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House Flags of U.S. Shipping Companies: M

Last modified: 2003-03-01 by rob raeside
Keywords: united states shipping lines |
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Josiah Macy & Son

[Josiah Macy & Son]  by Joe McMillan

Josiah Macy & Son, New York
Like the others from this source, a mid-19th century firm. I believe, but am not sure, that the Macys of this company were related in some way to the W. H. Macy who founded the big New York department store. The flag is interesting in that it is identical to the modern ICS signal flag for the letter "A."
Source:  chart of "Private Signals of the Merchants of New York"

Joe McMillan, 26 October 2001

Maine Steamship Co (Portland Line)

[Maine Steamship Co (Portland Line)]  by Joe McMillan

Maine Steamship Co (Portland Line), Portland, Maine <us~messc.gif> (Source: 1909 supplement to [ruh05])
A coastal line serving the northeastern U.S. IIRC, this was one of the companies that was consolidated into the Eastern Steamship Company. The flag was just a white P on red.
1909 update to Flaggenbuch 1905

Joe McMillan, 26 October 2001

Mallory Line (New York & Texas Steamship Co.)

[Mallory Line (New York & Texas Steamship Co.)]  by Joe McMillan

Mallory Line (New York & Texas Steamship Co.), New York (1866-1932)
One of the old family-owned lines in the coastwise trade. As its formal name suggests, the line connected New York with Galveston, Texas, and later expanded with routes to New Orleans, Havana, and Mobile. The company was bought by Charles Morse's short-lived Consolidated Steamship Lines, then was transferred after Morse went bankrupt to the Atlantic, Gulf and West Indies (AGWI) SS Co. AGWI continued to provide service under the Mallory name and flag until 1932, when it combined Mallory's routes with those of the old Clyde Line (also an AGWI subsidiary) under the name of the Clyde-Mallory Line. The flag was a vertical tricolor burgee, white, red, and blue, with a red star in the hoist. As late as 1972, Lloyd's Register of American Yachts showed variations of this flag in use as private signals by Mallory descendants: WBR with blue star in hoist for Philip R. Mallory, RWB with red star in center for H. R. Mallory.
Sources: Lloyds 1912, Wedge (1926), Talbot-Booth (1937)

Joe McMillan, 26 October 2001

Manhanset Line (T. Hogan & Sons)

[Manhanset Line (T. Hogan & Sons)]  by Joe McMillan

Manhanset Line (T. Hogan & Sons), New York
In Lloyds 1912 as North Atlantic Steamship Co (T. Hogan & Sons). No other information except that the flag was a blue-white-blue horizontal triband with a blue H for Hogan.
Source: Reed (1896), Lloyds 1912

Joe McMillan, 26 October 2001

There is a little info on the line at It ran between Bristol and Swansea to New York and Baltimore

Ned Smith, 27 October 2001

Mannesmann Demag Material Handling Corp.

[Mannesmann Demag Material Handling Corp.]  by Jorge Candeias

Blue, with white logo and the word "MANNESMANN", centered. The logo consists of an "M" over a "W" within a ring.

Jorge Candeias, 27 March 2001

Marine Transport Lines

[Marine Transport Lines]  by Joe McMillan

Marine Transport Lines, New York
I can find nothing in my notes about this company, which obviously operated in the post-WWII period. The flag was a red burgee with a white diamond bearing a blue M.
Sources: US Navy's 1961 H.O., Stewart (1953)

Joe McMillan, 26 October 2001

Mason & Thompson

[Mason & Thompson]  by Joe McMillan

Mason & Thompson, New York
Mid 19th century firm. Flag red with a white disk.
Source:  chart of "Private Signals of the Merchants of New York"

Joe McMillan, 29 October 2001

Mathiasen's Tanker Industries

[Mathiasen's Tanker Industries]  by Joe McMillan

Mathiasen's Tanker Industries, Philadelphia
A small independent tanker operator (9 ships totalling 93,000 gross tons as of 1949). Flag red with a white M.
Source: US Navy's 1961 H.O.

Joe McMillan, 29 October 2001

Matson Navigation Co.

[Matson Navigation Co.]  by Joe McMillan

Matson Navigation Co., San Francisco (1901-present)
William Matson was born in Sweden in 1849, went to sea at the age of ten, arrived in New York at 14, and was captain of his first ship by the time he was 21. By 1882, Matson owned his first ship, a schooner that he built and commanded in service between San Francisco and Hawaii, the beginning of a thriving business carrying sugar cargoes from the islands to the mainland. To finance the conversion of his fleet to steam, Matson incorporated the Matson Navigation Company in 1901. At first, Matson faced an uphill struggle against the better-financed American-Hawaiian SS Co., but American-Hawaiian's opportunistic decision to abandon Hawaii in 1916 to pursue profits as a neutral shipper in the wartime North Atlantic set Matson Navigation on its way to dominance of the market, which it has retained ever since. Matson continues to focus on traffic between the US west coast and Hawaii, Guam, and other areas of the mid-Pacific. It currently operates some 17 vessels. The flag is a red swallowtail with seven white stars surrounding a blue M on a white disk.
Source:, US Navy's 1961 H.O.

Joe McMillan, 29 October 2001

O. Mauran

[O. Mauran, New York]  by Joe McMillan

O. Mauran, New York
Another 19th century firm on which I have no other information. Flag a red swallowtail with a white M.
Source: chart of "Private Signals of the Merchants of New York"

Joe McMillan, 29 October 2001

Mayflower SS Corp.

[Mayflower SS Corp.]  by Joe McMillan

Mayflower SS Corp.
No information other than the flag, white with red stripes at the upper and lower edges and a blue M on the center.
Source: Stewart & Styring (1963)

Joe McMillan, 29 October 2001

McCormick Steamship Co.

[McCormick Steamship Co.]  by Joe McMillan

McCormick Steamship Co., San Francisco (1903-1940)
Not to be confused with the better-known Moore & McCormack, this line was a subsidiary of the Charles R. McCormick Lumber Company. In common with other major lumber barons, Charles McCormick saw operating his own shipping line as the key to the profitability of the lumber business. By 1916 he was serving all the major ports on the U.S. Pacific coast. He formally incorporated McCormick steamship in 1921 and continued growing until, in 1925, he moved to buy out the larger and older Pope and Talbot lumber company. The sale went through, but McCormick had tried to grow too fast--by 1928 he was operating a fleet of 45 vessels--and was unable to meet the payments on his debt to the former owners of P&T. So they repossessed not only the former P&T properties but McCormick Steamship as well. Pope and Talbot continued to operate the shipping line under its former name until 1939, when it became the Pope and Talbot Steamship Co. The house flag of McCormick was a white field with a blue star, and thereon a white disk bearing a red M. (I think I have also seen this with a "fat star," but National Geographic (1934) shows it in the usual form.)
Source: National Geographic (1934)

Joe McMillan, 29 October 2001

Mediterranean Steamship Co.

[Mayflower SS Corp.]  by Joe McMillan

Mediterranean Steamship Co., New York
There have been several companies with similar names, but none I have found information on matches this time period. The flag in Flaggenbuch 1905 is a distinctive red flag with two white vertical stripes, forming five equal bands.
Source: Flaggenbuch 1905

Joe McMillan, 29 October 2001

Merchants and Miners Transportation Co.

[Merchants and Miners Transportation Co.]  by Joe McMillan

Merchants and Miners Transportation Co., Baltimore (1852-1948)
Known as M&M, this was one of the largest companies in the Atlantic coastwise service. It was originally founded to connect Baltimore and Boston. After the Civil War it expanded to Providence and as far south as Savannah. By 1929, M&M was operating 18 ships up and down the Atlantic coast, now going all the way to Miami and it continued to grow slowly right up to the start of World War II when its fleet was requisitioned by the government. Rather than renewing the fleet after the war, the shareholders decided to scrap the old ships, forgo buying surplus vessels from the government, and dissolve the company. The flag of M&M was a long, medium-blue burgee with a white lozenge bearing the initials M&MTC.
Sources: Reed (1896), Lloyds 1912, Source:, National Geographic (1934)

Joe McMillan, 29 October 2001

Merchants Express Line

[Merchants Express Line]  by Joe McMillan

Merchants Express Line, New York (ca. 1850s)
The flag was a blue swallowtail with a white disk and a red C for the owner, Randolph M. Cooley.

Joe McMillan, 30 October 2001

Merchants Line for New Orleans

[Merchants Line for New Orleans]  by Joe McMillan

Merchants Line for New Orleans, New York
A interesting white burgee with red triangles at the upper and lower edges and a black M in the hoist.
Source: Manning (1874)

Joe McMillan, 30 October 2001

Merchants Line for Washington

[Merchants Line for Washington]  by Joe McMillan

Merchants Line for Washington, New York
A white flag with blue stripes on the upper and lower edges and the initials M.L. in red.
Source: Manning (1874)

Joe McMillan, 30 October 2001

Metropolitan Coal & Oil Co.

[Metropolitan Coal & Oil Co.]  by Joe McMillan

Metropolitan Coal & Oil Co., Boston
A bunkering company providing fuel to ships at Boston harbor. The flag was a white burgee with a blue and red emblem on the center reading M and "Metropolitan Company."

Joe McMillan, 30 October 2001

Metropolitan Steamship Co.

[Metropolitan Steamship Co.]  by Joe McMillan

Metropolitan Steamship Co., New York (1866-1911)
Metropolitan provided service between Boston and New York and later between San Francisco and Los Angeles. It was taken over by the Wall Street speculator Charles W. Morse in 1905. The Morse shipping empire collapsed two years later leaving Metropolitan in bankruptcy. It was then absorbed into Eastern Steamship Lines in 1911. The flag was similar to that of Merchants Line for Washington, white with blue stripes at the upper and lower edges and the initials of the company, M.S.S.Co., in red.
Source: Reed (1896)

Joe McMillan, 30 October 2001

Mexico Shipping & Trading Co.

[Mexico Shipping & Trading Co.]  by Joe McMillan

Mexico Shipping & Trading Co., New York (ca. 1950)
Flag was five horizontal stripes: red, white, green, white, red. No further information.
Source: Wedge (1951)

Joe McMillan, 31 October 2001

Edward Moltenius

[Edward Moltenius]  by Joe McMillan

Edward Moltenius, New York (ca. 1855)
Flag was red with a black cross. No further information.
Source:  chart of "Private Signals of the Merchants of New York"

Joe McMillan, 31 October 2001

Moore & McCormack Co. (Mooremack)

[Moore & McCormack Co]  by Joe McMillan

Moore & McCormack Co, New York (1913-1982)
Moore-McCormack (also known for short as Mooremack) was one of the leading US-flag carriers to South America and, from 1926 on, the leading US-flag carrier to Scandinavia and the Baltic. The company diversified into land, energy, and natural resources businesses in the 1960s and became Moore-McCormack Resources. Shipping gradually became a sideline. In 1982, United States Lines bought out the shipping subsidiary and merged it into its own operations. The Moore-McCormack flag was green with a white disk bearing a red letter "M". See also Mooremack's Gulf [of Mexico] Line
Source: US Navy's 1961 H.O.

Joe McMillan, 7 September 2001

Mooremack's Gulf [of Mexico] Line

[Mooremack's Gulf [of Mexico] Line]  by Joe McMillan

According to Talbot-Booth (1937), Mooremack's Gulf [of Mexico] Line used the same flag as Moore-McCormack but with a "C" in place of the "M."

Joe McMillan, 31 October 2001

Moran Towing & Transportation

[Moran Towing & Transportation]  by Joe McMillan

Moran Towing & Transportation, New York (1860-present)
Moran is the most important tug and barge company on the U.S. east and Gulf coasts. The company was founded with a single tug in New York harbor in 1860 and now serves 13 ports with 91 tugs and 26 barges. The house flag is dark blue with a large white M, although I have never seen this flag actually flying from any of its tugs--they are instead identified by the white M on their black stacks.
Source: Styring (1971)

Joe McMillan, 31 October 2001

Morgan Steamship Co.

[Morgan Steamship Co.]    [Morgan Steamship Co.]  by Joe McMillan

Morgan Steamship Co., New York
Morgan Line (Southern Pacific SS Co.) (1834-ca. 1942), New York
"Morgan Line" was the trade name for a variety of shipping companies founded by Charles Morgan, who first entered the shipping business by investing in shares of cargoes in 1819. By the 1830s, he no longer owned cargoes but specialized in owning and managing the ships themselves. In 1834, he opened the first scheduled steam service along the US east coast with a line connecting New York and Charleston. By 1838 he had shifted his focus to the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean, steaming among New Orleans, Galveston, and Havana, eventually returning to the New York-to-Gulf business after the American Civil War. In addition to shipping, Morgan owned major interests in railroads in the South and essentially controlled all transportation, including the port facilities, in the Houston-Galveston area. In 1877, he consolidated his diverse holdings into the Louisiana and Texas Railroad and Steamship Company. For a short time after Morgan's death in 1878, his company continued in operation, but in 1882 his heirs sold a controlling interest to Collis P. Huntington of the Southern Pacific Railroad. The Morgan Line thus became a subsidiary of the newly formed holding company, the Southern Pacific Company, but continued to do business under its own name and flag. Over time, however, it increasingly became known as the Southern Pacific Steamship Company, its official title. Early in World War II, Southern Pacific decided to leave the ocean shipping business and, after more than 100 years in business, the Morgan Line passed from the scene. I have found two flags for this company. The first, in the 1905 Flaggenbuch, was white with a red M. The second, in the 1934 National Geographic flags issue, was a blue burgee with a white star bearing a red M.
Sources: Flaggenbuch 1905, National Geographic (1934)

Joe McMillan, 31 October 2001

Munson Steamship Company (Munson Line)

[Munson Steamship Company]  by Joe McMillan

Munson Steamship Company (Munson Line), New York (1899-39)
Walter D. Munson opened a sugar and molasses business in Havana after the American Civil War and first began chartering ships to carry his products to the United States in 1873. In 1882, he relocated his headquarters to New York and bought his first three steamships in 1893 to connect New York with ports in Cuba, the American Gulf coast, and Mexico. He incorporated the Munson Steamship Company, or Munson Line, in 1899. Although he expanded somewhat into the South American market, his main business remained hauling the Cuban sugar harvest to the United States. When the profitability of the sugar trade began to wane, Munson got into financial trouble. Munson attempted to recover by establishing cruise voyages to the Bahamas and Bermuda, but without success. The company was hit hard by the Great Depression. It went into bankruptcy in 1934, had its vessels repossessed in 1938, and was dissolved by its shareholders in 1939. The flag of the Munson Line was a blue burgee with a white M.
Sources: Lloyds 1912, National Geographic (1934), Talbot-Booth (1937)

Joe McMillan, 1 November 2001

Mystic Steamship Company

[Mystic Steamship Company]  by Joe McMillan

Mystic Steamship Company, Boston (later Mystic SS Div of Eastern Gas & Fuel Associates)
I know little about this company. It was a member of the American Steamship Owners' Association, which existed from 1919-1938 and apparently represented the established liner companies on the Atlantic coast. So Mystic was evidently a company of some significance. The flag was a white burgee with a red M.
Sources: National Geographic (1934), Wedge (1951), US Navy's 1961 H.O.

Joe McMillan, 1 November 2001

A brief entry with some historical detail on this line can be found at

"...the Mystic Steamship fleet -- commercially known as the Boston Tow Boat Company -- ....The Mystic Steamship Company can trace its roots to the Boston Tow Boat Company, which had been founded by Boston's maritime executives to assure salvage, icebreaking, and ship towing services in 1854."

"The Mystic Steamship Company operated coal-carrying colliers and coal barges to transport coal from railroad piers in New York Harbor, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Newport News. This coal was used as a fuel, and as the raw material to make lamp gas from coal and coke. Later, Boston Towboat was operated by Eastern Enterprises, owners of Boston Gas and various maritime operations, which is active to this day as Eastern Enterprises."

Ned Smith, 2 November 2001