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Ballin Linie (German Shipping Company)

Last modified: 2017-11-11 by german editorial team
Keywords: ballin | hamburg-pazifik linie | nordseelinie | weidtmann & ballin |
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[Ballin Linie] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 8 Apr 2009 See also:

Ballin Linie

Ballin Linie

As far as I know, the company ran a mail service from Hamburg to Nordeney, Borkum and Helgoland at the beginning of 20th century. The ships had a yellow funnel, topped black.
Description of flag:
It is a quarterly divided flag into green(upper hoist), red(lower fly) and white. The centre was superimposed by a white oval, fimbriated green and taking total height of flag, containing a green capital “B”.
Source: I spotted an image of that flag on a poster, exhibited in Hamburgmuseum, on 9 August 2008.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 8 Apr 2009

Albert Ballin [1857-1918] made his name with Hamburg - Amerika Linie. His father was involved in the emigration agency of Morris & Co. of Hamburg engaged in arranging passages to the USA and after his death in 1874 Albert and older brother took over the company with Joseph leaving in 1877. Albert was hired by Hamburg - Amerika Linie in 1886 becoming their general director in 1899. In the meantime he had become involved in shipowning in 1890 and in 1899 formed Ballin's Dampfschiff-Rhederie-Gesellschaft. The flag shown in B&W by Hamburgs Reederei 1814-1914 by Otto Mathies 1924 differs a bit from that found by Klaus-Michael Schneider. Mathies does not give a hatchings code but using the general formula the letter "B" is blue, the oval is a ring and is shown as black though it is impossible in an image of that size to show a colour hatching if one applied.
Neale Rosanoski, 15 Nov 2010

Ballin Linie (variant)

[Ballin Linie #3] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 18 Jun 2012

The flag was quarterly divided into yellow (upper hoist), red (lower fly) and white. The middle was superimposed by a white oval fimbriated black with a black initial "B". The oval's height was total flag height.
Source: Gratis Beilage zu Deicken und Behrmann's Neuen Monatsheften Neue Ausgabe Sommer 1897
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 18 Jun 2012

Ballin Linie (disc variant)

[Ballin Linie #2] image by Eugene Ipavec, 16 Nov 2010

Variant shows disc instead of oval.

Weidtmann & Ballin

[Weidtmann & Ballin] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 8 Apr 2009

Weidtmann & Ballin
The ship broker company Hugo Ballin was established in 1912. On 31 October 1945 his son Hans Ballin became chairman of the company. Max Weidtman became its partner and the company was renamed Weidtman und Ballin. In 1972 the shipping branch was closed. Ballin died in 1974, Weidtman in 1983.
Description of flag:
It is a dark blue(FIAV-code B+) over yellow over dark blue horizontal triband with a blue lozenge in the middle of the yellow stripe.
Source: Deutsche Reedereien und ihre Erkennungszeichen”; 2nd ed.; Hamburg; 1956; p.42.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 8 Apr 2009

Albert Ballin only had an adopted daughter but was one of 17 children so there may well be a connection between him and Hugo Ballin though not between the two companies. Weidtman & Ballin are presumably a post WW2 company commencing their shipowning in 1952. US Navy shows the flag with a white central band but Brown 1971 agrees with the German sources that it was yellow.
Neale Rosanoski, 15 Nov 2010

Hamburg-Pazifik Linie

[Hamburg-Pazifik Linie] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 8 Apr 2009

Hamburg-Pazifik Linie
As far as I know, the company was iniated by Ballin and DDG Kosmos in 1896, in order to install a shipping line from Hamburg to Valparaiso for the transportation of  nitre (guano - birddroppings).
Description of flag:
The flag is clearly derived from the national flag of Chile but the lower hoist quarter is white with dark blue capitals “HP” over “L” in triangular order.
Source: Arnold Kludas: Die Geschichte der deutschen Passagierschiffahrt (5 Bde.) Hamburg 1986; Reprint Laibach Slovenia-Buch Nr. 03617-8 - Flaggentafel auf S.222-224.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 8 Apr 2009

Hamburg-Pazifik Linie.
More correctly the Hamburg-Pacific-Dampfschiffs-Linie [which is taken from German sources] with the detail from "Hamburgs Reederei 1814-1914" by Otto Mathies 1924 stating that it originated in 1886 as a partnership under the control of

  • A. Kirsten
  • . Albert Ballin was member of the executive committee and may have been an investor but it was controlled by Kirsten and was known as the Kirsten-Linie. DDG Kosmos were the competition and in 1898 took over their vessels. Mathies also shows this version of the flag but here a version is shown with the letters angled. This site is constantly adding more detail and has expanded into the liveries as on this page which shows half a dozen Kirsten company flags. I am not sure of their source, they give a link to a Kirsten memorabilia site which has a page for flags but no flags are shown there or not to my browser anyway. Their accuracy is therefore only as good as their sources.


    [Nordseelinie] image by Eugene Ipavec, 16 Nov 2010

    In 1897 Ballin's Dampfschiff-Rhederie-Gesellschaft was reorganised as Nordseelinie Dampfschiffs-Gesellschaft mbH operating with three steamers to Helgoland, , Wyk-auf-Föhr and the islands of Sylt, Amrun, Nordeney and Borkum, being taken over in 1904 by Hamburg - Amerika Linie.
    According to Lloyds 1904 the flag for this latter company was diagonal quarters of green and red with a white oval bearing a red representation of the Hamburg castle.
    Neale Rosanoski, 15 Nov 2010