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Bazin (Shipping company, France)

Last modified: 2010-11-13 by ivan sache
Keywords: bazin | perier | gay | letters: bc (blue) | letters: b&p (red) | letters: b&lg (white) |
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History of Bazin

The traders Charles Bazin (1798-1879) and his cousin Auguste were members of a Protestant family of French origin that eventually settled back in Marseilles after having emigrated to Holland and Switzerland. In 1824, Charles, in partnership with Auguste, succeeded his father in trade.
In 1831, the Bazin founded the first steam shipping company in Marseilles (Bazin & Cie), opening a scheduled line between Provence and Italy served by two paddle steamers. The Henri IV, who had inaugurated the Marseilles-Genoa-Civitavecchia-Naples line, ran aground the beach of Orbitello, near Leghorn, on 12 December 1834, with no casualties. Her sister-ship, the Sully was launched on 4 April 1831 and pulled down in 1850.
In 1835, the Bazin line was extended to Malta and Piraeus (Greece), served by the paddle steamer Pharamond. In 1841, the Charlemagne, then the fastest ship in the world, sailed between Marseilles and Algiers in 45 hours. Bazin signed a contract with the French state for the service to Algeria and Tunisia.
On 5 July 1846, the Philippe-Auguste was the first iron ship to sail on the Mediterranean Sea. Maintenance of the ship, that experienced a lot of technical problems, was extremely expensive, so the company sold her in 1854 to the Messageries Impériales in 1854.

In 1846, Bazin set up a partnership with Théophile Périer, the owner the Compagnie de Navigation Théophile Périer since 1836, and the new company was named Bazin & Périer. Lines to Tripoli, Alexandria and Beirut were opened, compensating for the end of the Algerian contract in 1852.
In January 1854, the company merged with the Compagnie Générale de Navigation à Hélice, founded by Léon Gay in 1852, and was renamed Bazin & Léon Gay. Gay brought his ships serving lines in western Mediterranean Sea, to Tangiers, Gibraltar, Mogador and the Canary Islands. The company then purchased bigger ships and opened lines to America and the Far-East. However, two of the three clippers with auxiliary engine bought in 1856 were lost, the Saint-Louis in 1858 in Singapore and the François Ier in 1861 in Chinaa - or Greece, according to certain reports.
Bazin could not adapt to the technical evolution of the second half of the 19th century and sold in 1865 the company to Fraissinet.

The last ship purchased by Bazin was the Amsterdam, whose history is fairly representative of the beginnings of steam shipping. The ship was built in 1836 for Albrecht, sold in 1853 to the Compagnie des Chemins de Fer du Midi (Southern Railways Company), and placed under Spanish ensign as the Francia. Purchased back by Albrecht in December 1853, the ship was sold the next year to the Messageries Impériales. Bazin bought the ship in 1860 and sold her the same year to Garibaldi for the Sicilan fleet. The ship was subsequently incorporated to the new Royal Italian Navy and eventually sold in America, renamed Franklin, and pulled down in 1870.


  • Paul Bois. Armements marseillais - Compagnies de navigation et navires à vapeur (1831-1988), published by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Marseille-Provence [boi03].
  • Pierre Guiral & Felix Reynaud (eds.) Les Marseillais dans l'histoire, published by Privat, Toulouse.

Ivan Sache, 25 January 2004

Bazin & Cie (1831-1846)

[Flag of Bazin & Cie]         [Flag of Bazin & Cie]

House flag of Bazin & Cie, two versions - Images by Ivan Sache, 17 October 2005

P. Bois [boi03] gives two close versions for the house flag of Bazin & Cie. The coloured plate placed in the beginning of the book shows a white flag with a blue triangle on each corner and the blue letters "B C" in the middle; in the company detail on p. 7, the black and white drawing at the end shows an ampersand ("B & "C), which puts the flag in line with the two subsequent flags.

Ivan Sache & Neale Rosanoski, 17 October 2005

Bazin & Périer (1846-1854)

[Flag of Bazin & Perier]

House flag of Bazin & Périer - Image by Ivan Sache, 25 January 2004

P. Bois [boi03] shows the house flag of Bazin & Périer as red with the red letters "B & P" in the middle.

Ivan Sache, 25 January 2004

Bazin & Léon Gay (1854-1865)

[Flag of Bazin & Gay]

House flag of Bazin & Léon Gay - Image by Ivan Sache, 25 January 2004

P. Bois [boi03] shows the house flag of Bazin & Léon Gay as blue with the white letters "B & LG" in the middle.

Ivan Sache, 25 January 2004