capable of competing successfully with its rivals. A prolonged dispute between Victoria and New South Wales for a long time prevented the Australian service from being as efficient as it might have been. Sydney insisted on the Pacific route being adopted. In consequence of this controversy the Australian headquarters of the company were for some time fixed at Melbourne, and it was not till 1888 that a general contract was entered into with the postmaster-general, acting at last for all the Australian colonies as well as for the Imperial government. This stipulated for an accelerated service—the India, China and Australian mails being all worked from Aden in connexion with the steamer which conveyed them from Brindisi. There was for long a service between Venice, Brindisi and Egypt, and a mail contract with the Italian government; but this came to an end in March 1900.
The company's first ship, the "William Fawcett," built in 1829, had a gross tonnage of 206 and 60 h.p. Down to 1851 the vessels of the fleet were all constructed with paddles; after that date the screw took their place, though for the Marseilles to Malta express service certain famous fast paddle-steamers were sub- sequently constructed. A later interesting development was the abandonment of Brindisi as a port of call for the ocean mail steamers, which reverted to Marseilles, whence they run across to Port Said direct. The mails leaving London every Friday night are despatched from Brindisi in specially designed twin-screw vessels, which land them at Port Said little more than 96 hours after their despatch from London. On this service the " Osiris " and " Isis " are employed, and they have the distinction of being the only vessels in the mercantile marine which cross the seas with mails and passengers only. The company is under contract with the British government for the conveyance of mails to India, China and Australia. ts services are as follows— India: Brindisi to Bombay, weekly. China; Brindisi to Shanghai, fortnightly. Australia: Brindisi to Sydney, fortnightly. Apart from the mail services, the company runs independent lines to Malta, Colombo and Calcutta; also be- tween Bombay, Colombo, Singapore, Hong-Kong and Shanghai; and between Hong-Kong, Nagasaki, Hiogo and Yokohama. There is likewise a direct fortnightly service of through steamers to China and Japan at special rates. The mails are despatched weekly to Bombay, going one week by direct mail steamer and the next by the fortnightly Australian liner as far as Aden. A fast twin- screw vessel—-the " Salsette "—built after the idea of the " Isis " but of thrice her tonnage—takes the Bombay mails from Aden on the weeks when there is no steamer. For the Indian and Australian mail services a new type of steamer known as the " M " class has been provided. There are already no less than ten such vessels, all twin-screws of similar design, commencing with the "Moldavia," built 1903, of 9500 tons and 14,000 i.h.p. and running up to 12,500 tons and 15,000 i.h.p. in the " Maloja " and " Medina." In 1910 a new service was acquired, the Blue Anchor fleet of Mr Wilhelm Lund being purchased. This gave the company an entry into the South African trade, the Blue Anchor steamers calling at Cape Town and Durban on their way to Australia, and new and larger vessels are being provided for this branch also of the company's activities.
Shaw, Savill & Albion Company.—The amalgamation of the business of Messrs Shaw, Savill & Co. of London and of the Albion Shipping Company of Glasgow brought this company into its present form at the close of the year 1882. At that time the amalgamating firms owned a large fleet of sailing-ships, and traded chiefly between England and New Zealand. Soon, after the amalgamation the company began to acquire steamships, which gradually supplanted their sailing vessels. The Shaw, Savill & Albion Company were among the first in the frozen meat trade, and their vessels are fitted to carry large numbers of carcases. With this company the White Star Line of Liverpool became associated in the year 1884, and five of their ships now run in the fleet of the Shaw, Savill & Albion Company. In June 1910 an offer was made by Sir John Ellerman to take over the fleet, which at that time consisted of six twin-screw and five single-screw steamships with a total of 51,300 tons gross register, a twelfth vessel being under construction. The route to New Zealand is by the Cape of Good Hope on the outward voyage, returning by Cape Horn, thus going completely round the globe every voyage. After leaving London the steamers call at Plymouth, Teneriffe, Cape Town, Hobart and Wellington ; returning from New Zealand, the ports touched are Rio (sometimes Montevideo), Teneriffe, Plymouth, London. The "Arawa," which came out in 1884, made the outward voyage in 38 days, and the run home in 35 days 4 hours steaming time; she thus made the circuit of the world in 73 days 4 hours net time.
Union Steamship Company (see Castle Line).—This company first came into existence in 1853 under the name of the Union Steam Collier Company, with a capital of £60,000. At its commencement it possessed a fleet of five small steamers with an aggregate of only 2337 tons. But by the time these vessels were built the Crimean War was being actively carried on, and it was thought advisable to employ them for other purposes than those for which they were originally intended. They ran for a time between Southampton, Constantinople and Smyrna; but the transport service proved more remunerative, and they were used for the conveyance of troops. At the close of the war the company was registered under the Limited Liability Act by its present name. It was then deter- mined to run the vessels between Southampton and Brazil with cargo, but this did not prove profitable, and in 1857 a notable change took place in the status of the company, for in that year it took its place among the great ocean mail companies of England. In that year a contract was completed with the government for a monthly mail service for five years to the Cape of Good Hope at an annual subsidy of £30,000. The " Dane " was the first steamer to leave Southampton with the mails on the 15th of September. In 1858 the subsidy was increased in order that the company's ships might call at St Helena and Ascension for mails on the homeward voyage. When the first contract expired the company secured another for five years. A service between the Cape and Natal, under a temporary arrangement, was inaugurated in 1862, and a seven years' mail service contract with the Natal government was concluded in 1865. In 1873 the House of Commons refused to ratify a contract which the government had entered into with the company for an extended mail service; the company, however, carried out its intention to extend its service to Zanzibar. But in October 1876 a new mail contract with the Cape of Good Hope government was entered into for a fortnightly service between Plymouth and Table Bay, the length of voyage not to exceed twenty-six days. During the Zulu War this company rendered considerable services to Great Britain. In 1878 three ships were employed, and after Isandula they conveyed reinforcements, the "Pretoria" being the only mail steamer to carry an entire regiment, the 91st Highlanders. It was on this company's s.s. "Danube " that the prince imperial sailed, whilst the old s.s. " German " took out the Empress Eugenie when she went to visit the scene of his death. The direct service with the Cape, Natal and Zanzibar was in 1881 discontinued, and in February of that year operations were extended to the Continent, a service from Hamburg was commenced, running every twenty-eight days, which for a time proved highly successful; A branch service to Antwerp, begun in 1882, was discontinued for a time, but subsequently resumed. At the time of the Panjdeh scare in 1885, when hostilities were threatening with Russia, two of this company's steamships, the " Moor " and the " Mexican "were selected to act as armed cruisers for the defence of South Africa. The former was the only merchant vessel on which the pennant was actually hoisted. In 1889 the company's continental traffic increased so that it not only resumed the despatch of through steamers from Hamburg, but made calls at Rotterdam. This service afterwards became fortnightly, calls being made at Rotter- dam, Antwerp and Hamburg. New contracts with the colonial governments were made in 1888, and in the same year Southampton took the place of Plymouth as the outward mail port, while in 1889 the homeward mails were landed at Southampton in place of Plymouth. In 1889, by the construction of the " Scot," the company acquired a much larger vessel than any they had hitherto employed; in 1895 Messrs Harland & Wolff successfully accomplished the task of lengthening this ship by cutting her in two amidships and adding 54 ft. to her length and 1000 tons to her tonnage. She subsequently was altered to adapt her for public yachting purposes and transferred to the German flag under the name of " Oceana." In 1893 the company entered upon its new policy of building a large number of practically sister ships for its intermediate trade. All were built by Messrs Harland & Wolff, and fitted with twin-screws. The series included ten vessels, commencing with the "Gaul" of 4745 tons, and ending with the "Galician" of 6757 tons launched in 1900. Meanwhile from the same yard the mail steamers " Norman," "Briton" and "Saxon" were added to the fleet. The last-named, which came out in 1899, is a vessel of 12,385 tons, with a length of 570 ft. By a resolution passed at a meeting of shareholders held on the 13th of February 1900, this company was amalgamated with the Castle Line (see below). At its absorption its fleet consisted of twenty-three vessels, of which nine were over 6000 tons.
Union-Castle Line.—This company was formed by the amalgamation of the Union and Castle lines. Previously, though practically all the vessels made their final departure from Southampton, the Union Line only made its headquarters at that port, the Castle liners coming round from London. After amalgamation, the mail steamers—to which cargo is not of so much importance — did not come to the Thames at all, the increase in their size and the neglect of the improvement of the river and of the docks by the authorities making it undesirable that they should do so. The cargo (intermediate) liners, on the other hand, all load in London, and many of them, before their final departure from the Thames, visit Hamburg, Antwerp and Rotterdam, for the purpose of picking up cargo. On these North Sea trips passengers are carried, and facilities are given for their accommodation on board during the calls at the various ports. The new company carries out the contracts of its two constituents and thus despatches every Saturday a mail steamer from Southampton via Madeira to the Cape and Natal. An hour or so before the sailing of the mail boat an intermediate steamer departs from the same port. Her places of call are Teneriffe or Las Palmas for certain, and possibly also Ascension and St Helena. These vessels serve the east coast ports of Algoa Bay and East London as well as Natal. Some of them also go to Delagoa Bay, to Beira on the mainland, and to the island of Mauritius. In 1910 a further extension was made, a monthly service being instituted to East Africa through the Canal. Besides the two weekly vessels, however, there are despatches of extra mid-weekly intermediate steamers, and these extra sailings have recently tended to become more frequent. The company's attention has for some time been directed to the trade between the United States and South Africa, and within two years after amalgamation eight new steamships were constructed with a view to the development of the trade between Cape ports and New York. Nor did the union of the two companies stop the improvement of the general fleet. The 10,000-ton twin-screw mail steamers "Kinfauns Castle" and "Kildonan Castle" were delivered to the Castle Company from the Fairfield yard prior to the amalgamation. Messrs Harland & Wolff had the "Saxon," 2000 tons larger than these ships, well in hand at the time. But the " Walmer Castle," a larger and still later addition to the fleet, embodied as far as possible the practice which from experience commended itself to both the old companies. Subsequent additions to the mail fleet have been the sisters " Armadale Castle "and "Kenil worth Castle, "followed in 19 10 by the "Edinburgh Castle " and the "Balmoral Castle "of 13,300 tons each. Provision is now made for the carriage of the mails exclusively in twin-screw vessels. Meanwhile the intermediate fleet has received several vessels of large dimensions and of comfortable accommodation, though of speed inferior of course to the mail steamers. The company proved its capacity in the South African War, when it carried vast bodies of military and civilian passengers by its regular steamers at a time when many of its vessels were chartered by the government as troopers and storeships. In spite of the strain put on the resources of the company by the heavy work entailed by the South African War, both on the vessels employed in their regular service and on those especially taken up for government transport duty, it was found possible already to discard two of their older vessels. White Star Line.—Though perhaps chiefly known in the New York trade, the White Star flag was first hoisted in the middle of last century over a fleet of clippers which sailed to Australia. In 1867 Mr Thomas Henry Ismay took it over, and two years later the great revolution in the constitution of the company took place. It was in 1869 that Mr Ismay formed the Oceanic Steam Navigation Company to run a line of steamers between Liverpool and New York. Immediately on its formation the company entered into arrangements with Messrs Harland & Wolff of Belfast for the construction of a fleet of high-class passenger ships, and it is worthy of notice that the terms upon which Messrs Harland & Wolff built the White Star ships were peculiar. No definite price was agreed upon, but the actual cost plus a percentage for builders' profit was charged. The first " Oceanic," pioneer steamship of the line, was launched on the 27th of August 1870, and sailed for New York on the 2nd of March 1871. Her advent opened a new era in Atlantic travel. She introduced the midship saloon, which extended the whole width of the ship, thus giving increased light and improved ventilation, and reducing to a minimum the sensation of the vessel's motion. The arrangement thus introduced is now almost universally adopted in the construction of ocean liners. The “Oceanic” was also narrower in proportion to her length than the vessels previously designed for the transatlantic mail service. In 1877 the “Britannic” reduced the passage to 7 days 10 hours and
Fleets of Various Important Steamship Companies in 1891, 1901 and 1910.
|Company.|| No. of|
| No. of|
| No. of|
| No. of|
|International Mercantile Marine Co.|
|White Star Line||31||372,045||British||—||—||—||10||25||212,403||17||16||84,902|
|American Line and Red Star Line||16||164,213||Mixed||—||—||—||15||25||167,105||—||—||—|
|Atlantic Transport Co. .||14||107,650||British||—||—||—||26||17||123,593||32||6||18,111|
|Dominion and British & North|
|Vessels owned jointly with|
|Shaw, Savill & Albion. .||7||51,053||British||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|National S.S. Co.||2||16,005||British||—||—||—||—||3||18,464||—||12||53,522|
|Norddeutscher Lloyd||—||—||German||3||752,037||176||2||II I||454,936||4||70||198,723|
|P. & O. Company .||—||—||British||4||458,037||64||5||58||313,343||3||49||199,911|
|British India S.N. Co.. .||—||—||British||5||423,063||104||4||120||378,770||I||loo||234,654|
|Pacific Steam Navigation Co. .||40||183,234||British||56||377,897||85||32||42||138,754||15||36||73,384|
|Alfred Holt & Co.-Ocean S.S.||.|
|Co.. .. .. .. .||39||234,808||British||16||41||165,143||II||44||109,000|
|China Mutual Steam Naviga-||7||340,559||57|
|tion Co.. .||18||105,751||British|
|Furness, Withy & Co. .||—||—||British||8||340,537||116||—||12||40,994||—||20||44,528|
|Elder, Dempster & Co.||—||—||British||9||331,533||108||3||120||382,560||25||48||55,256|
|Messageries Maritimes. .||—||—||French||11||293,669||65||6||62||246,277||2||63||202,801|
|Nippon Yusen Kaisha. .||—||—||Japanese||12||289,787||73||9||69||218,361||28||52||42,058|
|Ellerman Lines. ... .||—||—||British||13||283,234||78|
|Lamport & Holt .||—||—||British||14||281,412||44||20||47||149,712||12||54||106,648|
|Nav. Gen. Italiana||—||—||Italian||15||274,952||106||II||102||205,104||6||106||164,052|
|Compagnie Generale Trans-atlantique||—||—||French||17||245,353||62||13||59||18 3,343||5||66||174,600|
|Harrison Line of Liverpool. .||—||—||British||18||217,085||43||21||31||146,625||22||27||61,643|
|I Cunard Line||—||—||British||20||209,231||19||25||26||126,332||16||22||85,104|
|Clan Line. .. ... .||—||—||British||21||202,463||49||17||46||164,487||18||29||76,300|
|Canadian Pacific Railway .||—||—||British||22||198,310||65||—||12||38,089||—||7||24,373|
|Hamburg South American Line||—||—||German||23||197,703||49||—||32||125,597||—||26||56,938|
|Kosmos Line. .. .. .||—||—||German||25||177,704||36||—||29||110,251||—||15||32,963|
|Allan Line. .. .. .||—||—||British||26||160,570||28||19||36||152,367||13||31||106,346|
|Ropner's. ... .||—||—||British||27||155,440||50||29||36||100,426||21||34||62,717|
|Maclay & Macintyre||—||—||British||28||144,500||45||24||51||126,917||30||19||26,928|
|Booth Line||—||—||British||30||128,200||37||—||27||6 4,45 6||—||10||13,951|
|Holland-American Line. .||—||—||Dutch||31||124,136||15||—||9||55,413||—||II||37,891|
|Westoll Line. ... .||—||—||British||35||90,174||35||31||38||88,306||27||31||48,298|
|Johnston Line of Liverpool .||—||—||British||37||81,000||20||28||24||100,460||24||22||58,621|
|Compafiia Transatlantica .||—||—||Spanish||38||79,767||22||30||23||88,453||14||36||101,214|
passage. After the year 1888 the company ceased to build single-screw steamers, all later vessels having been constructed on the twin-screw system, of which the superiority had been clearly demonstrated. About this time also the owners of the line became responsible for an important advance in steamship construction which was afterwards imitated by merchant ships of all the great maritime powers. The “Teutonic” and “Majestic,” introduced in 1889 and 1890, were the first merchant ships constructed with a view to their use as possible auxiliaries to the Royal Navy. The former was present, armed with eight quick-firing guns, at the naval inspection by the German emperor in 1889. With the launch of the second “Oceanic” in January 1899 the company's record was still further enhanced. The White Star Line was from 1877 regularly employed under contract with the British government to carry the American mails from Liverpool and Queenstown to New York. Besides this weekly mail and passenger service, a fleet of twin-screw cargo vessels maintained a subsidiary service between Liverpool and New York. These vessels were especially designed for the conveyance of cattle and horses. After 1883 several steamships of the line were employed in the Shaw, Savill & Albion service between London and New Zealand. Three of the company's ships ran in the line of the Occidental & Oriental Company between San Francisco and Yokohama and Hong-Kong. The company inaugurated a service to Australia from Liverpool in 1899. Five ships ran in it (calling at Cape Town) to Albany, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. The ports visited by their vessels in New Zealand will be found detailed under Shaw, Savill & Albion Company. In 1902 the absorption of the White Star fleet and management in the Morgan shipping combine was arranged. Since that time several alterations have taken place. The mail steamers of the line left Liverpool for Southampton in June 1907 and new call at Cherbourg on their way to and from New York. Two services are still maintained between Liverpool and New York—one the old cargo service, and the other a weekly despatch of large passenger and cargo vessels. In addition to these there are two other Atlantic services from Liverpool—one to Boston and the other maintained in conjunction with the Dominion Line to Canadian ports. There is also a line of White Star steamers between New York and the Mediterranean. Several important vessels from other limbs of the combine have been brought under the White Star flag, whilst the company has also practically absorbed the old Aberdeen Line.
Wilson Line.—Thomas Wilson, Sons & Co. is at the present time the largest private ship-owning company in the world. This line traces its origin as far back as 1835. It was founded by Mr Thomas Wilson in conjunction with Messrs Hudson and Becking- ton, and on the retirement of the two last-named gentlemen it acquired its present title. Early in the 'forties the firm was running three steamships to Gothenburg, and was engaged largely in the iron trade, importing large quantities of Swedish and Russian iron, and running a regular line of sailing boats to Swedish ports. It also despatched a regular service to Dunkirk. Steamships gradually superseded the sailing vessels, and new steamers year by year were placed on the Scandinavian service. About this time the firm secured the mail contract between England and Sweden, which it still holds. After the Crimean War it started the St Petersburg, Stettin and Riga trade. During the Franco- German War the trade to Stettin had to be suspended; and as a set-off the service to Trieste was inaugurated, which has developed into an independent Adriatic and Sicilian service. The Norwegian trade was then improved by the despatch of steamships to Bergen, Stavanger and Trondhjem, and subsequently a service of large steamers began running to Constantinople and the Black Sea. After the opening of the Suez Canal the trade to India, which has since assumed such considerable proportions, was inaugurated. In 1875 the firm launched out into a more hardy enterprise, by commencing to run steamers to America. Its vessels in 1902 ran to New York regularly from Hull and the Tyne ports. The original Calcutta trade was discontinued when the New York line was started, but in 1883 a service was established between Hull and Bombay. In 1 891 the firm became a private limited company and in 1894 took over the coasting trade between Hull and New- castle. The company employs a number of large and swift ships in the Norwegian passenger traffic, which in the summer season now reaches very considerable proportions. It has frequent ser- vices of passenger and cargo vessels to the ports of northern Europe, carrying passengers in the season as far north as the North Cape. Of course the winter season necessitates considerable variation of summer services to Baltic ports. In 1903 the fleet of the old- established Hull firm of Messrs Bailey & Leetham was absorbed, and in 1908 that of the North-Eastern Railway Company. There are also steamers leaving Grimsby, Manchester and Liverpool regularly for Scandinavian and Baltic ports; weekly services to Ghent, Liverpool and Newcastle; and services to Mediterranean and Black Sea ports. Besides the New York line there are ocean services to Boston, to New Orleans and the river Plate. There is also a weekly service to and from London and Boston in con- junction with the Furness-Leyland Line.
Conclusion.—The scope of this article will riot allow of any de- tailed reference to many of the important foreign lines which in a complete history should be mentioned. The Hansa Company of Bremen ; the Chargeurs Reunis of Havre ; the Holland-American Line, which has of recent years added to the fleet several fine twin- screw liners, built at the Belfast yard ; the Compania Transatlantica of Barcelona, which performed so great a feat in the transport of troops from Barcelona toCuba in the latter days of Spain's dominion over that island; the Pacific Mail Company of the United States; and many others might be noticed. A whole article might be de- voted to the work of the lines on the North American inland waters, while there are several other English companies which might well claim attention, both from the magnitude of their operations and the extent to which they have developed types of ships suitable for the peculiarities of the trades in which their vessels are engaged. The Clan Line, for example, has largely adopted the turret- decked ship, which is the design of Messrs W. Doxford & Co. of Sunderland. This type of ship is intended to carry large cargoes on a small registered tonnage and a light draught, without paying for it by a sacrifice of weatherly qualities. The same object is aimed at by the design of the trunk steamers built by Messrs Ropner of Stockton. The Isherwood system of construction and the cantilever type of cargo steamer are other devices for attaining the same object. Then there are the tank steamers constructed for the carriage of oil in bulk. Many of these ships are adapted not only for the carriage of oil. but also for its consumption in their furnaces in place of coal. We have already referred to some of the vessels fitted with refrigerating apparatus for the carriage of dead meat, and to the cargo steamers of the Atlantic companies, which are supplied with conveniences for carrying valuable racehorses and cattle. The experience of many years has enabled the owners of some of these lines to exhibit a wonderfully low record of loss, the percentage of deaths at sea to numbers carried being small beyond the dreams of, say, the 'seventies. A tenth of 1% over a somewhat extended period is not an unprecedented average.
The table shows something of the recent growths of companies, and at the same time records some of the amalgamations which have been so frequent. It should be explained that the table does not pretend to be exhaustive. The fleets embraced in it are not necessarily all those whose tonnage reaches above the lower limit shown. There are now a number of lines whose total exceeds 100,000 tons which are not shown in the list. Amongst them may be cited the Hamburg- Pacific Line, the German line to Australia, the Union Company of New Zealand—which contains many small vessels, the Forende Company of Copenhagen and the Anglo-American Oil Company. The table shows how whilst the principal lines are largely increasing their fleets, one or two companies are falling back in their gross amount of tonnage. The figures, moreover, are sub- ject to certain reservations. The count was not necessarily taken by the various companies at the same period of each year. Some of the figures given may include numbers and tonnages of tugs and tenders, while others may exclude them. Again, some of the companies may have returned in their fleets the vessels which they had under construction, whilst others may not have counted them. But none of these considerations can much affect the general significance of the figures shown. The growth in the average size of individual ships is as marked as that of the aggregate tonnage of the companies.
Authorities.—The following books throw much light on the history of the leading steamship lines: History of Merchant Shipping, by W. S. Lindsay (London, Sampson Low & Co.) ; La Navig. comm. au XIX. siècle (Paris, 1901); A. J. Maginnis, The Atlantic Ferry (3rd ed., London, Whittaker & Co.); E. R. Jones, The Shipping World Year-Book; Lloyd's Register of British and Foreign Shipping (published annually). Also see a comprehensive article on this subject in the Quarterly Review for January 1900. Perhaps, the fullest information is, as a rule, to be obtained from the handbooks issued by the companies themselves. (B. W. G.)
- This table is based on that contained in a paper on “Shipping Subsidies,” by B. W. Ginsburg, published in the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society (September 1901).
- The Leyland Line was formerly the Leyland Line and West India & Pacific Steam Navigation Company.
- In 1891 the old American Line had 3 steamers of 10,166 tons; the Inman Line 6 steamers of 41,276 tons; the International Line 4 steamers of 12,112 tons; and the Red Star Line 9 steamers of 39,609 tons.
- Messrs Elder, Dempster & Co. now control the fleets of the African, British & African, and Imperial Direct Steamship companies.
- Formerly the Union Line and the Castle Line. In 1891 the Union Line had 23 steamers of 55,576 tons, and the Castle Line 1 steamers of 57,934 tons.
- Formerly known as the FIorio-Rubattino Line.