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House Flags of U.S. Shipping Companies: R

Last modified: 2003-03-01 by rob raeside
Keywords: united states shipping lines |
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Red D Line (Atlantic and Caribbean Steam Navigation Co.)

[Red D Line]  by Joe McMillan

Red D Line (Atlantic and Caribbean Steam Navigation Co), Philadelphia (1838-1938)
The Red D Line was the main transportation link between the United States and Venezuela for 100 years. The company took its trade name from the red D on its white flag, which stood for (John) Dallett, a Philadelphia merchant who went to Venezuela in 1823 soon after the country gained its independence from Spain. There he went into business with the influential merchant John Boulton. Dallett returned to Philadelphia and set up a business shipping cargoes to Boulton, and in 1838 began chartering sailing vessels to carry his merchandise. The company built an excellent relationship with the Venezuelan government and business community, but eventually decided to get out of the shipping business when the 1936 Merchant Marine Act terminated the system of mail contracts under which shipping companies had been subsidized. The company was sold to the Grace Line in 1937, which then merged the Venezuelan operations into Grace's overall service to South America. According to Pedraja's Historical Dictionary, the loss of the special relationship with Red D was instrumental in prompting the Venezuelan government to establish its own merchant fleet.
Sources: Lloyds 1912, Wedge (1926), National Geographic (1934), Talbot-Booth (1937)

Joe McMillan, 17 November 2001

The Atlantic and Caribbean Steam Navigation Co. was a  successor to Bliss Dallett & Co. and was taken over by Grace in the late 1930's.  It relocated from Philadelphia to New York City as Philadelphia lost importance as a port

anon., 18 February 2003

Red Star Packet Line

[Red Star Packet Line]  by Joe McMillan

Red Star Packet Line, New York (1821-?)
This was another of the many sail packet lines between New York and Liverpool that were established in the 1820s, many of which were named after the designs of their house flags. The line was operated by the New York firm of Byrnes, Trimble & Co. Although its flag was virtually identical--a white burgee with a red star--this company was, as far as I can tell, completely unrelated to the Belgian-flagged Red Star Line of 1872-1937.

Joe McMillan, 17 November 2001

Richfield Oil Corporation

Richfield Oil Corporation, Los Angeles (1905-1966)
This company was founded in 1905 and named after a oil production plant at Richfield Station in Orange County, California. It eventually grew to cover the west coast and expanded by setting up marketing in the east as well. However, the Great Depression hit the company hard and it was in receivership for many years. In the late 1950s, its fortunes were restored when it hit the first commercial oil well in Alaska. From that point, its shipping fleet was mainly engaged in carrying crude from Alaska to refineries in California. In 1966, Richfield merged with Atlantic Refining Co. of Philadelphia to become Atlantic Richfield, subsequently shortened to Arco. In 1999, Arco merged with BP Amoco. I have found three flags for Richfield:

[Richfield Oil Corporation]  by Joe McMillan

Source: Wedge (1951): Blue with a yellow shield bearing a blue R.

[Richfield Oil Corporation]  by Joe McMillan

Source: Stewart (1953): Blue with a white shield of different design, also bearing a blue R.

[Richfield Oil Corporation]  by Joe McMillan

Source: US Navy's 1961 H.O.: Blue with a yellow shield of yet a third design, showing a flying eagle atop a globe, with a white scroll inscribed "Richfield."

Given that Richfield's corporate colors were always blue and yellow, I suspect that the white in Stewart (1953) is an error. Also, early advertisements for Richfield show the shield with eagle trademark using a shield more like that in Stewart (1953) than in Wedge (1951), so it is possible that the correct flag for the early 50s would have a shield in the color of Wedge (1951) but the shape of Stewart (1953). Nevertheless, I have followed my sources.

Joe McMillan, 17 November 2001

Rio Caribea Co. (Starboard Shipping Co.)

[Rio Caribea Co.]  by Joe McMillan

Rio Caribea Co. (Starboard Shipping Co.), New York
No information on this company. The flag was a red over blue burgee with a stylized white S.
Source: US Navy's 1961 H.O.

Joe McMillan, 18 November 2001

Robin Line (Seas Shipping Company)

[Robin Line ]      [Robin Line ]  by Joe McMillan

Robin Line (Seas Shipping Company), New York (1920-1957)
The Robin Line (so called because all its ships' names began with the word "Robin", was established in 1920 as an intercoastal supplement to the Farrell Line. However, the Lewis family, which held the majority share in Robin, and the Farrell family had a falling out in 1933, and after that the two companies became rivals instead of partners, with Robin entering what had previously been an exclusive Farrell preserve--the Africa trade--in 1935. The two remained bitter competitors until Arthur W. Lewis, Jr., the second president of the company, died in 1954, and his heirs sold out to Moore-McCormack Co. three years later. I have found two flags for this company:
Source: Wedge (1951): Blue with a white lozenge bearing a red R.
Source: Stewart (1953): Blue with a white oval in the hoist, with a stylized wing going out toward the fly, and a red R on the oval.

Joe McMillan, 18 November 2001