American Merchant Lines History and Ephemera
In the fall of 1923 the Shipping Board disposed of several United States Lines vessels, including some sold to the Dollar Line. To replace these the Shipping Board acquired five transports from the Army Transport Service. These were reconditioned and run as the American Merchant Lines under the management of J. H. Winchester and Company.
American Merchant Lines operated transatlantic services between the ports of New York, Plymouth, and London They uniquely named their vessels -- all starting with the word "American" followed by other common merchant terms including Banker, Farmer, Merchant, Shipper, Trader.
They sailed from Chelsea Piers, Pier 7, North River, New York, every Thursday direct from New York to London. These Piers were in close proximity to Pennsylvania Railroad and Grad Central Stations at the Foot of 18th Street.
Passengers were met at the Royal Albert Docks in London by Saloon Motor Coaches and Baggage Lorries that convey the passengers and baggage to Hearns Motor Coach Station, 234 Gray's Inn Road, London W.C.1 where luggage was sorted.
In 1924, services previously operated by five managing agents and the United States Lines from North Atlantic ports to the United Kingdom were consolidated under the management of two companies, one covering the east coast of the United Kingdom and the other the west coast of the UK and Irish ports.
The services to the east coast of the UK were given the trade name "American Merchant Lines" and those to the west coast of the United Kingdom and Irish ports the name "Oriole Lines." (Note 1)
During 1930, The United States Shipping Lines advertisements offered New York to London weekly service by five fine ships of the American Merchant Lines for $100.
The Five Ships were the American Banker, American Merchant, American Importer, American Shipper and American Trader.
Documents of the American Merchant Lines at the Archives
American Merchant Lines Menus / Bills of Fare
Rare Breakfast Menu Card from the American Merchant Lines featured Salmon Fish Cake, Grilled Yorkshire Ham, and Chipped Smoked Beef in Cream.
Menu featured Baked Meat Pie, Leg of Spring Lamb, Broiled Bluefish, Sauce Tartar, Maryland Turkey and Fresh Fruit.
Menu featured Broiled Fillet of Salmon, Shrimp Patties, Fricassee of Chicken with Noodles, Compote of Cherries with Rice, Prime Ribs of Beef, Saddle of Lamb, and Green Apple Pie à la Mode.
Dinner Menu Card featured Long Island Duckling, Spaghetti à la Caruso and Prime Rib of Beef. Included hand written substitution of Wax Beans for Broccoli in Cream.
Menu featured Fried Boston Sole, Tenderloin of Beef, Pineapple Fritters, Roast Maryland Turkey and Fresh Fruit. Included listing of Executive Officers. Six Autographs including the Captain's, Commander Hubbard C. Fish
Menu featured Shrimp Cocktail, Cream Victoria, Broiled Salmon, Anchovy Butter, Chicken Liver Patties, Pear Fritters, Roast Prime Ribs of Beef, Roast Maryland Turkey, and French Pastry. Included List of Executive Officers and Autographs from Seven Dinner Guests.
Menu featured Crab meat Cocktail, Boiled Halibut with Sauce Hollandaise, Fillet Steak with Mushrooms, Roast Maryland Turkey, Prime Lamb, Peach Melba and French Pastry. One signature in Autograph section.
Luncheon Menu Card featured Broiled Mackerel, Baked Pork and Beans, Braised Short Ribs of Beef and Boiled Ham.
Note 1: Sixth-Seventeenth Annual Report of the United States Shipping Lines (United States Lines) Page 78 FY 1922-25