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The Fleets

American Line / American Steamship Company

Formed in 1872 as the American Steamship Co., Philadelphia and commenced passenger and cargo services to Queenstown and Liverpool, mostly with chartered ships. By 1884 passenger traffic on the North Atlantic had fallen and trade to Philadelphia decreased dramatically and the International Navigation Co. of Philadelphia (Red Star Line) acquired the company. In 1892 an Act of Congress ensured that two large vessels of the British flagged Inman Line (owned by International Navigation Co.) were transferred to the U.S. flag under the title of American Line. The parent company, International Navigation Co. changed it's name in 1902 to International Mercantile Marine Co. and purchased the share capitals of White Star, Dominion, Atlantic Transport and Leyland Lines as well as owning Red Star Line. Services ceased in 1925. Subsequent history of the company is covered by Red Star Line.

Many thanks to Ted Finch for his assistance in collecting this data. The following list was extracted from various sources. This is not an all inclusive list but should only be used as a guide. If you would like to know more about a vessel, visit the Ship Descriptions (onsite) or Immigrant Ship web site.

Routes:

  • 1873-1884 Philadelphia - Queenstown - Liverpool
  • 1892-1925 Philadelphia - Queenstown - Liverpool
  • 1893           New York - Southampton.
  • 1899           calls commenced at Cherbourg both eastwards and westwards.
    (from 1904 regular calls made at Plymouth eastbound en route to Cherbourg & Southampton.)
  • 1902-1925 occasional voyages to other U.S. east coast ports to Europe.
  • 1914           New York - Southampton service withdrawn due to war and New York - Liverpool substituted.
  • 1920           New York - Plymouth - Cherbourg - Southampton resumed but Southampton shortly changed to Hamburg.

Occasional voyages to Mediterranean ports and calls at Queenstown on the New York - Cherbourg & Southampton route from 1910.

Funnel:
1873-1884 Red funnel with narrow white band below black top. On the red a white keystone.
1884-1892 Red funnel with narrow white band below black top. On the red, a white keystone containing a red star.
1892-1925 Black with white band.

Fleet:

1873-1884
1884-1892
1892-1925
Vessel Built Years in Service Tons
Abbotsford 1873 1874 chartered, 1875 wrecked Anglesey; no loss of life. 2,554
Belgenland 1878 1895 - 1903 chartered from Red Star Line 3,692
Berlin 1874 ex- City of Berlin, 1893 purchased from Inman Line renamed Berlin, 1898 sold to US Army renamed Meade. 5,526
Black Arrow 1904 1919-1920 chartered from US Shipping Board for 2 voyages. 6,600
British Crown 1879 1879 chartered from British Shipowners Ltd, 1885 returned to owners. 3,563
British Empire 1878 1878 chartered from British Shipowners Ltd. 1880 returned to owners. 3,361
British King 1881 1881 chartered from British Shipowners Ltd, 1882 returned to owners, 1884 chartered from B.S.L., 1885 charter transferred to Guion Line. 3,559
British Prince 1882 1882 chartered from British Shipowners Ltd, 1894 returned to owners. 3,871
British Princess 1882 1883 chartered from British Shipowners Ltd, 1894 returned to owners. 3,864
British Queen 1881 1881 chartered from British Shipowners Ltd, 1883 returned to owners. 3,558
Celtic 1901 1907 chartered from White Star Line for 2 voyages 20,904
Chester 1893 ex- City of Chester, 1893 purchased from Inman Line renamed Chester, 1898 sold to US Army, renamed Sedgewick 4,791
City of Bristol 1854 1875-1879 chartered from Inman Line for 4 voyages. 2,655
City of Limerick 1855 1875-1878 chartered from Inman Line for 11 voyages. 2,536
City of New York 1865 1876 chartered from Inman Line for 3 voyages 3,523
Dominion 1894 1908-1915 chartered from Dominion Line for 28 voyages. 6,618
Eten 1907 1919 chartered from US Shipping Board for 1 voyage 6,982
Finland 1902 1915-1917 chartered from Red Star Line for 13 voyages,1923 chartered from Red Star for 4 voyages. 12,760
Friesland 1889 1903-1911 chartered from Red Star Line. 7,116
Germanic 1874 1904 chartered from White Star Line for 6 voyages 5,071
Haverford 1901 made many chartered voyages for other companies within group,1925 scrapped. 11,635
Illinois 1874 1898 sold to U.S.Government, renamed Supply 3,386
Indiana 1874 1897 sold to Empire Transportation Co. 3,386
Italia 1889 1899 chartered from Hamburg America Line for 5 voyages. 8,607
Kenilworth 1872 1874-1875 chartered 2,595
Kensington 1894 1903 chartered to Dominion Line, 1910 scrapped. 8,669
Kroonland 1902 1916-1917 chartered from Red Star Line for 9 voyages, 1923 chartered from Red Star for 3 voyages. 12,760
Lord Clive 1871 1875 chartered from Papayanni Line 1888 purchased from Papayanni, 1896 scrapped. 8,607
Lord Gough 1879 1879 chartered from Papayanni Line, 1888 purchased from Papayanni, 1896 sold to Aberdeen Atlantic Line. 3,655
Manchuria 1903 1919-1923 chartered from Pacific Mail SS Co. 13,639
Merion 1901 1914 sold to British Admiralty, disguised to resemble battle ship HMS Tiger, torpedoed and sunk 1915. 11,621
Minnekahda 1917 1920-1925 chartered from Atlantic Transport Line. 17,221
Mongolia 1903 1920-1924 chartered from Pacific Mail SS Co. 13,639
New York 1888 ex- City of New York, 1893 purchased from Inman Line renamed New York, 1898-1899 U.S. Transport Harvard, 1903 rebuilt to 10,798 tons, 1918-1920 U.S. Transport Plattsburg, 1921 sold to Polish Nav. Co. 10,499
Noordland 1883 1901-1908 chartered from Red Star Line. 8,607
Northland 1900 1919 chartered from International Navigation Co. for 4 voyages. 11,905
Ohio 1873 1898 sold to Alaska SS Co. 3,488
Paris 1888 ex- City of Paris, 1893 purchased from Inman Line renamed Paris 1898-1899 U.S. Transport Yale, 1899 rebuilt and renamed Philadelphia, 1918-1920 U.S. Transport Harrisburg, 1922 sold to New York-Naples SS Co. 10,499
Pennland 1870 1895-1901 chartered from Red Star Line. 3,760
Pennsylvania 1873 1898 sold to Alaska SS Co. 3,104
Philadelphia   see Paris. ( picture)  
Rhynland 1879 1895-1903 chartered from Red Star Line. 3,689
Russia 1889 1899 chartered from Hamburg America Line for 2 voyages. 3,908
St. Louis 1895 1918 sold to U.S. Government renamed Louisville. 10,629
St. Paul 1895 1918-1920 U.S. Transport Knoxville, 1923 scrapped. 11,629
Sarmatian 1871 1877-1878 chartered from Allan Line for 3 voyages. 3,647
Sicily 1876 1877-1880 chartered from McIver & Co. for 5 voyages. 1,675
Southwark 1893 1903 transferred to Dominion Line, 1911 scrapped. 8,607
Vaderland 1900 1901 chartered from Red Star Line for 3 voyages. 11,899
Waesland 1867 1895 chartered from Red Star Line, 1902 sunk in collision with s/s HARMONIDES off Anglesey; loss of 2 lives. 4,752
Westernland 1883 1901-1908 chartered from Red Star Line. 5,736
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