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House Flags of U.S. Shipping Companies: A

Last modified: 2014-07-17 by rob raeside
Keywords: united states shipping lines |
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Anchor Line

[Anchor Line]  image by Joe McMillan

Anchor Line (1865-1916)
A Great Lakes company, not to be confused with the British-flag trans-Atlantic line of the same name. Owned by Erie and Western Transportation Company, a subsidiary of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Variants exist, two shown in the 1909 supplement to Flaggenbuch (1905), but all were white with a red anchor, most of them arranged diagonally.
Source: (no longer available)

Joe McMillan, 26 August 2001

Ann Arbor Railroad Company, Ltd.

[Ann Arbor Railroad Co Ltd]  image by Jarig Bakker

Based on Brown (1951).  a blue-bordered white swallowtail with two red letters 'A' and 'A' in a descending diagonal.
Jarig Bakker, 20 July 2004

[Ann Arbor Railroad Co Ltd] image located by Jan Mertens, 29 October 2005

Here is a different image from from a document (invitation to the presentation of the 'Arthur K. Anderson' car ferry) dated 21 May, 1959. No blue border and the company's name written out in full keeping the 'A's, but I've not seen any photos showing this flag in use yet. I haven't looked very hard for this firm's history (in shipping, that is) but the dates were 1892-1982, bankruptcy declared in 1973 and operations being subsidized from that year on till the end.
Jan Mertens, 29 October 2005

Archer Daniels Midland Co (ADM)

I am trying to locate the house flag or the company logos of either Archer Daniels Midland Co (ADM) or its subsidiary company American River Transportation Co (ARTCO).
Peter S, 25 June 2014

From scattered photographs, I get the impression it's a white flag with the company logo. However, I'm unable to make out the specific logo.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 25 June 2014

ARCO Marine Inc. (Atlantic Richfield Oil Co.)

[ARCO Marine Inc. (Atlantic Richfield Oil Co.) houseflag] image by Jarig Bakker, 17 September 2005

ARCO Marine Inc. (Atlantic Richfield Oil Co.), Long Beach, CA white, with the firm's logo.
Source: Loughran (1995)
Jarig Bakker, 17 September 2005

Argonaut Line

[Argonaut Line]  image by Joe McMillan

Argonaut Line, New York (1922-40)
Established in 1922 by John Farrell, son of the president of US Steel and brother of James Farrell of the American South African Line (later to be known as Farrell Lines), to provide intercoastal service, i.e., between the US Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Merged in 1940 with American South African Line under joint direction of the two brothers. The flag is a blue field with a sailor standing in uniform, holding up his hat in his right hand.
Source: National Geographic (1934)

Joe McMillan, 26 August 2001

Associated Transport Co.

[Associated Transport Co.]  image by Joe McMillan

Associated Transport Co., San Francisco
Divided red over blue with a white band from upper hoist to lower fly bearing the company initials in black.
From the 1913 supplement to 1909 update to Flaggenbuch 1905

Atlantic Ocean Transport Co.

[Atlantic Ocean Transport Co.]  image by Joe McMillan

Atlantic Ocean Transport Co, New York

Nothing on this one except the flag, white with a red A and black upper and lower edges.

Source: US Navy's 1961 H.O.

Joe McMillan, 27 August 2001

Atlantic Refining Co.

Atlantic Refining Co, Philadelphia (1866-present)
Now known as Arco, this company has its roots in the Atlantic Petroleum Storage Co, founded in Philadelphia in 1866. Atlantic Petroleum Storage set up the Atlantic Refining Co in 1870. The company was sold to the Standard Oil Trust in 1874 but spun off again in 1911 when Standard Oil was broken up. In 1966, Atlantic merged with Richfield Oil Corporation of Los Angeles to form Atlantic Richfield Corp, which has since been shortened to Arco. I have found two similar flag designs for Atlantic Refining:

Arco flag from Stewart (1953)

[Atlantic Refining Co.]  image by Joe McMillan

A white swallowtailed pennant bordered in blue with a red trapezoid bearing the name "Atlantic" in white.

Arco flag from US Navy's 1961 H.O.

[Atlantic Refining Co.]  image by Joe McMillan

A blue trapezoidal pennant bordered in red with the name in white.

Joe McMillan, 26 August 2001

[American West African Line]   [American West African Line] located by Neale Rosanoski

There seems to be a bit of possibly conflicting information about this company with some sources quoting it as Atlantic Oils Refining Co., probably from the early flag which was white with a red oval ring enclosing the red legend 'THE ATLANTIC REFINING CO.' around the inner of the ring and in the centre the larger blue legend "OILS" [see image A413 above] and this was shown by Brown 1929 to 1943 and the last named linked it to Atlantic Oil Shipping Co. which was formed in 1927 and controlled by The Atlantic Refining Co. until eventually absorbed as noted by Talbot-Booth in 1949. Then in Brown 1951 a slightly different version is
shown the red and blue letters becoming black and red respectively. Talbot-Booth himself does not appear to go along with this early flag and shows nothing for the company with his 1949 Merchant Ships stating that there was no known flag. The Stewart version, shown here, is noted by Loughran (1979) as being adopted from the early flag in the 1950s but his version shows blue letters having the same height on the red panel which narrows slightly [see image A412 above] but not to the same extent as shown by Stewart and he makes no mention of either the Stewart or US Navy versions. Brown 1958 has a bet each way with the letters decreasing very slightly in size and [on my copy anyway] the letters being a mixture of blue and white with, I presume, the printing meant to be blue but not lining up properly. The last few Lloyds drop the "The" from the title which may have no significance.
Neale Rosanoski, 21 January 2004

Atlantic Transport Co. of West Virginia

Second Flag

[Atlantic Transport Co. of West Virginia]  image by Joe McMillan

Last Flag

[Atlantic Transport Co. of West Virginia]  image by Joe McMillan

Atlantic Transport Co. of West Virginia, New York (1882-1934)
I think I have now determined that Atlantic Transport Co was primarily British, but did operate US-flag ships under the ownership of this subsidiary. The first flag (1882-1898) according to the reference book North Atlantic Seaway was blue with five rows of five white stars each. I have not drawn this flag. The second flag, also as described in North Atlantic Seaway, was a blue-white-red horizontal tricolor with six stars on each stripe, white on blue and red and blue on white. National Geographic (1934) shows a flag with two rows of seven stars each on each of the three stripes, with the stars on the blue stripe red instead of white. I have also seen pictures of this flag with staggered rows of seven and six stars.
Joe McMillan
, 28 September 2001

[Atlantic Transport Co. of West Virginia]  [Atlantic Transport Co. of West Virginia] located by Neale Rosanoski

Whilst sources agree with the basic two formats there is plenty of variance in what they portray. Thus for the original flag, which Bonsor in the 'North Atlantic Seaway' describes as blue with 25 white stars, is shown by LJC 1885 and Griffin 1995 as showing 38 stars in staggered rows of 5 and 6 (vertically) [see image A108 above]. This being the same design as the American National Flag canton and Naval Jack, its replacement is not surprising. For the flag shown here as the "Second Flag", it is apparently misinterpreted as Bonsor describes it as being of red-white-blue horizontal stripes and with two rows of 6 stars on each of the stripes. Such a version is shown by Reid Corson with the rows being staggered with the upper close to hoist [see image A418 above]. This version is shown by Lloyds and Brown between 1904 and 1934 except that the stars on the bottom blue band are coloured red. This colouring of red on the blue stripe is followed by the other versions as shown by the 'Last Flag' from National Geographic with its rows of seven, a version which is supported by Reed 1912. Another variance comes from LJC 1909 which has rows of 7 on the white but rows of six on the other stripes. The use of 38 stars on either design could be explained as derived from the American flag operative at the time that the company was originally formed and the variations in number could result from the difficulties in an observer trying to count them from a flapping flag. However these are only possible theories.
Neale Rosanoski, 21 January 2004

"Flags and Funnels of the British and Commonwealth Merchant Fleets" shows this flag with 42 stars.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 8 June 2006

Aymar & Co.

[C. Aymar & Co.]  image by Joe McMillan

A line primarily engaged, as far as I can tell, in the 1850s clipper ship traffic between New York and the California gold fields.  Flag white with nine lozenges oriented horizontally. 

Source:  chart of "Private Signals of the Merchants of New York"

Joe McMillan, 30 August 2000

US shipping lines house flags - 'B' continued