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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A lot of house flags and company colours are self-explanatory but others are not.
I always thought P&O rather garish but recently learned the reason for their choice.
There is also a supposed story behind the choice of Blue Funnel.
In Glen Line I was told the blue pennant with the white maltese cross was to commemorate the winning of China tea-clipper race. I still have no concrete evidence this is so.
My present avatar is 1797's George Gibson Co. Leith who had a long association trading with the Netherlands.
What's your old company colours and do you know the reason for choosing them?
Regards,
Malcolm
 

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R651400 said:
A lot of house flags and company colours are self-explanatory but others are not.
I always thought P&O rather garish but recently learned the reason for their choice.
There is also a supposed story behind the choice of Blue Funnel.
In Glen Line I was told the blue pennant with the white maltese cross was to commemorate the winning of China tea-clipper race. I still have no concrete evidence this is so.
My present avatar is 1797's George Gibson Co. Leith who had a long association trading with the Netherlands.
What's your old company colours and do you know the reason for choosing them?
Regards,
Malcolm
Prince Line - Prince of Wales feathers
Furness Withy - F on the flag, F all on the plate
 

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House Flags and Company Colors

Hi Shipmates,
This topic just lit a small light.
That little book.."Browns Flags and Funnels" ...Has it got a website??
Or is there a website for flags and funnels?
The key word here is obviously "funnels" as I have come across several excellent Flag sites.
Regards,
David D.
 

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HOUSE FLAGS & FUNNEL COLOURS

Hi Malcolm - the study of houseflags and funnels is fascinating and could easily lead to the longest thread ever on SN! As far as I am aware the Glen Line company tradition was that the blue pennant was worn to commemorate its victories in the China Tea Race of 1874. The 'Glenartney' gained this with a passage time from Woosung to London in 44 days.
The origins of so many Houseflags are now lost in the mists of time and even the companies themselves are often unsure why a flag was adopted. The Everard family, for instance, say that Fred Everard chose a design based on the pattern of a Dutch window shutter, yet Fred Everard was of German extraction and changed his name from Eberhardt just before the 1914 War when anti-German feeling was running high, so another explantion is that he adopted the colours of the arms of the city of London. Totally 'unofficial' colours have also appeared over the years - when Everards purchased Glen in the 60's, some of the Glen ships started sporting the Everard Houseflag on the black top of the Red and black Glen funnel. Miss Ethel Everard refused to believe this was happening until I showed her a photograph to show her this was true - she was not amused!
Many Houseflags can still be found in use today although the firms involved have long since moved from shipowning. The Merchant Bankers Rathbone Brothers sold their steamships to Harrisons in 1887 but their houseflag was still being flown from a flagpole at its Liverpool office 100 years later!. The Carron Company of Scotland and Barings Bank are similar examples.
Regarding Alfred Holt's funnel colour, tradition has it that this came about because of some tins of blue paint that were found onboard one of the ships he purchased. The very famous Ellerman colours are supposed to have been adopted from those of Rea Towing as Ellerman's Chairman liked them so much.
As far as is known only one Houseflag actually shows a funnel, Wagenborgs.
As I say this could easily become the longest thread ever on SN so I had better end this now!
Peter4447 (Night)
 

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Funnel (and Houseflag) Resource

David
I don't think Browns has a website but if you go to www.mysticseaport.org and click on Library and E Resources then E Books & Manuscripts you will find that they have a complete copy of the 1912 edition of Lloyds Flags and Funnels on line. There are about 100 pages in full colour of flags and funnels. The library site itself also has a great deal to offer for other SN members in regards to research.
Peter4447 (*))
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks very much for the Glen Line pennant info Peter.
It was well known when I was with them but no one seemed to know which ship and when.
I intend to purchase Ships in Focus's Glen Line next time in the UK, I never knew that BF sold this section of their company to Everards!
Alfie Holt finding tins of blue paint was also the Blue Flue story I heard and doesn't surprise me. An excellent company to work for but strangely parsimonious in some of their activities.
Did I see it on SN or read it somewhere that Cunard funnel colours cannot be replicated. Shades of Drambuie's secret recipe?
Another intriguing thought, why does the colours of the "H" flag, sometimes in chequered form as Ropners and early CP, keep popping up? Glen Line, Butterfield and Swire and now the ubiquitous HSBC?
Regards
Malcolm
 

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Hi Malcolm - just to clarify my earlier thread, the Glen Company I was talking about in regard to Everards was Glen & Co of Glasgow, who were the managing owners for the Clydesdale Shipowners Co Ltd and the Scottish Navigation Co Ltd. This small fleet traded normally from Glasgow and the Irish Ports to the Scandinavian and Baltic counties. The ships usually carried a name ending in the letter A such as the 'Winga'.
I am also led to believe that the Cunard 'red' actually originated as the colour that was used on the bottom of their newly-built ships - looking at the actual shade I see no reason to doubt this.
I have no idea as to any special significance regarding the use of a chequer pattern although, interestingly Canadian Pacific have just re-adopted their old Houseflag - I spotted it for the first time recently when following a loaded container lorry. Perhaps the most famous chequer pattern of all was that used by the Pelton Steamship Company on their coastal colliers. (*))
 

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Canadian Pacific have indeed adopted their old houseflag, but won't it swiftly disappear over the next few months seeing as CanPac have been taken over?
 

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I always thought that Harrison's of London had a unique house flag,
a broken arm that is in a armour,holding a broken spear with the words "Perseverance written on the bottom of the flag.
John.
 

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John Rogers said:
I always thought that Harrison's of London had a unique house flag,
a broken arm that is in a armour,holding a broken spear with the words "Perseverance written on the bottom of the flag.
John.
Similar to Bibby Line with motto:
Work or die you b------s
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Peter, Thanks for the clarification on Everard's and Glen & Co Glasgow. I did think there was something odd.
Strange you mention Carron Co. of Falkirk. I had occasion to visit the works when I came ashore in '64. It was like going back 100 years, there was even layers of iron dust in the office!
Carron are reputed to have the first generic name ever with the famous small and deadly carronade cannon.
Thought Pompeyfan would have come up with the answser for P&O's houseflag colours by now!
Another red and white with anchor. Ben Line.
There are still a lot more to come people, see below.
Malcolm
 

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P&O's colours come from the royal colours of Spain and Portugal, allowed due to assistance given by the company in its early days.
Shaw Savill was the old Maori flag of New Zealand
The old Canadian Pacific chequeres were taken from the mapping symbols of planned railways, used when it was originaly owned by Canadian Pacific Railways..
 

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Malcolm
It is sad to think that so many of those long gone fleets on your attachment flew the Red Ensign as well.
I think one of the best stories regarding the adoption of a Houseflag is that of the Federal Steam Navigation Co - I wonder if any ex-Federal men know the answer? (Read)
Peter4447
 

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Shaw Savill Flag

Hi Baltic Wal

Your comment about the Shaw Savill House flag was a old maori flag interests me. I think one of NZs early Governors gave them the flag .

I would like to report that a few maori still fly this flag both from their houses and the occassional vehicle. I explain to my kids and grand children that I served with the company who had that house flag. They take a bit of convincing over it.
 

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James Busby, the first British Resident in New Zealand in March 1834 arranged a meeting of Northern Chiefs to choose a national flag so that New Zealand built and owned ships could be properly registered and enter other ports.
The ensign chosen, one of three on display, became known as the "Flag of the Independant Tribes of New Zealand" and was in later years adopted as the houseflag of Shaw Savill. The selection of this flag by the assembled chiefs took place six years before the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, which established British jurisdiction of New Zealand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Baltic Wal said:
P&O's colours come from the royal colours of Spain and Portugal, allowed due to assistance given by the company in its early days.
..
Blue and white of the Portuguese Braganza dynasty 1840-1910.
Red and white of the Spanish Bourbons 1700 to 1931 and present day.
The company started in 1835 trading to the Iberian Peninsula and was called the Peninsular Steam Navigation Co., later obtaining a mail contract for this route. The mail was transhipped from Gibraltar to Egypt and taken to the East by the Honourable East India Company.
In 1840 Peninsular SN was awarded the contract direct to Alexandria and became P&O.
 

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The origin of the house flag of the Fedral Steam Navigation Co is also of interest. In 1824 the "Sir Edward Paget", one of Money Wigram's clippers, was anchored of Splitshead wearing the St George's Gross at the main. That was and still is the flag flown by an Admiral and so a naval pinnace was sent by a naval frigate to investigate. There being no Admiral aboard, the Master was censured and ordered to haul down the flag, but thinking the masthead would be bare he rehoisted the flag after a blue pocket hankerchief had been sawn in the middle of the cross.

I also have a small book with 1010 house flags and funnels markings if any wish to know the name of any company etc.

Regards

Blair Lagerstedt
NZ
 

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Thanks Barney and all others.
Still no further ahead on FUNNELS however, of companies operating TODAY.
Regards
David D.
 
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