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House Flags of U.S. Shipping Companies: R

Last modified: 2005-11-12 by rob raeside
Keywords: united states shipping lines |
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Ravenscroft Shipping Inc.

[Ravenscroft Shipping Inc.] image by Jarig Bakker

Ravenscroft Shipping Inc. (Coral Gables, FL) - blue charged with white circle and stylized "R"
Dov Gutterman, 12 October 2003

Red D Line (Atlantic and Caribbean Steam Navigation Co.)

[Red D Line] image by Joe McMillan

Red D Line (Atlantic and Caribbean Steam Navigation Co), Philadelphia (1838-1938)
The Red D Line was the main transportation link between the United States and Venezuela for 100 years. The company took its trade name from the red D on its white flag, which stood for (John) Dallett, a Philadelphia merchant who went to Venezuela in 1823 soon after the country gained its independence from Spain. There he went into business with the influential merchant John Boulton. Dallett returned to Philadelphia and set up a business shipping cargoes to Boulton, and in 1838 began chartering sailing vessels to carry his merchandise. The company built an excellent relationship with the Venezuelan government and business community, but eventually decided to get out of the shipping business when the 1936 Merchant Marine Act terminated the system of mail contracts under which shipping companies had been subsidized. The company was sold to the Grace Line in 1937, which then merged the Venezuelan operations into Grace's overall service to South America. According to Pedraja's Historical Dictionary, the loss of the special relationship with Red D was instrumental in prompting the Venezuelan government to establish its own merchant fleet.
Sources: Lloyds 1912, Wedge (1926), National Geographic (1934), Talbot-Booth (1937)

Joe McMillan, 17 November 2001

The Atlantic and Caribbean Steam Navigation Co. was a  successor to Bliss Dallett & Co. and was taken over by Grace in the late 1930's.  It relocated from Philadelphia to New York City as Philadelphia lost importance as a port

anon., 18 February 2003

Red Star Packet Line

[Red Star Packet Line] image by Joe McMillan

Red Star Packet Line, New York (1821-?)
This was another of the many sail packet lines between New York and Liverpool that were established in the 1820s, many of which were named after the designs of their house flags. The line was operated by the New York firm of Byrnes, Trimble & Co. Although its flag was virtually identical--a white burgee with a red star--this company was, as far as I can tell, completely unrelated to the Belgian-flagged Red Star Line of 1872-1937.

Joe McMillan, 17 November 2001

Reinauer Transportation

[Reinauer Transportation] image by Bert Reinauer

The flag is 1:2 dimensioned white flag, carrying a red swallowtail on it, and the name REINAUER in an italic font below. (A representation of the flag on the Reinauer flag is reproduced below.)
Bert Reinauer, 7 February 2005

[Reinauer Transportation] image by Jarig Bakker

Dov Gutterman, 12 October 2003

Reiss Steamship Co.

[Reiss Steamship Co.] image by Ivan Sache, 13 September 2005

The house flag of Reiss Steamship Co. is white bearing a black diamond with the name ‘REISS’ (no serifs) in white, the diamond within a broad, red border. See this page (second row, second picture) and an enlargement here permits us to see that the red border does not, in fact, touch the flag’s edges (the distances between the border and the upper and lower edges are slightly shorter than those between it and the left and right edges).

This company belonged to the the C. Reiss Coal Co. (its founder, Clement Reiss, originally being a poor German immigrant) although it had various names since its foundation in 1890. For coal transport, the Reiss concern had its own docks and owned a variety of ships (enjoying a reputation of being well maintained) including tugboats. Eventually coal was superseded by fuel and natural gas and operating costs mounted so Reiss Steamship was sold to American Steamship in 1969 (the fleet consisting then of more than twenty ships of various kinds). It continued to operate however under its own name till 1986, year of the complete merger with its owner. The C. Reiss Coal Co. still exists.

History sources:

Quoted from last website:
“The logo of the Reiss Steamship Company, a red and black triangle with a white R in the center, was known throughout the Great Lakes as a symbol of a prosperous company displayed on up-to-date, well-kept ships. The Reiss lake carriers, with their sparkling white upper works, jet black hulls, and tall, shiny black smoke stacks adorned with a white R, no longer ply the waters of the Great Lakes…”

We find the same colours in the house flag; perhaps these were chosen as they were also the German colours then?

Jan Mertens, 11 September 2005

Richfield Oil Corporation

Richfield Oil Corporation, Los Angeles (1905-1966)
This company was founded in 1905 and named after a oil production plant at Richfield Station in Orange County, California. It eventually grew to cover the west coast and expanded by setting up marketing in the east as well. However, the Great Depression hit the company hard and it was in receivership for many years. In the late 1950s, its fortunes were restored when it hit the first commercial oil well in Alaska. From that point, its shipping fleet was mainly engaged in carrying crude from Alaska to refineries in California. In 1966, Richfield merged with Atlantic Refining Co. of Philadelphia to become Atlantic Richfield, subsequently shortened to Arco. In 1999, Arco merged with BP Amoco. I have found three flags for Richfield:

[Richfield Oil Corporation] image by Joe McMillan

Source: Wedge (1951): Blue with a yellow shield bearing a blue R.

[Richfield Oil Corporation] image by Joe McMillan

Source: Stewart (1953): Blue with a white shield of different design, also bearing a blue R.

[Richfield Oil Corporation] image by Joe McMillan

Source: US Navy's 1961 H.O.: Blue with a yellow shield of yet a third design, showing a flying eagle atop a globe, with a white scroll inscribed "Richfield."

Given that Richfield's corporate colors were always blue and yellow, I suspect that the white in Stewart (1953) is an error. Also, early advertisements for Richfield show the shield with eagle trademark using a shield more like that in Stewart (1953) than in Wedge (1951), so it is possible that the correct flag for the early 50s would have a shield in the color of Wedge (1951) but the shape of Stewart (1953). Nevertheless, I have followed my sources.

Joe McMillan, 17 November 2001

Rio Caribea Co. (Starboard Shipping Co.)

[Rio Caribea Co.] image by Joe McMillan

Rio Caribea Co. (Starboard Shipping Co.), New York
No information on this company. The flag was a red over blue burgee with a stylized white S.
Source: US Navy's 1961 H.O.

Joe McMillan, 18 November 2001

Rio Caribea Co. (Starboard Shipping Co.). Starboard Shipping Inc. were agents for various companies including Rio Caribea Compañia Armadora S.A. I imagine the flag can be safely domiciled as being that of Starboard Shipping being used for any of the agency companies that did not have their own liveries.

Neale Rosanoski, 17 April 2004

Robin Line (Seas Shipping Company)

[Robin Line ]      [Robin Line ]  images by Joe McMillan

Robin Line (Seas Shipping Company), New York (1920-1957)
The Robin Line (so called because all its ships' names began with the word "Robin", was established in 1920 as an intercoastal supplement to the Farrell Line. However, the Lewis family, which held the majority share in Robin, and the Farrell family had a falling out in 1933, and after that the two companies became rivals instead of partners, with Robin entering what had previously been an exclusive Farrell preserve--the Africa trade--in 1935. The two remained bitter competitors until Arthur W. Lewis, Jr., the second president of the company, died in 1954, and his heirs sold out to Moore-McCormack Co. three years later. I have found two flags for this company:
Source: Wedge (1951): Blue with a white lozenge bearing a red R.
Source: Stewart (1953): Blue with a white oval in the hoist, with a stylized wing going out toward the fly, and a red R on the oval.

Joe McMillan, 18 November 2001