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Hamburg Historical Naval Flags - part 2 (1716 - 1868)

Hamburger Seeflaggen - Teil 2 (1716 - 1868)

Last modified: 2017-11-11 by klaus-michael schneider
Keywords: hamburg | banner of arms | castle(white) | tower(white) | towers(3) | tower(black) | star(6-point) |
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About Diderot and D'Alembert Encyclopedia

These beautiful hand coloured copperplates have been selected from the famous Diderot and D'Alembert "Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des metiers" (Encyclopedia, or a systematic dictionary of the sciences, arts, and crafts), an encyclopedia published in France between 1751 and 1766, with later supplements and revisions in 1772, 1777 and 1780 and numerous foreign editions and later derivatives.
Diderot's encyclopedia is a landmark work of the enlightenment that depicted the arts and sciences, and the tools and methods of artisans and trade people in a methodical and thorough way. The entire encyclopedia was published between 1751 and 1772, and comprised 17 volumes of text and 11 volumes of plates. The marvellous detailed plates show how everything in the period was made. It had a huge impact on its own time, and is highly valued by present-day historians as a record of the techniques and vocations of the pre-industrial world. It is also a great resource for collectors, art and craftspeople. Louis-Jacques Goussier (Paris 1722 - 1799) was a French illustrator and encyclopedist. He is famous for his work on Diderot's encyclopedia. He was the first drawer to be hired on that project, in 1747 and he did himself more than 900 plates and directed the drawing of the others. Some call him the third encyclopedist, after Diderot and d'Alembert. Goussier spent ten years visiting people of all arts and techniques (textile, smith, mill, glass, etc.), and twenty-five years drawing. He also wrote sixty-one articles.
You can find various plates from different editions of the vol. Marine withinthe www., eg. here of the 1769 edition B/W in Petra Sancta Code (plates only) or here the 1751 edition displaying the complete set of four coloured double -lates, furthermore an uncomplete set of B/W plates of the 1780 edition and finally a single plate (no. 18) of the 1760 edition here.
My images are based upon B/W images in Petra Sancta code plus the descriptions as given in the reprint. The illustrations based on Goussier have been made by Benard.
located by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 17 Sep 2013

Ensigns within Diderot and D'Alembert

Flags ##1-4 are taken from from the 1780 version. The 1751 version has coloured plates. Different are the flags #5 and #6. There is another flag in both versions, which is however obviously model 1644 as depicted within our pages.

White Ensign

[Hamburg white enisign 1780]
image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 9 Sep 2013

It is a white flag with a black tower with semi open gate and sharp spires. The tower is in the upper hoist corner (probably the same model as 1737/1751 already in our pages)
Source: Diderot and D'Alembert "Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des metiers; vol. Marine", edition 17
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 9 Sep 2013

Three Towers Flag Variant#1

[Hamburg 3 towers#1 1780]
image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 9 Sep 2013

It is a red flag with three white towers at the hoist side ordered 2:1.
Source: Diderot and D'Alembert "Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des metiers; vol. Marine", edition 1780
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 9 Sep 2013

Three Towers Flag Variant#2

[Hamburg 3 towers#2 1780]
image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 9 Sep 2013

It is a blue flag with three white towers at the hoist side ordered 2:1.
Source: Diderot and D'Alembert "Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des metiers; vol. Marine", edition 1780
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 9 Sep 2013

Red Ensign with Tower in Canton

[Hamburg 1 tower 1780]
image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 9 Sep 2013

It is a red flag with a yellow tower at the hoist.
Source: Diderot and D'Alembert "Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des metiers; vol. Marine", edition 1780
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 9 Sep 2013

Three Towers Flag Variant#3

[Hamburg 3 towers#3 1751]
image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 9 Sep 2013

It is a red flag with three yellow towers at the hoist side ordered 2:1.
Source: Diderot and D'Alembert "Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des metiers; vol. Marine", edition 1751
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 9 Sep 2013

Three Towers Flag Variant#4

[Hamburg 3 towers#4 1751]
image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 9 Sep 2013

It is a blue flag with three yellow towers at the hoist side ordered 2:1.
Source: Diderot and D'Alembert "Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des metiers; vol. Marine", edition 1751
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 9 Sep 2013

18th Century Flag (Reported 1716)

[Hamburg 1716]
image by Jaume Ollé

Same as the 17th-19th centuries flag but gate has two towers.
Norman Martin, January-February 1998

Flag of convoy ship 'WAPEN VON HAMBURG' (no.III) (Reported 1720)

[Hamburg 1716)]

It is a red (RGB: 181/2/69) admiralty flag with white castle being not embattled and having an open gate and eight windows. The anchor is completely blue.I can say nothing, whether this flag is trustworthy. for it probably had been exchanged several times since 1720.
Source: I spotted this flag upon the stern of a construction model of the "WAPEN VON HAMBURG"(no.3), dated 1720, in Hamburgmuseum on 9 August 2008.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 14 May 2010

18th Century Flag (Reported 1737)

[Hamburg 1737]
by Jaume Ollé

Red with a single white tower in upper hoist.
Norman Martin, January-February 1998

18th Century Flag (Reported 1737 and 1750)

[Hamburg 1737 and 1750]
by Jaume Ollé

Red with three white towers arranged 2 and 1. Illustrated in Smith 1975 p. 204.
Norman Martin, Jan-Feb 1998

18th Century Flag(Reported 1737 and 1750)

[Hamburg 1737 and 1750]
by Jaume Ollé

White with a single black tower in upper hoist. Illustrated in Smith 1975 p. 204.
Norman Martin, Jan-Feb 1998

Hamburg 1751-1835

[Hamburg 1751-1835 flag] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider,

Description of flag:
On a red flag is a white castle, masoned black with black windows and open gate. The central tower is topped by a cross while the side towers are embattled.
Source: Ben Cahoon's webpage
Klaus-Michael Schneider,

Hamburg 1751-1861

[Hamburg 1751-1861 flag] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 9 August 2008

Description of flag:
It is a red flag with a white Hamburg-gate shifted to the hoist. I must admit that the “gate” is really a castle. It seems to be so, that a gate turns into a castle according to German terms, when it has at least three towers (see e.g. flag of Kalkar described by Stadler 1972, p.57).
This variant of the gate has an open door with a half-closed portcullis. The three towers have altogether eight open windows. There are also two embrasures shaped like crosses. The towers are neither topped by cross nor by the stars of St.Mary.
KLUDAS claims that the flag was used up to 1861. Meyer, Schultz and Paschke say furthermore that this pattern was used since 1751.
Sources: Arnold Kludas: Die Geschichte der deutschen Passagierschiffahrt (5 Bde.), Hamburg 1986; Reprint Laibach Slovenia-Buch Nr. 03617-8, flag chart p.222-224
Poster entitled: "Die geschichtliche Entwicklung der als deutsche Nationalflaggen auf See gefahrenen und von den seefahrenden Nationen anerkannten deutschen Kriegs- und Handelsflaggen",
engl: "The historical evolution of those German national flags used on ships and recognized as German war flags or merchant flags by the naval nations", edited by Deutsches Schifffahrtsmuseum Bremerhaven, 1981, based on an original version of Kapitän zur See a.D. Karl Schultz, all flags on the poster are painted by E. Paschke.
Jürgen Meyer: “Hamburger Segelschiffe von 1795-1945“; ISBN 3-89225-400-1; Hamburg 1999; cover inside
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 9 August 2008

Like the 17th-19th centuries flag, but with a white 6-pointed star above two outer towers. First officially adopted 14 May 1751, readopted 6 June 1834, 6 October 1897 and 6 June 1952. Illustrated in Pedersen 1970 no. 150 and Crampton 1990 p. 44.


Norman Martin, Jan-Feb 1998

Hamburg on French Flag Chart(reported 1756)

Flag#1

[Hamburg 1756 flag] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 1 Jun 2011

It is a red flag with three white towers with open gate ordered 2:1. The towers are shifted to the hoist. This one is denoted as flag of Hamburg.

Flag#2

[Hamburg 1756 blue flag] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 1 Jun 2011

It is a blue flag with three white towers with open gate ordered 2:1. The towers are shifted to the hoist. This one is denoted as other flag of Hamburg.

Flag#3

[Hamburg 1756 other flag] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 1 Jun 2011

It is a red flag with a yellow tower with open gate, masoned black and embattled. The tower is shifted to the hoist and topped by three torrets crowned by a flag each. The flags are pointing to the hoist. This one is also denoted as other flag of Hamburg.
Source: Bellin: "Tableau des Pavillons ou Bannieres que la pluspart des Nations arborent a la Mer" (1756), (Engl.: table of flags and banners which the major part(?) of the Nations hoists afloat),
spotted in Maritimes Museum of Hamburg on 25 September 2008
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 1 Jun 2011

Hamburg on Spanish Flag Chart

[Hamburg 1756 golden tower flag] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 1 Jun 2011

It is nearly the same like flag#3 above but the tower is centred and the gate is closed by a yellow door, thus reconfirming flag#3 from French chart reported also 1756:
Source: Banderas que las Naciones arbolan en la Mar (1756), (Engl.: Flags which the nations hoist afloat)
spotted in Military Museum of Sta. Cruz de Tenerife on 22 April 2008
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 1 Jun 2011

18th Century Flag(Reported 1769)

[Hamburg 1769]
by Jaume Ollé

Same as this 18th century flag, but field is blue.


Norman Martin, Jan-Feb 1998

blue 19th Century Flag (reported 1848, 1858 and 1865)

[Hamburg 1848, 1858 and 1865)] image by Jaume Ollé, 8 Jun 1996

Same as the 17th-19th centuries flag, but the sheet is blue.
Source: Illustrated in Smith 1975, p. 117.
Norman Martin, Jan 1998

Hamburg Merchant Ensign - Model 1837 (reported 1855)

[Hamburg merchant ensign 1837] 2:3 image by Klaus-Michael Schneider,

Hamburg merchant ensign - model 1837
It was a red flag with ratio 2:3, showing a white castle with blue tower windows, a partially open white portcullis flanked by two red spyholes and masoned at the bottom. The castle was shifted to the hoist that way that the outer tower was in the middle of the flag. Above the towers there was empty space between 1/6 and 1/5 ot total height. The total height of the castle was between 3/5 and 2/3 of total height. Furthermore the base of the castle had to be a line, the central tower should be topped by a cross (his image doesn't match this detail) and stars upon the other towers were forbidden in order to avoid a misinterpretation as a symbol of rank. As no special law was made, modifications were allowed, if "they wouldn't alloy the overall impression". This means in practice that the castle often was masoned completely. Furthermore it is explicitly mentioned that also the use ashore was permitted, also as civil flag.
Source:Gaedechens 1855, p.42ff
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 13 Sep 2012

Hamburg 1861 - 1868

[Hamburg 1861 - 1868 flag] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 9 August 2008

Description of flag:
It is a red flag with a white Hamburg-gate in its centre. In this pattern the door is closed and the towers are topped as usual by a cross (centre) and the well known 6-point-stars of St.Mary. The central tower here is not higher than both others. The corners of the basement are rounded and you can recognize brickwork on the flyend sides of the basement and all the three towers (partially masoned).
KLUDAS claims that the flag was used up to 1861. Meyer, Schultz and Paschke say furthermore that this pattern was used since 1751.
Sources: Arnold Kludas: Die Geschichte der deutschen Passagierschiffahrt (5 Bde.), Hamburg 1986; Reprint Laibach Slovenia-Buch Nr. 03617-8, flag chart p.222-224
Poster entitled: "Die geschichtliche Entwicklung der als deutsche Nationalflaggen auf See gefahrenen und von den seefahrenden Nationen anerkannten deutschen Kriegs- und Handelsflaggen",
engl: "The historical evolution of those German national flags used on ships and recognized as German war flags or merchant flags by the naval nations", edited by Deutsches Schifffahrtsmuseum Bremerhaven, 1981, based on an original version of Kapitän zur See a.D. Karl Schultz, all flags on the poster are painted by E. Paschke.
Jürgen Meyer: “Hamburger Segelschiffe von 1795-1945“; ISBN 3-89225-400-1; Hamburg 1999; cover inside
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 9 August 2008


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