American Line

Last updated
American Line
Industry Shipping
Founded1871;150 years ago (1871) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Defunct1932
FateAbsorbed into United States Lines
Headquarters
Philadelphia

The American Line was a shipping company founded in 1871 and based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It began as part of the Pennsylvania Railroad, although the railroad got out of the shipping business soon after founding the company. In 1902, it became part of the International Navigation Co., with the American Line generally handling traffic between the United States ports of Philadelphia and New York City and the British ports of Liverpool and Southampton. Sister company Red Star Line handled traffic between America and the European continent, primarily through Antwerp, Belgium. The company's most prominent president was Clement Griscom, who led the company from 1888 to 1902 and worked as a company executive for its entire existence. During its existence, the company was the largest American shipping company, rivalled only by the smaller, Baltimore-based Atlantic Transport Lines, although this distinction is a marginal one, as all American oceanic shipping concerns were dwarfed by British companies such as the White Star Line or Cunard Line and German ones such as HAPAG.

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American Line 1870s advertisement American Line 1870s advertisement.jpg
American Line 1870s advertisement

The company became much larger when it bought out the Inman Line in 1886. In 1902, Griscom decided to merge his company with several other lines to create the International Mercantile Marine Company. The American name continued to exist under the IMM banner, but it was not until the trust's failure in 1932 that the American pieces of the combine were once again solely under the American flag, this time in the guise of United States Lines.

Ships

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