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The Fleets

Det Norsk Amerikanske Dampskibsselskab / Norse American Line

Until 1869 passengers destined from Norway to North America invariably travelled either by sailing ship or by steamer with transhipment at Hamburg, Bremen or a British port, the last-mentioned option becoming increasingly popular in that year following the introduction of connecting services across the North Sea by the Anchor and Allan lines.
          see Transmigration via Hull, England from the Continent - (see also, Wilson Line and Feeder Lines)

In 1870, for the first time, there were a few direct steamship sailings from Christiansand, Norway, to New York by Ruger's American Line. Emigration from Norway to the USA was booming and in the same year 1870, Det Norsk - Amerikanske Dampskibsselskab (the Norse American Line) was founded under the presidency of Peter Jebsen to maintain a passenger and cargo service between Bergen and New York.
In the spring of 1872, the Line chartered the steamer Peter Jebsen from Det Norske Lloyd (Norwegian Lloyd), another concern in which Peter Jebsen had a substantial interest.

As a rule, calls were made at London and Newcastle on the homeward voyage to Bergen, and in 1873 there were a number of calls at Christiania (Oslo) in addition. It had become apparent by then that at certain times of the year there was insufficient demand for a high-class service between Norway and the USA. In November 1873, therefore, the KONG SVERRE inaugurated a new service from London to New York via Le Havre. This only met with limited success and, starting in April 1874, sailings were advertised as being from London to New York 'with liberty to call at Christiania and Bergen'. In effect, this was more or less the original arrangement except that a call was no longer made at Newcastle.

By 1874 all North Atlantic lines were feeling the effects of the trade depression that was hitting Europe and America. The Norse American Line was no exception and the New York service was withdrawn following the departure of the KONG SVERRE on 26 July 1874 from Bergen, apart from one sailing in May 1875 by the ST. OLAF and one a month later by the HAKON ADELSTEEN. Few subsequent details are available, but it would appear that there were a limited number of sailings to Philadelphia instead of New York.

Many thanks to Henk Jungerius and Ted Finch for their 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:

  • Bergen-Christiania-New York

Funnel:
Black with red band, narrow blue band and white band.

Fleet:

Vessel Built Years in Service Tons
Harald Haarfager / Harald Haarfagre 1872 built by Backhouse & Dixon, Middlesbrough | 1891 wrecked at Nettegrunden. 2,084
Haakon Adelsteen 1873 built by Backhouse & Dixon, Middlesbrough | 1895 wrecked on Brazilian coast. 1,403
Kong Sverre 1873 built by Backhouse & Dixon, Middlesbrough | 1875 wrecked off Dunkirk harbour. 2,386
St. Olaf / St. Olav 1871 built by Wigham, Richardson & Co., Walker on Tyne | 1880 sold not renamed, 1903 scrapped at Genoa. 1,935
    Chartered Ships  
Vessel Built Years in Service Tons
Fridtjof / Frithjof 1873 built by Bergens Mekaniske Verksteder A/S, Bergen | 1873 chartered from Det Norske Lloyd for 3 round voyages, 1912 scrapped. 932
Peter Jebsen 1872 built by Backhouse & Dixon, Middlesbrough | 1872 chartered from Det Norske Lloyd, 1881 stranded, salvaged and repaired in service for British owner as Romanul, 1898 sold to Italy renamed Nina, 1905 sold renamed Lusitania, 1913 damaged by fire and scrapped. 1,268

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Last updated: January 21, 2006 and maintained by and M. Kohli