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Vintage Brochure - History - Scandinavian-American Line - 1917

SERVICE has been the constant keynote of the United Steamship Company of Copenhagen ever since its inception. And the growth and steadily perfected development of this ideal of Service is strikingly shown in its present important position.

Favored today, alike by those who cross the Atlantic for pleasure and for business, the Scandinavian-American Line—the descriptive name under which the company operates its passenger service between the United States and the Scandinavian countries—typifies everything that makes ocean travel a delight.

For those whose destination lies in the Scandinavian countries—Denmark, Sweden and Norway—or Germany, Finland, Russia and the other adjacent European countries, and for those who seek to travel by a route that has everything to commend it from the standpoint of convenience, scenic attraction, historical association and new sensations, this company offers an exceptional service and equipment.

Any sketch of the Scandinavian-American Line and its fleet of commodious comfortable ships would be incomplete without a brief mention of the various stages of the company's history. We believe you will find this condensed history of interest.

Amalgamating several smaller shipping firms, the United Steamship Company of Copenhagen was formed in 1866 and began business the following year. With a fleet of 22 steamships, having a total register tonnage of 4919 tons net, regular routes were maintained between the various ports in Denmark, and in addition, to Kiel, Stettin, Koenigsberg, Antwerp, London, Hull, several Norwegian ports, the Faroe Islands and Iceland.

Expansion was rapid, and the Company steadily enlarged its fleet and business area, increasing its own facilities by fusing with other companies. As a natural result of this aggressive, definite, foresighted policy, by 1872 this company was the principal factor in the water shipping traffic between Copenhagen and other Danish Ports.

Noting the dates that follow, marking the most decisive advances in a very rapid growth, enables you to get a clear idea of the ever-increasing importance of this company.

1875 saw the completion of the harbor of Esbjerg, on the west coast of Jutland, and with it the regular operation of a line of steamships between that port and England.

1880 was the date of still further expansion, when the important export routes for agricultural products, between Copenhagen and Newcastle, England, were taken over. This was followed closely by the acquisition of still other routes between Danish provincial ports and Newcastle. And it is noteworthy, that since 1884 the handling of Danish agricultural exports to England (with the exception of the route between Copenhagen and Leith) has been taken care of solely by this company.

1882 Shortly after the opening of the St. Petersburg Ship Canal, the company again broadened its activities, and a line of steamships was put in operation between Antwerp and St. Petersburg.

1883 was likewise an important development year. It saw the extension of the company's service to Havre as a port of regular call; and a still further extension of its service to Mediterranean ports.

1886 was another progressive year, when a route to Hamburg was established; and one between Antwerp and Riga.

1887 opened up still other new routes—one to Hangö (Finland) and one to Oporto-Lisbon, with the extension of this route to Madeira in 1893.

1895 marked an epoch in the company's history. Busy as they had been up to this time, in developing their many European routes, attention was now turned to the development of the company's first route between Copenhagen and United States ports. Six big steamships were built and named Kentucky, Arkansas, Louisiana, Florida, Alabama and Texas. These steamships plied between Copenhagen and New Orleans, and in addition to great cargo capacities provided accommodations for a limited number of cabin passengers.

1898 witnessed still more important developments, for in this year the company took over the "Thingvalla Line", a long established passenger service line between Copenhagen and New York. With the accession of this line, immediate steps were taken to put its trans-oceanic service on the highest plane of efficiency. New twin-screw steamers of the most modern type were built expressly for this service between Scandinavian ports and New York. This service is known as THE SCANDINAVIAN-AMERICAN LINE.

1899 the company established a regular service between Boston and Copenhagen.

1903-1904 initiated the opening of regular sailings between Scandinavian ports and Philadelphia, Newport News and Baltimore.

1907 saw still another addition to the company's service, with the establishment of the line to Buenos Aires, South America.

And as a result of this steady progress, of this intelligent expansion of its service, by the end of 1913 the company's fleet included 130 steamships and 14 seagoing lighters, with a total gross tonnage of 177,290 tons.

1914 the service of the Company's Lines was still further augmented with the commissioning of several new ships. The most notable of these were the "California", the largest vessel afloat driven by Diesel motor engines; and the magnificent passenger steamer Frederik VIII, which is described elsewhere in this book.

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