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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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American Scantic Line

[American Scantic Line]  by Joe McMillan

American Scantic Line, New York
One of the nicer house flags: A green field with a large white square bearing a red cross. The green, white, and red colors apparently come from the parent company, Moore & McCormack. American Scantic Line (like many other lines of similar American ------ Line nomenclature) was one of a number of companies set up by the U.S. Shipping Board to revive the merchant marine after World War I. American Scantic was the line serving Scandinavia and the Baltic, an area in which Moore & McCormack was already well established when it bought American Scantic in 1927. It is not clear how long the flag survived; Talbot-Booth records that shown (which matches the description in "The Atlantic Seaway") in 1937, but in 1934 National Geographic had already shown the flag of Moore-McCormack itself as that for the American Scantic Line.

Source: E. C. Talbot-Booth, House Flags and Funnels of British and Foreign Shipping Companies. NY & London: D. Appleton-Century, 1937

Joe McMillan, 7 September 2001

American Steamship Co. (American Line)

The American Steamship Company, known as the American Line, was established by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1873 to attract traffic to Philadelphia away from the New York terminals of its archrival, the New York Central Railroad. It operated under several different ownerships until about 1925.

First Flag (1873-84)

 [American Line]  by Joe McMillan

First Flag (1873-84) A red burgee with a white keystone, which was the trademark of the railroad. It derives in turn from Pennsylvania's nickname as the "Keystone State" and is a widely used symbol of the state.

(Source: description in North Atlantic Seaway III:920)

Joe McMillan, 22 August 2001

Second Flag (1884-93)

[American Line]  by Joe McMillan

Second Flag (1884-93)
A red star was added to the keystone after the company was sold to the Red Star Line, the Belgian-flag subsidiary of the US holding company International Navigation.

(Source: description in North Atlantic Seaway III:920; I have also seen this flag depicted on American Line china)

Joe McMillan, 22 August 2001

Variant Second Flag (1880s)

[American Line]  by Joe McMillan

Variant Second Flag (1880s)
An 1880s poster advertising American Line service from Philadelphia to Liverpool shows this same flag with a blue field.

(Source: John and Alice Durant, Pictorial History of American Ships (New York: A. S. Barnes, 1953), p. 192)

Joe McMillan, 22 August 2001

Third Flag (after 1893)

[American Line]  by Joe McMillan

Third Flag (after 1893)
Finally, the blue eagle on white was adopted when the Red Star Line passed into the ownership of J. P. Morgan's International Mercantile Marine. The IMM revived this flag for the United States Lines when it acquired that company in 1931.

(Sources: [wed26], (click on St. Paul))

Joe McMillan, 22 August 2001

American West African Line

[American West African Line]  by Joe McMillan

A red-bordered blue swallowtail with a white A. No other information on the company.
Source: Wedge (1951)

Joe McMillan, 12 October 2001

Amoco Corporation (1899 to present)

Amoco has its origins in the Standard Oil Company (Indiana), a subsidiary of John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Trust. When the trust was broken up in 1911, it became the Standard Oil Company of Indiana. In 1918 the company adopted red, white and blue as the corporate colors and in 1926 the torch as its principal trademark. (Corporate headquarters in Chicago; ships registered in New York.)
(Information on history of logos from )

1932 flag

[Amoco Corporation]  by Joe McMillan

In 1910, a group in Baltimore formed the American Oil Company, which came under the partial ownership of Standard (Indiana) in 1923. However, the new owners did not require Amoco (as it was called for short) to give up its existing identity, and in 1932 Amoco adopted a red, white, and black oval with the word "Amoco" across the center as its trademark.

Source: US Navy's 1961 H.O.,

Joe McMillan, 25 August 2001

See also:

  • Pan American Petroleum & Transport Co (In 1925, Standard (Indiana) purchased the Pan American Petroleum and Transport Company, which continued to operate under its own name. Pan Am operated as a subsidiary under its own name as Standard's main transportation arm. Only in 1954 was it subsumed into Standard's corporate identity.)

1946 flag

[Amoco Corporation]  by Joe McMillan

Standard adopted a combination of American's oval and its own torch as a logo in 1946, but American continued using the logo without the torch until 1960. In that year, all assets of Standard (Indiana) were transferred to American and the company officially became Amoco. British Petroleum recently bought out Amoco and has indicated its intention to end Amoco's separate identity, and the torch and oval emblem, within the next few years.
Source: Stewart & Styring (1963), Styring (1971)

Joe McMillan, 25 August 2001

APL, Inc. (formerly American President Lines)

[APL, Inc.]  by Joe McMillan

APL, Inc. (formerly American President Lines) (1938-), San Francisco

Formed by the US Maritime Commission in 1938 to head off the impending bankruptcy of the Dollar Line, the leading carrier between the US west coast and Asia. The flag, red with a white eagle and a white star in each corner, was intended to continue the use of the Dollar Line's red and white colors while evoking the US Presidential flag, which at the time was blue with an eagle and four white stars. The unusually long proportions are as shown on the APL website. American President Lines officially changed its name to APL, Inc., several years ago and is now a subsidiary of NOL (formerly Neptune Orient Lines) of Singapore.

Source: Stewart (1953),

Joe McMillan, 25 August 2001

American SS Co

[American SS Co]  by Joe McMillan

American SS Co, Boston (1863-67)

Company founded during the Civil War but did not begin operations until hostilities were over; an effort to draw some of the trans-Atlantic traffic away from New York and restore Boston's stature as a major center of the oceanic trade. It didn't work; the firm was undercapitalized and ran out of money before it even got a second ship into operation. House flag was a white pennant with a red border and the company initials in red.

(Source: description in North Atlantic Seaway II:1075)

American Trading & Production Corp

[American Trading & Production Corp]  by Joe McMillan

American Trading & Production Corp, New York

No information except the flag: divided diagonally white over red, with red and blue upper and lower edges and the letters A in blue and T in white on the two halves of the field.

Sources: US Navy's 1961 H.O., Stewart & Styring (1963), Styring (1971)

Joe McMillan, 26 August 2001

American Union Transport

[American Union Transport]  by Joe McMillan

American Union Transport, New York
No information except the flag, blue with red upper and lower edges and the initials AUT.
Sources: US Navy's 1961 H.O., Stewart & Styring (1963)

Joe McMillan, 26 August 2001

Anchor Line

[Anchor Line]  by Joe McMillan

Anchor Line (1865-1916)
A Great Lakes company, not to be confused with the British-flag trans-Atlantic line of the same name. Owned by Erie and Western Transportation Company, a subsidiary of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Variants exist, two shown in the 1909 supplement to Flaggenbuch (1905), but all were white with a red anchor, most of them arranged diagonally.

Joe McMillan, 26 August 2001

Argonaut Line

[Argonaut Line]  by Joe McMillan

Argonaut Line, New York (1922-40)
Established in 1922 by John Farrell, son of the president of US Steel and brother of James Farrell of the American South African Line (later to be known as Farrell Lines), to provide intercoastal service, i.e., between the US Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Merged in 1940 with American South African Line under joint direction of the two brothers. The flag is a blue field with a sailor standing in uniform, holding up his hat in his right hand.
Source: National Geographic (1934)

Joe McMillan, 26 August 2001

Associated Transport Co.

[Associated Transport Co.]  by Joe McMillan

Associated Transport Co., San Francisco
Divided red over blue with a white band from upper hoist to lower fly bearing the company initials in black.
From the 1913 supplement to 1909 update to Flaggenbuch 1905

Atlantic Ocean Transport Co.

[Atlantic Ocean Transport Co.]  by Joe McMillan

Atlantic Ocean Transport Co, New York

Nothing on this one except the flag, white with a red A and black upper and lower edges.

Source: US Navy's 1961 H.O.

Joe McMillan, 27 August 2001

Atlantic Refining Co.

Atlantic Refining Co, Philadelphia (1866-present)
Now known as Arco, this company has its roots in the Atlantic Petroleum Storage Co, founded in Philadelphia in 1866. Atlantic Petroleum Storage set up the Atlantic Refining Co in 1870. The company was sold to the Standard Oil Trust in 1874 but spun off again in 1911 when Standard Oil was broken up. In 1966, Atlantic merged with Richfield Oil Corporation of Los Angeles to form Atlantic Richfield Corp, which has since been shortened to Arco. I have found two similar flag designs for Atlantic Refining:

Arco flag from Stewart (1953)

[Atlantic Refining Co.]  by Joe McMillan

A white swallowtailed pennant bordered in blue with a red trapezoid bearing the name "Atlantic" in white.

Arco flag from US Navy's 1961 H.O.

[Atlantic Refining Co.]  by Joe McMillan

A blue trapezoidal pennant bordered in red with the name in white.

Joe McMillan, 26 August 2001

Atlantic Transport Co. of West Virginia

Second Flag

[Atlantic Transport Co. of West Virginia]  by Joe McMillan

Last Flag

[Atlantic Transport Co. of West Virginia]  by Joe McMillan

Atlantic Transport Co. of West Virginia, New York (1882-1934)
I think I have now determined that Atlantic Transport Co was primarily British, but did operate US-flag ships under the ownership of this subsidiary. The first flag (1882-1898) according to the reference book North Atlantic Seaway was blue with five rows of five white stars each. I have not giffed this flag. The second flag, also as described in North Atlantic Seaway, was a blue-white-red horizontal tricolor with six stars on each stripe, white on blue and red and blue on white. National Geographic (1934) shows a flag with two rows of seven stars each on each of the three stripes, with the stars on the blue stripe red instead of white. I have also seen pictures of this flag with staggered rows of seven and six stars.

Joe McMillan, 28 September 2001

Aymar & Co.

[C. Aymar & Co.]  by Joe McMillan

A line primarily engaged, as far as I can tell, in the 1850s clipper ship traffic between New York and the California gold fields.  Flag white with nine lozenges oriented horizontally. 

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

Joe McMillan, 30 August 2000