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House Flags of U.S. Shipping Companies: M

Last modified: 2005-03-19 by rob raeside
Keywords: united states shipping lines |
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McCormick Steamship Co.

[McCormick Steamship Co.]  by Joe McMillan

McCormick Steamship Co., San Francisco (1903-1940)
Not to be confused with the better-known Moore & McCormack, this line was a subsidiary of the Charles R. McCormick Lumber Company. In common with other major lumber barons, Charles McCormick saw operating his own shipping line as the key to the profitability of the lumber business. By 1916 he was serving all the major ports on the U.S. Pacific coast. He formally incorporated McCormick steamship in 1921 and continued growing until, in 1925, he moved to buy out the larger and older Pope and Talbot lumber company. The sale went through, but McCormick had tried to grow too fast--by 1928 he was operating a fleet of 45 vessels--and was unable to meet the payments on his debt to the former owners of P&T. So they repossessed not only the former P&T properties but McCormick Steamship as well. Pope and Talbot continued to operate the shipping line under its former name until 1939, when it became the Pope and Talbot Steamship Co. The house flag of McCormick was a white field with a blue star, and thereon a white disk bearing a red M. (I think I have also seen this with a "fat star," but National Geographic (1934) shows it in the usual form.)
Source: National Geographic (1934)

Joe McMillan, 29 October 2001

Merchants and Miners Transportation Co.

[Merchants and Miners Transportation Co.]  by Joe McMillan

Merchants and Miners Transportation Co., Baltimore (1852-1948)
Known as M&M, this was one of the largest companies in the Atlantic coastwise service. It was originally founded to connect Baltimore and Boston. After the Civil War it expanded to Providence and as far south as Savannah. By 1929, M&M was operating 18 ships up and down the Atlantic coast, now going all the way to Miami and it continued to grow slowly right up to the start of World War II when its fleet was requisitioned by the government. Rather than renewing the fleet after the war, the shareholders decided to scrap the old ships, forgo buying surplus vessels from the government, and dissolve the company. The flag of M&M was a long, medium-blue burgee with a white lozenge bearing the initials M&MTC.
Sources: Reed (1896), Lloyds 1912, Source: (no longer available), National Geographic (1934)

Joe McMillan, 29 October 2001

Merchants & Miners Transportation Co. Inc. In point of fact some sources, including Lloyds 1912, show the flag as being a normal swallowtail instead of the tapered version, and most for either design show a small enhanced "o" after the "C". Talbot-Booth in 1938 states that it had "now" become the tapered version (but forgot to alter in his later books) but in view of the fact that this design was being shown long before I am uncertain whether this is the one and only design used with the variations resulted from the difficulty in working out such details by observation of a flying flag, or whether there was an actual change at some stage.

Neale Rosanoski, 5 March 2004

Merchants Express Line

[Merchants Express Line]  by Joe McMillan

Merchants Express Line, New York (ca. 1850s)
The flag was a blue swallowtail with a white disk and a red C for the owner, Randolph M. Cooley.
Source: (no longer available)

Joe McMillan, 30 October 2001

Merchants Line for New Orleans

[Merchants Line for New Orleans]  by Joe McMillan

Merchants Line for New Orleans, New York
A interesting white burgee with red triangles at the upper and lower edges and a black M in the hoist.
Source: Manning (1874)

Joe McMillan, 30 October 2001

Merchants Line for Washington

[Merchants Line for Washington]  by Joe McMillan

Merchants Line for Washington, New York
A white flag with blue stripes on the upper and lower edges and the initials M.L. in red.
Source: Manning (1874)

Joe McMillan, 30 October 2001

Metropolitan Coal & Oil Co.

[Metropolitan Coal & Oil Co.]  by Joe McMillan

Metropolitan Coal & Oil Co., Boston
A bunkering company providing fuel to ships at Boston harbor. The flag was a white burgee with a blue and red emblem on the center reading M and "Metropolitan Company."
Source: (no longer available)

Joe McMillan, 30 October 2001

Metropolitan Steamship Co.

[Metropolitan Steamship Co.]  by Joe McMillan

Metropolitan Steamship Co., New York (1866-1911)
Metropolitan provided service between Boston and New York and later between San Francisco and Los Angeles. It was taken over by the Wall Street speculator Charles W. Morse in 1905. The Morse shipping empire collapsed two years later leaving Metropolitan in bankruptcy. It was then absorbed into Eastern Steamship Lines in 1911. The flag was similar to that of Merchants Line for Washington, white with blue stripes at the upper and lower edges and the initials of the company, M.S.S.Co., in red.
Source: Reed (1896)

Joe McMillan, 30 October 2001

Mexico Shipping & Trading Co.

[Mexico Shipping & Trading Co.]  by Joe McMillan

Mexico Shipping & Trading Co., New York (ca. 1950)
Flag was five horizontal stripes: red, white, green, white, red. No further information.
Source: Wedge (1951)

Joe McMillan, 31 October 2001