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House Flags of U.S. Shipping Companies: I

Last modified: 2003-03-01 by rob raeside
Keywords: united states shipping lines |
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Inland Navigation Co.

[Inland Navigation Co.]  by Joe McMillan

Inland Navigation Co., Seattle
A regional carrier in the Puget Sound area in the early 20th century. I believe this was one of the lines amalgamated by H. F. Alexander into the Admiral Line, This was also known as the International Steamship Co and the Tacoma-Seattle-Everett Route. The flag was blue with a red star on a large white lozenge.
Source: Lloyds 1912

Joe McMillan, 23 October 2001

Interisland Steam Navigation Co.

[Interisland Steam Navigation Co.]  by Joe McMillan

Interisland Steam Navigation Co.
The islands referred to were the Hawaiian Islands, which Interisland served with about a dozen ships, peaking in the 1920s. Flag was a RWB horizontal tricolor with a red disk on the center.
Sources:, Reed (1896), Talbot-Booth (1937)

Joe McMillan, 23 October 2001

Interlake Steamship Co.

[Interlake Steamship Co.]  by Joe McMillan

A major Great Lakes carrier, formed not long ago by amalgamating various older companies. It is a vertical tricolor, dark orange-red, white, and blue, with an outline map of the Great Lakes overall superimposed on the funnel of the ships.

Joe McMillan, 23 October 2001

In February of 1883, Civil War veteran Colonel James Pickands and Samuel Livingston Mather founded Pickands Mather for the purpose of mining iron ore from Minnesota's Mesabi range and Michigan's upper peninsula and delivering it by ship to Cleveland, Chicago and other Great Lakes ports.

Twenty years later, when some of the fiercest storms swept across the Great Lakes in 1913, four separate Pickands Mather operated fleets merged to form the Interlake Steamship Company.

What started with a 13/20ths interest in the 1700-ton Steamer, V. H. Ketchum has grown into a fleet that includes the largest ship on the Great Lakes, the M. V. Paul R. Tregurtha at 1013.5 feet in length.


Phil Nelson, 27 August 2000

Isbrandtsen Steamship Co.

[Interlake Steamship Co.]  by Joe McMillan

Isbrandtsen Company was established by Hans Isbrandtsen after the breakup of ISMOLCO, his joint venture with his cousin A. P. Mo/ller, the shipping magnate who formed the great Maersk Line. Isbrandtsen Co. traded mainly with the Far East. This first flag of the company was a white swallowtail with a red cross, the first quarter blue with a white star. I have seen a flag, which may have been that of ISMOLCO, that is of this same basic design but with the canton in light blue and the star having seven points--a seven-pointed star on light blue being the Maersk (Mo/ller) house flag. Hans's son Jacob took over the company in 1953 and bought American Export Lines in 1960 to form American Export Isbrandtsen.
Source: Stewart (1953)

Joe McMillan, 23 October 2001

[Isbrandtsen Steamship Co.]  by Joe McMillan

Isbrandtsen Steamship Co. (1939-1962), New York
Hans Isbrandtsen, a cousin of Denmark's famous Arnold P. Mller, established the Isbrandtsen SS Co in 1939 to serve ports not already served by a joint venture, ISMOLCO, that he ran with his cousin. His son Jakob took over after Hans's death in 1953. The flag was blue with a large canton containing a swallowtailed white flag with a red cross, with the first quarter of that flag blue with a white star.  In 1964, Jakob Isbrandtsen merged American Export Lines with his other properties to form American Export Isbrandtsen.

Sources: US Navy's 1961 H.O., Stewart (1953), Stewart & Styring (1963)

Joe McMillan, 21 August 2001

Isthmian Steamship Co.

[Isthmian Steamship Co.]  by Joe McMillan

Isthmian Steamship Co., New York (1910-1960s)
Isthmian was created by US Steel, originally under the UK flag, to carry the company's products to non-US markets. The ships were transferred to US registry at the outbreak of WWI in an effort to keep them from being requisitioned by the British government or attacked by German commerce raiders. It was quite a sizable operation at its peak, with 85 ships in operation as of 1949, but the evolution of the shipping industry soon made it more profitable for US Steel to contract out its shipping rather than doing it in-house. The line was sold to the States Marine Corporation in 1956, which maintained Isthmian's identity and flag until late 1960s.
Sources: Wedge (1926), Stewart (1953)

Joe McMillan, 23 October 2001