Office at 61 Brodway, New York
Hamburg America Line Pier
, foot of Third St. Hoboken S/S Wieland
Deck view, Hamburg America Line Steamship ca. 1876
Saloon - First Cabin
on the Hamburg America Line steamship Gellert
Saloon - First cabin, Hamburg America Line ca. 1876
Saloon - Second Cabin, Hamburg America Line ca. 1876
Steerage accommodation, Hamburg America Line ca. 1876
Hamburg America Line landing stage in Hoboken
Passengers arriving New York on the Moltke
Augusta Victoria, Nordlandfahrten
The S/S Deutschland(3)
The Hamburg America Line was the first German transatlantic steamship line, established in 1847. The people behind the foundation of the company was ship broker August Bolten, ship owner Ferdinand Laiesz and banker Adolph Halle. With support from other Hamburg business leaders they founded the company under the name Hamburg Amerikanische Packetfahrt Actien Gesellschaft (HAPAG). In Norway this company was first referred to as August Bolten's steamship line.
HAMBURG-AMERICAN PACKET COMPANY.
All the Company's Ocean Steamers have been constructed on the river Clyde by the famous engineers and iron ship builders CAIRD & Co. in Greenock. R. NAPIER & SONS and ALEX. STEPHENS & SONS in Glasgow, and carry the Uniten States and European Mails.
They are amnned by 142 mn, distrbuted as follows: 29 deckhands under 4 officers and 9 petty officers; 32 firemen, coalheavers and machinists under 8 engineers, and 57 stewards, cooks, helpers, trimmers etc.
The Steamers of this Line leave New York from Hamburg Pier, foot of Third Street, Hoboken, Every Thursday and nearly every alternate Saturday, taking passengers for PLYMOUTH, LONDON, CHERBOURG, PARIS and HAMBURG. This arrangement renders the Line a means of direct transportation to England, France and Germany, and at the same time accommodates travelers an route for the Continent, who would avoid the discomforts of crossing the English Channel.
The Railway transit from Plymouth to London occupies only 6 hours from Cherbourg to Paris 8 hours. Returning the Steamers of the Hamburg Line leave Hamburg Every Wednesday and Havre Every Saturday. Passengers will be forwarded from Southampton or London to havre at the Company's expense. The time by rail from Paris to Havre being only 4 hours, a direct communication between France and the United States is formed, which offers every desirable facilities for Passengers coming from Paris or any other part of the Continent.
The First Cabin is fitted up in magnificent style-the walls are tastefully ornamented, seats and lounge are made in whatever upholsrers' and cabinetmakers' handicraft can provide. The space under the seats of the sofas in the different staterooms is 14 1/2 inches high. The staterooms, of which a large number are located amidships, are 7 to 9 feet in width. A Ladies Sitting-room and a fine Promenade Deck add to the comfort of these steamers.
The Second Cabin is on the same deck forward of the First Cabin; it is comfortably furnished and also heated by steam; the surrounding staterooms are well lighted and ventilated. Both Saloons have large staterooms set apart for ladies traveling alone, and Conversation and Smoking Rooms, elegantly fitted up, offering to gentlemen al the opportunities for social intercourse.
The Steerage is situated directly below the Second Cabin. It is spacious, light and well ventilated, and has separate compartments for single men, women and families. An efficient corps of stewards and servants, speaking several languages, is ready under the superintendence of experienced Chief Stewards and Stewardesses to attend the wants of the passengers. The Kitchens are on the upper deck, thereby avoiding odors generally so obnoxious to passengers. An experienced physician is attached to every steamer. For medical attendance and medicines no charge will be made. During preceding years the Steamers of the Hamburg-American Packet Company have maintained their splendid record for safety, speed and comfort, and proved themselves worthy of high repute in which they are held by the traveling public.
(From a booklet issued by the line about 1876)
Many Norwegian emigrants traveled via Germany on their way to North America. This was not the most common route, as most Norwegian emigrants traveled via Britain. The majority of Norwegians traveling on the German ships, had to make the first step of their voyage on a feeder ship to Germany. There were regular routes between Norwegian ports and the German ports of Hamburg and Bremen. The main transatlantic companies operating routes between German ports and North America was the Hamburg America Line (HAPAG), and the North German Lloyd (Norddeutcher Loyd). The North German Lloyd (NDL) had a service between Bremen and New York.
By 1896 the line owned a fleet of 102 vessels, with an aggregate of 269,502 tons. It was at the time the only line maintaining a twin-screw express service between the continents of Europe and America. The company maintained nineteen separate steamship services, besides winter and summer cruises with twin-screw express steamships. The Hamburg America Line operated routes between Hamburg and New York. Some years their ships also called at Southampton to take on passengers. The Southampton service was not very popular with the British companies. For several years the Hamburg America Line also operated a route between Stettin, Copenhagen and New York. This route was in sharp competition to the Danish company, the Thingvalla Line, later called the Scandinavian America Line. The Hamburg America Line also maintained a direct service between Norwegian ports and America, in the years 1893 - 1895. Their ships had departures from the ports of (Christiania) and Christiansand, mainly from Christiansand. They operated in Norway under the name Scandia Line. The service was taken up again in the summer of 1903, and continued till the autumn of 1904.
The fleet of twin-screw express steamships of the company which operated the service between New York to Plymouth, Cherbourg and Hamburg, and from Hamburg, Southampton, and Cherbourg to New York, were the Auguste Victoria and the Furst Bismark, built by the Vulcan Shipbuilding Company at Stettin, the Columbia, built by Laird Bros., in Birkenhead, and the Normannia built by the Fairfield Shipbuilding Company, in Glasgow. With these vessels the company maintained a
weekly express service, offering the public the convenience of traveling between America and the European Continent with
absolute safety, in the shortest possible time, and with a degree of comfort that was unexcelled.
FROM A 1896 BOOKLET:
"The problem which the owners and designers intended to solve in building these magnificent vessels was to produce ships which would offer absolute safety, and at the same time, be able to make the swiftest voyages with the greatest comfort to the passengers. To realize this, they spared neither trouble nor expense, and have now the satisfaction of seeing before them, in heir new steamships, models of the latest phase if marine architecture, advancing far beyond anything previously attempted; as beautiful in outline as they arc practical in their interior arrangements, and absolutely perfect in the three requirements of
modern ocean travel, safety, Speed and Comfort.
What first strikes the observer are the graceful lines which run from the sharp, straight, stem to the well-rounded stern. Three funnels rise from the hurricane deck, which, although of huge dimensions, only serve to bring out the symmetry of the whole. The COLUMBIA has three masts, the AGUSTE VICTORIA, FURST BISMARCK and NORMANNIA two, which are low and
without yards, so as to offer the least resistance. So beautiful are the lines of these ships that it is difficult for the spectator to realize their immense size. These leviathans have a length of 465 to 525 feet, a width of 56 to 58 feet, and a depth of 38 to 40
feet; are of 7 578 to 8 874 tons register, and their engines develop the force of 23 000 to 16 000 horses. They have five decks, constructed solidly of steel and teak wood, the upper decks ending in strong turtle-backs at the bow and stern. These
steamships are the largest and fastest ships of the German merchant marine. The first consideration which the builders had in
view was that of absolute safety, and they have built ships which are practically unsinkable. Many novel features have been
introduced to bring this about, of which the principal ones are here set forth.
The new vessels have their whole working machinery duplicated. There are two distinct sets of boilers, two engines, two shafts, and two screws, both sets working independently of each other, and separated by a longitudinal bulkhead dividing the vessel into two non-communicating halves, each of which is fully equipped to propel the ship. This is the great principle of twin-screw steamships and the
extraordinary degree of safety secured by this system is obvious, for an accident to one side of the ship can in nowise affect
the other, whose machinery will continue to work and propel the ship with perfect ease and at a high rate of speed.
Each side of the ship is again subdivided into numerous watertight compartments, which do not communicate with each other.
The hull of the ship has a double bottom, the space between being divided into chambers, which can be filled with water or
emptied by means of automatic pumps, thus increasing or decreasing the draught at will, and guarding against accidents from
grounding. The enormous engines of 6 000 to 8 000 horse-power each. The screws are of manganese bronze, with three or four blades.
The Hamburg-American Line holds the record for fastest time across the Atlantic from New York to Southampton and the continent. The best time accomplished was 6 days 10 hours 32 minutes between New York and Southampton. The landing arrangements at Plymouth are considered superior to those of any other port in England, and the Hamburg-American Line's special trains starting from the landing place await the passengers there. During past years these steamships have maintained a regular fast weekly express service between New York, Southampton, and Hamburg, and lately between New York, Plymouth, Cherbourg and Hamburg, taking passengers to London within 7 days, while the actual average ocean passage is reduced to a little more than 6 days.
Passengers leaving New York on Thursday are landed in Plymouth and Cherbourg on the following Thursday, reaching Paris and London on the same day, thus bringing them from New York to London in less than a week (it has been done in 6 days 14 hours, a feat not equaled by any other line). This shows the wonderful convenience which these steamships offer to the travelling public.
The fastest runs were about 20 ¼ knots per hour, which is equal to 2318 English miles, and exceeds the speed of transcontinental trains."
For passengers traveling on HAPAG ships via Hamburg the Norwegian Emigration Protocols will only give the name of the ship that brought the emigrants from Norway to Hamburg. Note that some Norwegians traveling on German ships would choose a rout from Norway to Denmark by ship, and from Denmark to Germany by train, the Hamburg America Line also called at English ports. See also Scandia Line.
Hamburg America Line picture gallery
Go here to read the passenger list for the Gothia leaving Christiansand on 28th July 1894