Browse The Gjenvick-Gjønvik Archives Home Page

Naming of Steamships - The System of Many Shipping Companies Revealed (1922)

In the entire world of shipping there are few subjects at once so interesting and obscure as the systems of nomenclature employed by different owners of vessels. A vast number of craft, of course, are like Chief Sitting Bull: their family connections never would be guessed from their names; but, on the whole, many more companies than is generally supposed employ uniform and distinctive systems.

They do so for much the same reason that individuals have family names; in some cases, when the ship-owner has been so fortunate as to hit upon a happy idea, he may receive great benefit in a business way from the advertising thus afforded. On both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, for example, the word “Empress” has become synonymous with Canadian Pacific Steamships, Limited, just as Ford has with automobile.

Most persons interested in deep-water vessels are aware that the Cunard Line always gives its vessels names ending in “ia” and, with only one or two exceptions, the most recent of which is the Berengaria, has chosen names of provinces of the Roman Empire. Likewise the White Star system is quite as distinctive, consisting as it does of the letters “ic,” the names of vessels usually being adjectival, as Olympic, Britannic.

But apart from the White Star and Cunard there are really few naming systems that are world-known, as familiar to an inlander as to a mariner, although there is more than one plan that is even more patent than those cited.

Take, for example, such British fleets as the Prince, Clan and others. The names Belgian Prince and Chinese Prince, Clan Matheson and Clan Macaulay, immediately engage the attention; as do Steelmaker and Steel Mariner, or Canadian Reaper and Canadian Rover. Such instances might be multiplied almost endlessly, yet, due to the fact that most of the world’s merchant marine is composed of freighters, these systems never command attention from persons who ignore vessels of less than 30,000 gross tons.

Even shipping men often are ignorant of the peculiar plans followed by different companies. Much specialized information would be needed to unravel a good number. For example, the Shell tankers of British registry are named after shells, each vessel carrying in its cabin a handsomely encased specimen of the shell after which it is named; but there are not many men sufficiently versed in conchology to penetrate the system at a glance.

So with some of the vessels of Erik Broden: every mariner would know whence such names as Altair, Arcturus, Aldebaran, Antares and Aries were derived; there’s many a man ashore who does not know whether Arcturus is the title of the latest motion-picture or of some Roman general.

Knowledge of a highly localized nature would be needed for other systems. How many Americans could say off-hand whence come such names as Fushimi Maru and Suwa Maru of the Nippon Yusen Kaisha, or Maui and Manoa of the Matson Navigation Company? Or who could explain readily the significance of the terminal “dijk” of Holland-America names, or the derivation of names of vessels of the Union Steamship Company of New Zealand?

In what follows an attempt has been made to give in necessary detail an outline of the plans followed by different companies operating vessels to and from the Pacific Coast of the United States and Canada.

When a line has adopted no system that fact generally has not been noted, although in a few cases, such as that of the Osaka Shosen Kaisha, some attention is paid to interesting tendencies.

Americun - Hawaiian Steamship Company (United American Lines)

Vessels bear the names of states and territories with the suffix “an” or “n"; Alaskan, Floridian, Kentuckian; and there are others that do not altogether fall within this system: Mexican, Panaman, American. These vessels of the old Coastwise Transportation Company are being re-named as follows: Clarksburg to be Georgian, Fairmont to be Nebraskan, and Franklin to be Nevadan.

 In renaming these vessels and in christening its two new motorships Californian and Missourian the company is perpetuating the names of older steamships.

Associated Oil Company

Names of officials of the corporation are used; examples:    Frank G. Drum, Win. F. Herrin. There are three small vessels that do not follow this system: Arabs, Midway, Santiago.

J. H. Baxter & Company

Both vessels owned by the company have the Baxter surname:  Fred Baxter. Horace X. Baxter; but this system would not necessarily be followed in the naming of vessels acquired in the future.

Blue Funnel Line

Characters of Homeric or other classic Creek myths have given their names to vessels of the Holt companies, both masculine and feminine names appearing: Achilles, Atreus, Agamemnon, Hector: Atalanta, Medusa, Circe. The system is unusually distinctive, but, it must be confessed, abounds with names difficult of pronunciation, as Eurypylus and Protesilaus. The China Mutual Steam Navigation Company has some vessels with Chinese names, as Pak Ling and Yang-taze, and both it and the Ocean Steamship Company have such names as Knight of the Garter, Knight Companion. The prevailing tone, however, is decidedly classic Greek.

Canadian Government Merchant Marine

All names are composed of the adjective Canadian followed by a noun: Canadian Adventurer, Canadian Miner. With few exceptions, such as Canadian Recruit, Canadian Scottish, all the nouns end with the letter "R”; this latter feature is a part of the system.

Canadian National Railways, Steamship Department (Grand Trunk Pacific Coast Steamship Company)

Christian names preceded by the title Prince: Prince Rupert, Prince George.

Canadian Pacific Railway Company

The company’s larger vessels are all “Princesses”: Princess Louise, Princess Charlotte.

Canadian Pacific Steamships. Limited

In addition to the world-known Empress system: Empress of Russia, Empress of China, the company has the additional systems of giving its passenger vessels other than those of the Empress class names beginning with the letter “M”: Montengle, Methven; and its freight vessels names beginning with the letter “B”: Bosworth, Bothwell. There are some exceptions to all the systems: Dunbridge, Holbrook.

Compagnie Generale Transatlantique (French Line)

Geographical names are largely employed, as the names of cities, provinces, states, countries, etc.; examples: Chicago. La Navarre, Alabama, Venezuela. There are several exceptions.

Coos Bay Lumber Company

All craft ever owned by the company have had names of persons of the surname Smith; examples: C. A. Smith, Johanna Smith.

The Robert Dollar Company

All steamships are named for members of the Dollar family: Robert Dollar, Harold Dollar, M. S. Dollar. Some sailing vessels are exceptions: John Ena.

The East Asiatic Company

This line has no distinctive system, but it is worth noting that names of countries are favored; examples: Afrika, Java, Jutlandia, Malaya, Peru.

Kellerman's Wilson Line

Vessels of the Ellcrman & Bucknall Steamship Company, City Line, employ “City of” preceding the name of a city, as City of Benares, City of York; the Hall Line names end with “Hall," as Branksome Hall, Crosby Hall, although a large number of “City” vessels also are included in this line. Vessels of Ellerman’s Wilson Line proper generally end in "O", but no information is available as to the plan followed; examples: Aleppo, Claro, Leo, Tasso.

Forest Line

As the company's name indicates, the vessels employ the word Forest: Forest King, Forest Dream, Forest Pride, Forest Friend.

S. S. Freeman & Company

The Christian name Daisy is used, in one case alone, in the others as the Christian name of a person; examples: Daisy, Daisy Gadsby, Daisy Matthews.

Furness. Withy & Co. (Prince Line)

This system is simple, consistent and picturesque, consisting of the word “Prince” preceded by an adjective that usually denotes nationality: Algerian Prince, Manchurian Prince, Trojan Prince; also Lancastrian Prince; also Soldier Prince, Royal Prince, Black Prince. Vessels of the Johnston Line, Furness, Withy & Company, end in “more”, as Barrymore, Cedarmore, Pinemore. Names of vessels of the Manchester Liners, Ltd., employ "Manchester" followed by a noun, as Manchester Brigade, Manchester City; the Rio Cape Line, Ltd., uses “Glen” as the first syllable, examples being Glenaffric, Glendhu; the passenger liners of the Quebec Steamship Company have names of two or three words, the first of which is “Fort": Fort Hamilton, Fort St. George; names of the Empire Transport Company, Ltd., end in “Transport”, as American Transport, British Transport; of the Houlder Line, Ltd., in "Grange”, as Oak lands Grange, Thorpe Grange; of the Neptune Steam Navigation Company, Ltd., in “Range”, as Alpine Range, Malvern Range; of the Norfolk & North American Steam Shipping Company, Ltd., in "Point” and "Miller”, as Cornish Point, Northwestern Miller; of the British Empire Steam Navigation Company, Ltd., in "River”, as Derwent River, Fraser River. The “esa” vessels, as Abadesa, Baronesa, of the Furness-Houlder Argentine Lines, Ltd., are refrigerator steamers, as are the “El” vessels (El Cordobes) of the British & Argentine Steam Navigation Company, Ltd. Vessels of the Gulf Line, Ltd., end in “O”, usually in "No”, as Ariano, Castellano. There are a few exceptions to these systems.

W. R. Grace & Go.

Spanish names of women saints: Santa Rita, Santa Inez, Santa Alicia; also Santa Cruz; two exceptions: Colusa, bark Belfast.

James Griffiths & Sons

The first syllable of the Griffiths name is the base of the company's system: Griffco, Griffson, GrifTdu; but there is practically a second system: steamship Any ox, named for the site of the smelter of the Granby Consolidated Mining. Smelting & Power Co., and barges Granco and Granby No. 1, both named in compliment to the Granby company. There are exceptions to both: General Fairchild, Marmion and others.

Harrison Direct Line (T. & J. Harrison)

Names of vessels generally are derived from the arts and letters, learned professions, statecraft, military science, adventurous callings. Some examples will serve to make the system clear: Actor,  Author, Musician; Architect, Specialist, Professor; Dictator, Diplomat, Senator; Centurion, Tactician, Warrior; Explorer, Gladiator, Matador, In spite of the wide range covered the Harrison is one of the more distinctive of all systems. There are such exceptions as Custodian and Patrician, which nevertheless are suggestive; and others as Ingoma and Intabu, which cannot be linked with the majority.

Hind. Rolph & Co.

No definite system is employed; Hawaiian names, however, are largely used: Hawaii, Ilonoipu, Lahaina, Makaweli, Puako. There are exceptions, such as Muriel, Conqueror, Robt. R. Hind and Wra. T. Lewis.

Holland-America Line

All freight steamship names end in “dijk,”  oras the syllable usually is rendered in English, “dyk”; examples: Kemdijk, Moerdijk. Names of passenger steamships end in “dam”; examples: Leerdum, Noordam; and names of cities that end in the same syllable also are used: Rotterdam,  Nieuw Amsterdam, Edam. "Dijk” and "dam" mean practically the same in Dutch, that is, a wall to protect the land against flood; and most of the Holland-America names have reference to rivers: Eemdijk, the dike of the Eem River. There are a few exceptions to both systems, such as Columbus.

Inter-Island Steam Navigation Company

Names of the vessels of this Honolulu company are generally Hawaiian, as Kilauea, Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea; there are two exceptions: Claudine, Helene.

Isthmian Steamship Lines

Vessels built at the Chickasaw plant of the United States Steel Corporation have the names of cities with City added: Ensley City, Mobile City, Montgomery City, Tuscaloosa City, Atlanta City, most of the names being selected from Southern United States.

Vessels built at the Federal yard, Kearny, New Jersey, employ nouns preceded by the adjective Steel: Steelmaker, Steel Mariner, Steel Worker.

As in the case of the Canadian Government Merchant Marine the nouns end in the letter “R”, with the exception of two vessels, but this coindence is apparently accidental. There are exceptions to both systems, such as Bantu, Charlton Hall, San Francisco; also vessels purchased of the Robin Line Steamship Company: Robin Adair, Robin Goodfellow. Java-China-Japan Lijn (Java-Pacific Line)—Most vessels of the company are named after rivers, islands and places in the Dutch East Indies.

The conspicuous system employs the names of rivers: Tjisalak, Tjileboet, the syllable “Tji” meaning "river”. Other vessels, such as Arakan and Gorontalo, are named after towns, and Saleier and Simaloer, etc., after islands.

Lewers & Cooke

Family names: Robert Lewers, Alice Cooke.

Ivos Angeles Steamship Company

The names of the company's two passenger vessels are sufficient ex-planation: Yale, Harvard.

Luckenbach Steamship Company

All vessels with the exception of the Pleiades bear names of members of the Luckenbach family: Katrina Luckenbach, Walter A. Luckenbach, Andrea F. Luckenbach.

Matson Navigation Company

Under the present system vessels are given names beginning with the letter “M’ and in all cases except one, that of the Matsonia, the names are of Hawaiian origin: Manna (a valley of Honolulu), Maui (one of the principal islands of the group), or are compounds of Hawaiian words: Manukai (bird of the sea) and Manulani (bird of heaven, or, more poetically, bird of paradise). The older steamships, Lurline and Wilhelmina, named after daughters of officials of the company, were built prior to adoption of this system; and there are other exceptions, as Enterprise, Annie Johnson, Hyades, which were bought by the company years ago.

Mexican States Steamship Line

As the company's name indicates, all vessels are named for states of Mexico: Chihuahua, Chiapas, Colima, Oaxaca, Sinaloa, Guerrero. Mitsui Bussan Kaisha (Mitsui & Co.) and

Kyoto Kisen Kaisha, a Mitsui subsidiary

most of the names of ocean-going vessels of this Japanese line end in **san”:  Fujisan  Maru, Tenpaisan Maru, Atagosan Maru, and so on. This “sun” is not the honorific that follows the name of an individual, however (the late premier was Hara-san); but is an entirely different word meaning mountain.

Thus Fujisan, in the current speech of Japan, means Mt. Fuji, for the form Fuji-no-yama, corrupted into the Europeanized form of Fujiyama, is poetic and is practically never heard. There are several exceptions to this rule, most being small vessels.

Nippon Yusen Kaisha

The N. Y. K. has no general system of nomenclature, but most names are of geographical derivation, cities, mountains and rivers being favored. The passenger liners Fushimi Maru, Katori Maru, Kashima Maru and Suwa Maru are named after shrines in Japan. Some cargo-vessels do have distinctive systems; the well-known “T” class steamships are given the names of Japanese towns beginning with the letter "T", examples being Toyooka Maru, Tokiwa Maru and Toyama Maru; and vessels of the *‘D” class have names of ports beginning with that letter:   Durban Maru, Dakar Maru and Delagoa Maru. A few other typical names follow: Bombay .Maru, Kobe Maru, Malacca Maru, Lisbon Maru.

Ocean Motorship Company

Names are taken from the language of the Australian aborigines, the vessels having been built for the Commonwealth government, and designate places and peoples; examples: Boobvalla, Culburra.

Oceanic Steamship Company

All steamers have borne the names of counties of California: Mariposa, Alameda, Ventura, Sonoma, Sierra. Although all these names end in "A” the coincidence is accidental.

Osaka Shosen Kaisha

No system is used; nevertheless, geographical names are quite common and cover an unusual range. Some examples follow: mountains, Altai Maru, Himalaya Maru, Andes Maru; rivers, Indus Maru, Amur Maru, Amazon Maru; countries, Canada Maru. Siam Maru, Arabia Maru; continents, Africa Maru, America Maru; islands, Celebes Maru, Java Maru, Sumatra Maru; states or territories of the United States, Alabama Maru, Hawaii Maru, Arizona Maru; cities, Chicago Maru, Honolulu Maru, Nanking Maru.

Pacific Mail Steamship Company

No system is employed. Prior to the sale of the old fleet names of countries or provinces of Asia were largely used: Manchuria, Mongolia, Korea, Siberia, Persia, China; exception; Nile. In still earlier years such names as City of Tokio, City of Peking, were favorites. The three passenger vessels purchased in Holland during the war bear the names assigned by the Dutch owners, who intended to employ them in the South American trade; Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador. Four freight vessels purchased of the Shipping Board are of the Point class:         Point Adams, Point Lobos.

Pacific Steamship Company (the Admiral Line)

The company's own name indicates its preferred system: Admiral Dewey, Admiral Evans, Admiral Schley. There are exceptions such as Queen, President, Senator.

Royal Mail Steam Packet Company

From 1831) until comparatively recently, the K. M. S. P. named its vessels for rivers. Within the last ten years vessels have been classed under the initial letters of their names: the “A" steamships, such as Andes and Almanzora, are high-class passenger liners plying between South America and England; the “O” vessels, as Orbita, Orduna, run between New York and Europe; the “D” steamers, as Darro and Demerara, are intermediate passenger vessels of the South America service; ships of the “N” class, for example, Nagara, Navasota and Nebraska, are refrigerator craft and usually run between the United Kingdom-Continent and the River Plate; "E” class vessels, such as Ebro and Essequibo, are engaged in the New York-South America trade; “S” vessels are all freight steamships employed in various routes, and the “C” class, Chaleur and Chignecto, run between Halifax and the West Indies. There are also older vessels of the fleet built prior to the adoption of this system.

The San Francisco & Portland Steamship Company

The company’s vessels have been given names of local significance: Beaver after Oregon. the Beaver State; Bear after California, the Bear State; Rose City after Portland.

Societe Generale de Transports Maritimvs a Vapeur

The most distinctive system employs names of mountains: Mont Cenis, Mont Polvoux; names of countries, provinces, islands also are used: Kspagne, Formosa, Flandre; there are exceptions to both rules.

Standard Oil Company of California

The only system used today is to name vessels after officials and officers of the company; examples: K. R. Kingsbury, R. J. Hanna, S. C. T. Dodd, Charlie Watson. Older vessels, such as Atlas and Richmond, are exceptions.

Toyo Kisen Kaisha

This line's system, one of the more interesting of all, bears a superficial resemblance to those of the Cunard and White Star, in that it employs a distinctive ending of two letters. In the case of the White Star this ending is “ic”, in that of the Cunard "ia” and in that of the Toyo Kisen Kaisha it is "yo”; but whereas the Cunard and White Star systems are quite apparent, that of the T. K. K. is obscured by the inevitable "Maru."

The resemblance is, as was stated, merely superficial, for the T. K. K. “yo” is in itself a word and not merely an ending. The meaning of "yo” in Japanese is “ocean”; and the names of T. K. K. vessels are compounds, the first word in some cases a noun and in others an adjective. To illustrate: Tenyo Maru, heaven - ocean; Shinvo Maru, spring - ocean; Choyo Maru, morning-ocean; but Taiyo Maru, great ocean; Anyo, tranquil; Seiyo, calm; Rakuvo, pleasant; Ginyo, silver; Bokuyo, coal-black; Reiyo, admirable; Hayo, eddying; Meiyo, bright; Koyo, fragrant, ocean. The older vessels of the T. K. K. fleet, such as Nippon Maru, did not follow this system; and three former Pacific Mail vessels, Korea, Siberia and Persia, retain their old names with the addition of Maru.

Union Oil Company of California

Vessels are named after oil fields of California: Montebello, Fullerton, Whittier, Coftlinga,

Union Steamship Company of British Columbia

Steamers of this line bear Indian names beginning with “C’” usually names of old Indian settlements or lakes and streams in the province of British Columbia: Cowichan (a lake), Chilco (a river), Chilliwack and Coquitlam (villages). Venture is an exception.

Union Steamship Company of New Zealand

For many years the Union company named its vessels after lakes and waterways of New Zealand, as Wanaka and Wakatipu, lakes of the South Island. These and other names, such as Moana and Maori, were of Maori origin. Suitable names of lakes and waterways having been practically exhausted, the company chose names fitting the trades in which vessels were engaged; thus the Tahiti is employed in the Tahiti service, and the Niagara, of the Canadian-Australasian Steamship Line, has many passengers who either have just visited the falls or are on their way thither.

United States Army

All major and inter-island transports have been named for distinguished generals deceased, some examples being Meade, Sherman, Sheridan, Grant; but the group of vessels acquired from the United States Shipping Board in 1919, which are known as Hog Island transports, were given the names of battle-fields in France (Cantigny, Argonne), the Tours, named after the headquarters of the American Expeditionary Forces, being the only exception. Some of the ocean-going craft and freight and passenger vessels of 120-foot length and more have been named for distinguished generals deceased, these names usually being selected from the list of former quartermaster generals.

Mine planters are named for deceased generals of the Coast Artillery Corps, or such other officers of that service as the chief of coast artillery may designate.

Power freight and passenger harbor boats more than 100 feet in length, including ferry boats, are usually named for deceased colonels or lieutenant colonels, although there are two ferry boats named for generals, namely, Otis and Hancock, being used in New York harbor.
Quartermaster harbor boats less than 100 feet in length and junior mine planters, also non-ocean-going tugs, are usually named for deceased majors, although a few of these vessels have occasionally had the names of officers of higher rank assigned.

Launches assigned to commanding officers and other similar speed launches have been named for deceased captains. The smallest type of launches are named for first and second lieutenants of the army, deceased.

In addition to the above, there are a number of types of boats that carry a similar initial for all vessels in the same class. These boats are known as “L” "Q”, “V" (vidette launches) and "M” (motor mine yawls), and in addition to their initials carry' their proper numerals in the order in which the boats were completed. Thus there are "M” boats running to numerals as high as 295, while the “L” boats run to 58.

United States Bureau of Lighthouses

Tenders of the Lighthouse Service are given botanical names derived from the flora of the districts in which they are to be assigned; example: Kukui, built for Hawaiian service. Lightships are given the name of the locality to be marked and also bear serial numbers.

United States Coast and Geodetic Survey

New vessels are given names that indicate the nature of their employment — that is, surveying and more particularly hydrographic surveying: Surveyor, Hydrographer, Pathfinder, Fathomer, Explorer, Research. The names of some vessels received from other branches of the government do not follow this plan.

United States Coast Guard — For several years cruising vessels of the Coast Guard (formerly Revenue Cutter Service) have been given names of Indian origin, usually of Indian tribes; examples: Apache, Haida, Modoc, Shawnee, Mojave. The Tampa, a new vessel, was named directly after a cutter that was torpedoed and sunk with all hands in the war, although this name itself is of Indian origin. Five Eagle boats taken over from the Navy have been named after commissioned officers of the Coast Guard killed during the war.

Inshore patrol vessels, which are principally former submarine-chasers, have been named after warrant officers and enlisted men killed during the war. Harbor cutters have Indian names, although there are some exceptions. Small harbor launches have such names as Scout, Search, Sentinel. The old cutter Bear bore that name before being acquired by the Coast Guard.

United States Navy

Battleships and armored cruisers are named for states of the Union; cruisers for cities. (The six battle-cruisers, if completed, would have borne names of famous vessels of the old navy.) Destroyers are named after distinguished naval officers; submarines bear letters and numbers only, although some of the older classes had names of marine animals: Sturgeon, Nautilus, Walrus; colliers are being given names from Greek mythology: Jupiter, Orion, Cyclops; oil-carriers, Indian names of rivers of oil-producing districts; repair-ships are named for distinguished engineers; and all ships the naming of which is not provided for by law are named according to their distinctive purposes. Monitors once were named for states, but no longer.

United States Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation

Inasmuch as the Shipping Board fleet is the greatest in the world, its naming systems require a more detailed explanation than do any others. The following is an outline of the principal plans used: During various periods of ship construction for the United States Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation, well-defined systems of naming vessels to designate class, type or place of construction were in vogue, but in the earlier war-time period the paramount aim was increased production through the stimulation of enthusiasm and patriotism to meet the need of "ships and more ships.” As a means to this end, Mrs. Woodrow Wilson was asked to name all vessels contracted for by the corporation.

It was decided by Mrs. Wilson that Indian names of places and geographic sections of the United States would be most appropriate for naming vessels of our new' merchant marine. Several hundred vessels of all types, both wood and steel, were named in accordance with this system; examples:   Agawam, Biloxi, Coyote, Kanebec, Wampum. In order to increase the interest in the shipyards for facilitating production, a special concession was granted whereby a vessel in each yard was to be named after the place, where the shipyard was located. A few vessels were named on this account: Newburgh, Moss Point, Beaumont.

The first definite system put into effect to distinguish type, class and place of construction was the prefix-ing of the word "West” about March 1, 1918, to the names already assigned, or to be assigned, the 8800-ton steel cargo vessels constructing, or to be constructed, on the Pacific Coast; examples: West Aleta, West Mingo, West Cactus, West Nomentum. This plan was varied slightly by using the prefix "Western”; examples:  Western King, Western Light, Western Queen”; but these were for the most part re-named requisitioned vessels.

At the same time that "West” came into use it was decided to add the word “Lake” as a prefix to the names already assigned, or to be assigned, to cargo steel vessels constructing, or to be constructed, on the Great Lakes; examples: Lake Erie, Lake Farrar, Lake Shawano, Lake Yahara, Lake Strabo.

On September 13, 1918, it was decided to prefix the word “Fort” to all Ferris type wood ships that had not been named. A few vessels were so named; examples: Fort Logan, Fort Scott. When the Treasury Department started the Fourth Liberty Loan, it asked for the privilege of naming a certain number of vessels in honor of cities and towns that should attain a prescribed distinction in connection with the Liberty Loan campaign.

When a community would double its quota or go over the top within a specified time, it was to be given the honor of naming one of our ships. Ten names were assigned to each of the twelve Federal Reserve Districts. The plan had the desired effect of stimulating the activities of the different communities, which were enthusiastic over the undertaking. and there was spirited rivalry among them for the distinction of gaining the right to name a vessel.

After the armistice sixty-four additional communities that had won a second degree of distinction in the loan drives in the Federal Reserve districts carrying with it the right to name an army tank were given the privilege by the Emergency Fleet Corporation of naming one of the vessels instead; this privilege was exercised.
Examples of Liberty Loan names assigned: City of Alameda, City of Dalhart, Brookline, Cecil County, Knoxville, and Houston.

The thirty steel cargo vessels constructed in Japan for the United States Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation were assigned names beginning with Eastern; examples:         Eastern Leader, Eastern Pilot, Eastern Admiral. For the quick recognition of the 13,000-ton passenger vessels, they were assigned the nicknames of some twenty states; examples: Pine Tree State, Bay State, and Hoosier State. There were three exceptions in the naming of the passenger vessels: Wenatchee, American Legion and Southern Cross.

Some of the last named steel tankers were given names closely allied with the oil industry'; examples: Tulsagas, Lio (oil spelled backward).

Williams Steamship Company

Names of vessels are compounded from "Will,” the first syllable of the name of the president of the company, George T. Williams, and from some game or sport: Willpolo, Willsolo, Will faro, Willhilo (high-low).

E. K. Wood Lumber Co.

Names of prominent peaks of the Pacific Coast Range are used: Lassen, Shasta, Tamalpais. Other names, such as Sierra and Siskiyou, fall within the general plan, although they are more strictly speaking names of ranges and not of peaks.


"What's In A Name?" in Pacific Marine Review: The National Magazine of Shipping, Volume 19, No. 1, January 1922, P. 24-28


Return to Top of Page