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Thread: Ship's names

  1. #1
    Senior Member kevin's Avatar
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    Default Ship's names

    Thanks to Dazza for the idea.

    The two Brians have identified lots of ships names in their posts - I know many companies had a theme for their names, but what were the themes? I did all but two trips with the one company, Harrison Line. Their ships were named after professions - Historian, Strategist, Custodian, Politician (the ship that foundered while full of whisky and the origin of the story for Whisky Galore), Linguist etc. But what was the theme at other companies?
    Daley and Aspinall (and others) step to the fore.

  2. #2
    Guest George's Avatar


    The IOM boats

    Well it goes without saying...they name theirs after the isle of man

    Snaefell(The Manx mountain)
    Tynwald(Tynwald Hill)
    Ellan Vannin(Mann)
    Ben-my-Chree(girl of my heart" in the Manx language)
    King Orry(King Godred of Crovan)

    Well I could go on but things have to be done here,Kevin.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Oddsocks's Avatar
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    Blue Funnel Line (originally registered as Ocean Steamship Co.) was started by two Holt Bros. Alfred and Philip. The idea was conceived in the home of their father and they named their ships after characters in Homer's Odyssey: Agamemnon, Ajax, Achilles etc.
    There is far more to their story than a few lines. But to stay with the question. Greek gods and Icons was Blue Flue's theme for ships names. N.B. 'Dumbarton Youth' was Blue Funnel's first acquisition followed by Saladin. The ships colours has an interesting origin.
    Apparently, Holt's first ship 'Dumbarton Youth' was in such a tatty state that the funnel' paint was blistered. A drum of blue paint was found in a locker and was used to spruce it up, and so was born a famous brand.

    Lamport and Holt was originally named after Painters, Poets and Composers: Raphael, Bronte, Verdi etc.

    Elder Dempster was named after African towns and Explorers.

    Hope this helps, I'm sure the two Brians will expand on this.

  4. #4
    Senior Member brian daley's Avatar
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    The bones of a very interesting thread have been placed here. Some flesh is now required. This subject will have many versions of how companies came to name their ships. Looking at the two big Liverpudlian companies ,Cunard and White Star,their history shows that they used many names for their ships in the very beginning before they settled on the ones we now know them by. White Star ships have names ending in "ic" such as Olympic and Titanic, while Cunard settled on names ending with "ia" such as Saxonia and Carinthia. Cunards names would appear to be those of old Provinces in Europe and Africa whilst White Star's are more general,Titanic being a noun but Britannic being of a place.
    FT Everards,a company based on the Thames ,had a huge fleet of ships and all of their vessels were nouns, I sailed on the Austility,Assurity, Allurity and Adroity. The very mention of some ships names would drive a sailor to take steps in the opposite direction when their name was mentioned. The Baron line was one such company ,but there were many ,many more; they were noted for poor accommodation and lousy food. When you think that most of the worlds sea trade was carried in British bottoms you can see that naming a ship was pretty serious job for the owners,i.e. the name alone could tell an agent ,or a sailor, which company that the vessel belonged to and what kind of trade she was involved in. It is a large subject and I expect there will more than a few more contributions to this thread,

  5. #5
    Guest George's Avatar


    Titanic was used because in greek mythology it meant "Having great stature or enormous strength; huge or colossal"

  6. #6
    Senior Member Samsette's Avatar
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    United States Steel owned a deep-sea shipping company named Isthmian Steamship Company, hence their ship's prefix of Steel, as in Steel Mariner, Steel this, that and the other.
    The Norwegian Wilhelmsen Line chose names beginning with the letter T, as in Tamerlane, Tancred, Tai Ping, etc.
    American Export Line names began with Ex, as in Excaliber, Exporter.
    The Tilbury based Orient Line ships all had names beginning with the letter O, but while most were place names, Orion was a star. Can
    anyone explain how the company chose their ships names?

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