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House Flags of U.S. Shipping Companies: A

Last modified: 2003-03-01 by rob raeside
Keywords: united states shipping lines |
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Admiral Line

[Admiral Line]  by Joe McMillan

Admiral Line, Tacoma (1910-38)
From 1920 to 1938, Admiral Line was the largest company in the coastwise trade on the US Pacific Coast. It also conducted a trans-Pacific service from 1917-1922. Admiral Line was a trade name given by Hubbard F. Alexander to various steamship companies he owned and operated out of Tacoma. The Admiral Line flag was based on that of the rival Pacific Coast SS Co, which Alexander bought and merged into the Admiral Line in 1916. To the Pacific Coast SS Co's red cross on a white lozenge, Alexander added an admiral's four white stars on a blue field.
Sources: Wedge (1926), National Geographic (1934)

Joe McMillan, 19 August 2001

Alaska Pacific Steamship Co.

[Alaska Pacific Steamship Co.]  by Joe McMillan

Alaska Pacific Steamship Co., Seattle
Flag blue with a white anchor bendwise sinister on a red shield.
Source: Lloyds 1912)

Joe McMillan, 23 September 2001

Alaska Packers Association

[Alaska Packers Association]  by Joe McMillan

Alaska Packers Association (Source: [ruh09])
Swallowtail with a blue border and diagonal stripes dividing the field into a black hoist and red upper and lower triangles, with a white "A" in the hoist triangle. Talbot-Booth (1937) shows this without the letter A.
Source: 1909 update to Flaggenbuch 1905

Joe McMillan, 23 September 2001

Alaska SS Co

[Alaska SS Co]  by Joe McMillan

Alaska SS Co (1895-1970), Seattle
Principal line within Alaska and between Alaska and rest of US west coast. Subsidiary of Guggenheim copper conglomerate after 1907.
Flag red with a white-bordered black disk bearing a white letter "A."
Sources: Wedge (1926), National Geographic (1934)US Navy's 1961 H.O., Stewart & Styring (1963)

Joe McMillan, 19 August 2001

Alaska Transportation Co.

[Alaska Transportation Co.]  by Joe McMillan

Alaska Transportation Co.
Flag per saltire, white in the hoist and fly, red at the top and blue at the bottom, with the company initials in black across the center.
Source: Brown's Flags and Funnels (1951 edition).

Joe McMillan, 28 September 2001

Alcoa SS Co

[Alcoa SS Co]  by Jorge Candeias

Alcoa SS Co, Pittsburgh (1917-present)
Because of shipping shortages in World War I, Alcoa (formerly the Aluminum Company of America) developed its own shipping line to carry bauxite from its source in what is now Suriname and Guyana to aluminum mills in the United States and elsewhere. At first the line operated under foreign flags. From 1940 to 1969 it operated under the US flag and since then has shifted to flags of convenience. Alcoa Steamship Co appears in the 2001 Lloyd's Maritime Directory as the owner of five Liberian-flagged bulk ore carriers.
The flag before the 1970s was white with three red horizontal stripes, on the center a blue disk with a white cross between four white stars.
Source: US Navy's 1961 H.O.

[Alcoa SS Co]  by Joe McMillan

Subsequently, the line flew a flag bearing the company's new logo, a stylized "A" of red and white triangles on a blue field.
Source: Styring (1971)

Joe McMillan, 19 August 2001

All America Cables & Radio

[All America Cables & Radio]  by Joe McMillan

I have no information on this company other than the flag, blue with a white ring bordered in red and inscribed with the company name.
Source: US Navy's 1961 H.O.

Joe McMillan, 20 August 2001

A webpage on the history of Guantanamo Bay Naval Station at says:

"The Central and South American Cable Company changed its name to All America Cables, Incorporated, on 15 February 1920. On 22 August 1938, it was changed to its present name: All America Cables and Radio, Incorporated. "
There is an All America Cables and Radio corporation headquartered in the Dominican Republic. See its website at

Ned Smith, 21 August 2001

Alsop & Co.

[Alsop & Co.]  by Joe McMillan

Alsop & Co., New York
The family of the journalist brothers Stuart and Joseph Alsop. The firm achieved a certain notoriety in 1851 when the first mate of its China clipper "Challenge" allegedly beat several crewmen to death en route to San Francisco; the master, Robert Waterman, helped the mate to escape before the California authorities could bring him to trial, leading to a wave of mob violence that lasted several days. The flag is parted vertically, blue and red, with a white lozenge overall, similar to the Free French naval jack without the cross of Lorraine.

Source:  chart of "Private Signals of the Merchants of New York"

Joe McMillan, 4 September 2001

American-Asiatic Steamship Co.

[American-Asiatic Steamship Co.]  by Joe McMillan

American-Asiatic Steamship Co., New York
Divided per saltire blue and white with the company initials in red on the white areas and white on the blue.
Source: Lloyds 1912

Joe McMillan, 23 September 2001

American & Cuban Steamship Line

[American & Cuban Steamship Line]  by Joe McMillan

American & Cuban Steamship Line
Blue with a white band from upper hoist to lower fly, and on the center a monogram of the letters "A" and "C."
Source: Talbot-Booth (1937)

Joe McMillan, 23 September 2001

American Banner Lines

[American Banner Lines]  by Joe McMillan

American Banner Lines, New York (1957-60)
This company was a badly timed attempt by Arnold Bernstein to start up a tourist-oriented trans-Atlantic passenger service four months before the beginning of regular passenger jet service. Bernstein, a very successful German-Jewish ship owner, used the same flag.  See National Geographic (1934) for his (non-US) companies in the 1920s and 30s before he was arrested by the Nazis and had his ships confiscated in 1937. He was released owing to his high international profile and emigrated to the US, where he resumed his shipping career. Horizontally divided blue over red with the initials AB in blue on a white lozenge.
Source: US Navy's 1961 H.O.

Joe McMillan, 20 August 2001

American Coal Shipping

[American Coal Shipping]  by Joe McMillan

American Coal Shipping, New York
The flag is a white swallowtail bordered in red and inscribed with the company initials in blue.
Source: US Navy's 1961 H.O.

Joe McMillan, 20 August 2001

American Diamond SS Corp.

[American Diamond SS Corp.]  by Joe McMillan

American Diamond SS Corp.
A subsidiary of Black Diamond SS Corp, using the same flag (black diamond on yellow) but with the initials of the name in the corners.
Talbot-Booth (1937)

Joe McMillan, 24 September 2001

American Export Lines


[American Export Lines]  by Joe McMillan

American Export Lines, New York (1919-62)
AEL was the leading US-flag company between the US east coast and the Mediterranean from 1919 to 1977. It was organized as the Export Steamship Corporation, but the word "American" was added in the 1920s to emphasize its ties to the US. For most of its history, the flag was red with a blue "E" for export on a white vertically oriented lozenge.

Sources: National Geographic (1934)US Navy's 1961 H.O., Stewart (1953)

Joe McMillan, 21 August 2001


[American Export Lines]  by Joe McMillan

American Export Lines (1962 flag) (reconstructed from verbal description in North Atlantic Seaway IV:1577)
AEL was bought by Jakob Isbrandtsen, proprietor of the Isbrandtsen Line, in 1960. The purchase was approved by the US Maritime Administration in 1962, at which point the flag was changed to have the E superimposed on the outline of a globe instead of on a lozenge.

Joe McMillan, 21 August 2001

American Export Isbrandtsen Steamship Co.

[American Export Isbrandtsen]  by Joe McMillan

American Export Isbrandtsen Steamship Co, New York
In 1964, Jakob Isbrandtsen merged AEL with his other properties to form American Export Isbrandtsen, although the AEL name continued to be more commonly used. The flag added the 1962 AEL logo to the lower fly of the old Isbrandtsen flag. After heavy losses and unable to meet crippling debt payments, AEL went into bankruptcy in 1977, with Farrell Lines buying its remaining ships.

Source: Styring (1971)

Joe McMillan, 21 August 2001

American-Hawaiian SS Co.

[American-Hawaiian SS Co.]  by Joe McMillan

American-Hawaiian SS Co. (1899-1956)
Despite the name--and the original focus on the Hawaiian Islands, most of this company's history was spent primarily providing intercoastal (i.e., US Atlantic-to-US Pacific coast) and foreign services. Its owners shifted it away from the islands in 1916 to take advantage of high freight rates in the wartime North Atlantic and lost the confidence of the major sugar planting companies as a result. Captured by the billionaire shipping magnate Daniel K. Ludwig in a hostile takeover in 1955, after which the ships were sold off and the company closed down. Flag simply the white initials A-H on blue.
Sources: Wedge (1926), National Geographic (1934)Stewart & Styring (1963)

Joe McMillan, 20 August 2001

American Mail SS Co

[American Mail SS Co.]  by Joe McMillan

American Mail SS Co (1917-73), Seattle
Service between Seattle and the Far East, begun by H. F. Alexander's Admiral Line under the name of Admiral Oriental Mail Line, in an attempt to diversify beyond the coastwise trade. Taken over by the Dollar family in 1922 and renamed the American Mail Line. Regained independence when the Dollar Line was taken over by the government to prevent its bankruptcy in 1938. Ownership went to American President Lines in 1954; APL merged AML into its own operations in 1973 and ended the use of the AML name. Flag five horizontal stripes of blue-white-red-white-blue, the same as the "C" flag of the International Code of Signals and the reverse of the swallowtailed flag of the old Pacific Mail Line, which the Dollars also took over in the 20s.
Note: Stewart & Styring (1963) shows a different flag, blue with a logo consisting of the five-striped flag on a yellow disk surrounded by a white ring bearing the name of the line.
Sources: National Geographic (1934)Stewart & Styring (1963), US Navy's 1961 H.O.

Joe McMillan, 20 August 2001

American Merchant Line

[American Merchant Line]  by Joe McMillan

This company was created by the US Shipping Board after WWI as a trans-Atlantic freight service. Like the United States Lines, it was sold to Paul W. Chapman in 1929, then repossessed by USSB and resold to International Mercantile Marine in 1931. It was merged into the USL in 1937.

Source: National Geographic (1934)

Joe McMillan, 23 August 2001

American Pacific Line

[American Pacific Line]  by Joe McMillan

American Pacific Line
No information on this except the flag--an inverted red star on a white lozenge on a blue field.

Stewart (1953)

Joe McMillan, 8 September 2001

American Pioneer Lines

[American Pioneer Lines]  by Joe McMillan

White with a green border and green AP monogram
Sources: US Navy's 1961 H.O.

Joe McMillan, 21 August 2001

US shipping lines house flags - 'A' continued