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Altaras, Caune & Cie (Shipping company, France)

Last modified: 2016-04-02 by ivan sache
Keywords: altaras | caune |
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[Flag of Altaras]

House flag of Altaras - Image by Ivan Sache, 8 February 2004

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History of Altaras, Caune & Cie

The Société Phocéenne de Navigation Altaras, Caune & Cie was founded in 1856 by members of the families Altaras and Caune, who produced and sold famous Marseilles soap. The company was susequently renamed Companie Altaras-Cohen and eventually Companie Altaras et Neveu.
The company operated a bimonthly service to Messina (Sicily), Smyrna (now İzmir, Turkey) and Constantinople (now tr-34-is.html">Istanbul), later extended to Rhodes (Greece), Mersin (Turkey) and Beirut (Lebanon). Later, a second line was opened between Marseilles and the Algerian town of Philippeville (now Skikda) and Bone (now Annaba). The company went out off business in 1877.

Isaac Jacomo Bartolomeo Altaras (1786-1873), born in Aleppo (Syria), settled in Marseilles in 1805 and changed his name in 1808 for Jacques Isaac Altaras. Trading with Leghorn (Italy), Cyprus and Syria, Altaras founded at the end of the Bourbonic Restoration the only French establishment in Calcutta (India). He was Vice-President (1835) and President (1849) of the Jewish Consistory in Marseilles and one of the main funders (5,000 francs) of the synagogue built in 1864 rue de Breteuil.
The Caune dynasty traces back to Jean-Baptiste Henry Caune (1796-1869), hired in 1818 as a book-keeper by a wool broker. Cauned purchased in 1833 the wool business and was succedeed by seven of his relatives. The only broker member of the Chamber of Commerce of Marseilles, he was an important member of the Legitimist Party. Among the other members of the Caune family, the soap manufacturer Toussaint Auguste Caune (1826-1894) served as the organist of the St. Joseph church; encouraged by Liszt and Massenet, he published several works, including his masterpiece, a Mass in D, which was played in Marseilles, Leipzig and Geneva. Caune reorganized the Conservatoire (music school) of Marseilles in 1865 and popularized classical music with the foundation of the Concerts Classiques.


  • Paul Bois. Armements marseillais - Compagnies de navigation et navires à vapeur (1831-1988), published by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Marseille-Provence [boi03].
  • Pierre Guiral & Felix Reynaud (eds.) Les Marseillais dans l'histoire, published by Privat, Toulouse.

Ivan Sache, 26 December 2005

House flag of Altaras, Caune & Cie

The house flag of Altaras, Caune & Cie is yellow with a brown animal in the middle. Paul Bois [boi03] shows the animal more or less like a lion, but a horse is possible, too. Therefore, the image shown on the top of this page is only tentative.

Ivan Sache, 8 February 2004