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Would like to identify this ship

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The vessel in question has four signal flags flying. May be her call sign. Can't read them on my small screen though. Any one on a full monitor make them out? Might get info from google then.



Currently building: Model Expo AMERICA, A/L KING OF THE MISSISSIPPI


Completed: Mamoli Victory cross-section, Revell LSM (Plastic, in memory of Dad), A/L SANSON tug, MS Longboat (awesome model Chuck!), Dumas 1949 Chris-Craft 19' Racing runabout, A/L SWIFT, MS ELSIE, Constructo ELIDIR (now LOUISE), Midwest Muscongus Bay Lobster Smack, Amati 1:80 Yacht ENDEAVOUR, Mamoli CONSTITUTION cross section, Revell VIIc U-boat (1:72 plastic), lotsa other plastic ships 


Next up: who knows - there are too many to choose from!

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I have the full-size image opened up huge on my monitor and my face about six inches from it and three of the flags look solid-colored so I can't tell what they are (black and white and all that...). The last has a vertical stripe. It's either T or one of the number flags.


It is an American-flagged ship though, she has the stars and stripes flying back at the stern.

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I believe what you have is a ship of the American-Hawaiian Steamship Co., NY. Reason I propose this is because the funnel is distinctive and (in black and white) matches up well with other A-H ships. It’s a faded blue band on a faded tan background (sea blue on yellow, but after six months …). This is a picture of their Panamanian showing the distinctive funnel in it’s distinctive grey-tone shades.


A-H had extensive routes to the Hawaiian Islands from it’s termini in NY, SF, and Seattle/Tacoma, bringing manufactures west, and sugar home. Half their fleet went from NY to HI by way of Cape Horn. When the canal opened, they were on it like flies on …. A-H wasn’t part of the RR Company, but was a major player nevertheless so her ships presence in the canal in 1915 is to be expected.


Most of her ships were cargo/passenger, like the Panamanian, above. Some others were passenger/cargo ships, that were just like the others, except they had the second deck abaft the bridge structure, like your photo. Unfortunately, the P/C vessels were taken into naval service for War-I so the remaining photos extent of these vessels show them in their grotty gray paint jobs.


There’s only a few ships to look at, if they are (as I believe) A-H vessels: canal transit records, passenger diaries, etc..


Can’t answer your question, but hope I gave you some focus for your search.


Ciao. John


Edited by JohnE
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I do believe I have identified her.


SS Honolulan, built 1910 by Bethlehem, Sparrows Point, for American-Hawaiian Steamship Co.


A pain to identify because there were three Honolulans sailing under the A-H flag at various times up to 1921. This one was the first (1910-1916) and was noted for her traditional masts and a distinctive second deck, just as depicted in your photo. She was much of a muchness with the other A-H vessels, but had that second deck. She was one of the first A-H ships to transit the canal and there are many commemorative postcards of her doing just that. Not surprising she would be a showpiece in a period photograph.


Her tale is somewhat tragic; like that of a late orphaned child. But she sure was a beauty in her day.


Ciao. John


Edited by JohnE
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