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Sloman (German Shipping Companies)

Sloman Reedereien in Hamburg und Bremen

Last modified: 2012-07-22 by klaus-michael schneider
Keywords: sloman | joergensen | bode | heydorn | dr union | alster ag | soendenfjelds norske | sloman-austral | sloman-neptun | neptun dsg |
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[R.M. Sloman - current (2001)] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 15 Feb 2007 See also:

The Slomans

.
Sloman is the oldest Hamburg shipping company which ran sailing ships even in the 20th century. The forefather of this family was William Sloman, an English captain who came to Hamburg with his family in 1785. he gained the status of a Hamburg citizen in 1791 and established his first company in 1798 as a ship broker. He died in 1800 and left two sons: William Palgrave Sloman and Robert Miles Sloman, the latter then 17 years old. The inherited not only the ship broker business but also a few sailing ships. Though William Sloman was a citizen of Hamburg he as a ship broker was not allowed to settle down as a merchant or shipowner by Hamburgian laws. But he found his way how to deal with those laws.
After the treaty of Amiens (25 March 1802) Robert Miles went to Antwerpen(today Belgium) to found a shipbroking-company. As war broke out again Sloman had to return to Hamburg. Times were restless and Napoleon I blocked the harbour of Hamburg (Continental Blockade). So Sloman moved his business to Tönning at the mouth of river Eider, which was Danish in those days. All this was too exciting for William Palgrave. He died in 1811.
The Treaty of Amiens, signed on 25 March 1802 by France and Britain, ended the Second Coalition against France and was a personal victory for Premier Consul Napoléon Bonaparte. France abandoned the control of the seas to Britain but increased its continental power. However, the conquests of the French Republic (Belgium and the port of Antwerp, the left bank of the Rhine) were not addressed by the treaty and left for a next war.
Under pressure of Napoleon I. Denmark had to join the Continental System, a not very successful embargo set up against the United Kingdom by Emperor Napoléon Berlin Decree, 21 November 1806; Milan Decree, 23 November 1807; suppression of the system by the Provisory Government, 4 April 1814. And suddenly the trading in Tönning died, just flourished.
1814 Sloman could re-open his shipping business, at first in Cuxhaven where he became English consul. When French troops had to give up Hamburg, Sloman returned. But he was a poor man then because his last ship sailing under English colours was confiscated by the French and not insured properly. The Hamburgian laws kept the same and as a broker Sloman was again forbidden to act as a ship owner. So his captains, who owned parts of the ships founded ghost-shipping-companies (e.g.  Claus Heydorn).
In 1812 the oldest son Robert Miles jr. was born and when he got married in 1838 he gained the ship broking business from his father as a gift. During that Robert Miles jr. became participator or shareholder of various shipping companies. The company exists still today but is no longer a shipping company.

Friedrich Loesener Sloman was a grandson of Robert Miles Sloman jr. and a participator of Robert M. Sloman jr. as he founded his own company in 1905 and established a shipping line from Tönning to Australia. Konferenzlinien, a competitor manged however that Sloman was not able to gain any profit from his company. As he lost one ship by accident he gave up the company in 1908 and to avoid bankruptcy he established with his last two ships the Reederei-Gesellschaft "Nord" m.b.H. which was given up in 1910. There were also connections to Hubert Bode.
Final result: As a Hamburg shipowner you are either a Sloman or his Strohmann(=strawman).
Source: Jürgen Meyer: "Hamburger Segelschiffe von 1795-1945"; ISBN 3-89225-400-1; Hamburg 1999; p.16ff and 205.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 31 Mar 2007 and Ivan Sache, 6 Apr 2007


The Sloman Flags according to Hieke

Model 1835

[R.M. Sloman 1835] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 18 May 2012

Robert Miles Sloman, the elder and Robert miles Sloman the younger (since 1835). It is a dark blue flag. In the centre is a white Hamburg castle. In each corner is a white 5-point star.

The 5-point stars in the corners of Sloman flags had been placed there as a defence against mischiefs. They are considered to be pentacles (German: Drudenfüße), even though they are no pentagrams. A "Drud" is some kind of witch within the entourage of pagan goddess of Holda, who is said to bring good luck. Sloman used this flag since 1806. And this version was also the houseflag of Robert Miles Sloman Jr. Rob M.Sloman & Co. used 6-point stars since 1881, those were also in the houseflags of Rob M. Slomans Mittelmeer Dampfschiffahrt and Rob M. Slomans Baltische Dampfschiffahrt
Source: Ernst Hieke: "Geschichte des Hauses Sloman (..), 175 Jahre seit Gründung der Reederei", edited by order of the Sloman board, being vol. 30 of "Veröffentlichungen der Wirtschaftsgeschichtlichen Forschungsstelle e. V.", Hamburg, 1968, p.134ff.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 9 Jul 2012

Model 1872

[R.M. Sloman 1872/1927] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 18 May 2012

It is a dark blue flag. In the centre is a white Hamburg castle. In each corner is a white 6-point star. This was the flag of: Rob M. Sloman & Co. (1872-1955), Rob.M.Sloman's Mittelmeerlinie (1901-1917) and was restored for Rob.M. Sloman Jr. (1927-1955).

Model 1917

[R.M. Sloman 1917] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 18 May 2012

Rob M. Sloman Jr. (1917-1927). It is a dark blue flag. In the centre is a white Hamburg castle. In each corner is a white annulet containing successively the white initials "R M S Jr".

Model 1955

[R.M. Sloman 1955] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 18 May 2012

It is a dark blue flag. In the centre is a white Hamburg castle. In each corner is a white 5-point star. The castle, especially the door is slightly modified.
Source: Ernst Hieke: "Geschichte des Hauses Sloman (..), 175 Jahre seit Gründung der Reederei", edited by order of the Sloman board, being vol. 30 of "Veröffentlichungen der Wirtschaftsgeschichtlichen Forschungsstelle e. V.", Hamburg, 1968, p.35 (all flags above)
On p.148 is a remark, that the "Australia Sloman Linie AG" also used a flag with 6-point stars in the corners.


The Sloman Flags according to other sources

Rob M. Sloman - current flag

Rob M. Sloman Jr. - It is a dark blue flag (FIAV-Code B++) with white 5-point-stars in each corner, in the centre of the flag is a modified Hamburg castle, that is known e.g. from the flag of the City of Hamburg. In this version the gate has a closed door, the basement is masoned, the central tower is topped by a cross, both others by a 6-point-star. On the flyend sides of each tower are three vertical parallels, simulating a shadow.
As far as I know the company is nowadays no longer a shipping company but a mere freight and cargo company.
Source: I spotted this flag on top of the Sloman building in Hamburg on 14 April 2001
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 15 Feb 2007

F.L. Sloman & Co.

[F.L. Sloman & Co.] image by Jarig Bakker, 9 May 2004 F.L. Sloman & Co., Hamburg. Blue flag, white castle under two white 8-pointed stars; in all corners a white 5-pointed star. Below the castle a white swan.
Source: Loughran, 1979: A Survey of Mercantile Houseflags & Funnels.
Jarig Bakker, 9 May 2004

R.M. Sloman & Co.

[R.M. Sloman & Co.] image by Jarig Bakker, 9 May 2004

R.M. Sloman & Co., Hamburg. Blue flag, white castle under two white 8-point stars; in all corners a white 6-point star.
Source: Loughran, 1979: A Survey of Mercantile Houseflags & Funnels.
Jarig Bakker, 9 May 2004

R.M. Sloman - variant

[R.M. Sloman - variant] image by Jorge Candeias, 5 Jan 2005

My source shows the same flag, which demonstrates that the company was active well before 1930, but with some differences: the castle seems to show masonry, and the stars in the corners are 5-point instead of 6-point. The other differences between the two images come from my reconstruction of what's on my source - attending to the quality of the images here, errors are natural. Oh, and the caption seems to read "Rob M. Sloman" this time.
Jorge Candeias, 5 Jan 2005

Rob M. Sloman variant #3

[Another Rob M. Sloman flag] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 1 Mar 2009

Rob M. Sloman Jr. (Variant #3)
It was  a dark blue flag with the white castle of Hamburg in its centre. In the corners of the flag are no stars but white circles with white letters inside. The letters are "R"( upper hoist), "M" (upper fly), "S" (lower hoist) and "Jr" (lower fly).
Source: Lloyd- Reedereiflaggen der Welthandelsflotte; published by Martin Brinkmann Cigarette Manufacturer; Bremen; ca. 1930, confirmed by Jan Mertens, who has sent to me a scan of Hieke's Sloman book “Die Entwicklung der Reedereiflagge von 1835 bis 1968”
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 1 Mar 2009

R.M. Sloman - reported 1861

[R.M. Sloman - 1798 - 1861] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 9 Aug 2008

From the beginning in 1798 until 1861 it was a blue flag with a white Hamburg-gate in its centre. The flag shows the same pattern of the gate as the cities flag (version 1751-1861) but not shifted to the hoist. In each corner of the flag is a white 5-point star.
Source: Arnold Kludas": "Die Geschichte der deutschen Passagierschiffahrt" (5 vols.) Hamburg 1986; Reprint Laibach Slovenia-Buch Nr. 03617-8flag chart on p.222-224
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 9 Aug 2008

Sloman - Austral - Linie

[Sloman - Austral Linie] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 9 Aug 2008

It is a blue flag with a white Hamburg-gate in its centre. In each corner of the flag is a white 6-point star. In this version the gate is very narrow, has a closed door and the central tower is slightly higher.
Source: Arnold Kludas": "Die Geschichte der deutschen Passagierschiffahrt" (5 vols.) Hamburg 1986; Reprint Laibach Slovenia-Buch Nr. 03617-8flag chart on p.222-224
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 9 Aug 2008

R.M. Sloman Jr. reported 1912

[R.M.Sloman Jr. reported 1912] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 18 May 2012

It is a dark blue flag. In the centre is a white masoned Hamburg castle with broad base and topped by 5-point stars and cross. In each corner is a white 6-point star. This version is probably erroneous, because the stars on top of the tower are considered 6-point symbolizing St.Mary. Source: Lloyds 1912 , image no.1099
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 18 May 2012

R.M. Sloman Jr. reported 1912

[Rob M. Sloman Jr. rep.1924] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 8 Jul 2007

The letters in each corner are blue on white discs.
Source: Otto Mathies: "Hamburgs Reederei 1814 - 1914", Hamburg 1924, p.193
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 8 Jul 2007

Shipping Companies affiliated with Sloman


Actiengesellschaft "Alster" (light blue flag)

[Actiengesellschaft "Alster" (light blue flag)] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider,

It is a light blue flag. In the centre is a white flying seagull. In each corner is a white 6-point star.
Source: based on a scan of Jorge Candeias
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 18 May 2012

Actiengesellschaft "Alster" ("seagull" flag)

[Actiengesellschaft "Alster" (Alster A.G. / seagull flag)] image by Jorge Candeias, 14 May 2004

This flag is blue with some kind of bird with spread wings in the center and 4 stars, looking suspiciously 6-pointed, in the corners, all white.
My image can't be considered anything but the sketch of a reconstruction, since the original image is so blurry and I couldn't find another source for this flag or for the central bird. I can't say weather it's an eagle, a seagull, or even a pigeon, for that matter...
The caption, though, is almost clear: seems to read something in the lines of "Alster A.G."
Jorge Candeias, 14 May 2004

Actiengesellschaft "Alster" (swan flag#1)

[Actiengesellschaft "Alster" (swan flag#1)] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider,

The company existed from 1898 to 1913. It is a dark blue flag. In the centre is a rising swan with white lining above white waves. In each corner is a white 5-point star.
Source: Ernst Hieke: "Rob.M. Sloman Jr.", Hamburg 1968; p.35
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 18 May 2012

Aktiengesellschaft "Alster"

[Aktiengesellschaft Alster (swan flag#2)] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 3 Apr 2007

cktiengesellschaft ""Alster" - The company was established in 1898 and the most important shareholder was Rob M. Sloman. Sloman sold his shares in 1912 to the company "E.C.Schramm&Co." in Bremen and that was the end of the company.
The company used a typical Sloman flag; i.e. a dark blue flag (FIAV-code B++) with a white 5-point star in each corner. In the centre was a dark blue swan spreading his wings and facing the flyend.
Source: Jürgen Meyer: ""Hamburger Segelschiffe von 1795-1945" ;ISBN 3-89225-400-1; Hamburg 1999; p.187ff.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 3 Apr 2007


DR Union

[DR Union] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 9 Aug 2008

DR Union - It is a blue flag with a red serifed capital "U" in its centre. In each corner of the flag is a white 6-pointed star.
I believe that this company is another subsidiary or strawman of Sloman, because the flag has a typical Sloman pattern. It is the same flag like that one of Sloman but with a "U" instead of the gate. Furthermore both companies have, according to source, the same funnels.  It is a black funnel with a green ring.
Unfortunately I haven’t got any further information. I believe that the full name might be "Deutsche Reederei Union".
Source: Arnold Kludas: "Die Geschichte der deutschen Passagierschiffahrt" (5 Bde.), Hamburg 1986; Reprint Laibach Slovenia-Buch Nr. 03617-8, flag chart on p.222-224
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 9 Aug 2008

Union Linie (DR Union), a joint venture von Sloman and Carr (but which one?), was established not before 1883. In 1888 the HAPAG overtook the sahres of Carr by buying his ships and in 1905 the line was completely overtaken by HAPAG.
Source: Ernst Hieke: "Rob.M. Sloman Jr.", Hamburg 1968; p.134ff.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 9 Jul 2012


C.M.D. Jörgensen (red castle)

[C.M.D.Jörgensen (red castle)] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 22 Mar 2007 C.M.D.Jörgensen - Captain Carl Martin Daniel Jörgensen was inspector in Rob M. Sloman jrs'.company. For certain reasons Sloman sometimes used Jörgensen's name for his own purposes and his own ships. The ships sailed on the so called "Berth-line" from Australia to the Pacific-coast of South America. In 1883 Jörgensen bought his first own ship from England. The last ship was sold in 1901 to Scandinavia. The company was dissolved in 1912. The company used a black and red flag divided by saltire. In its centre was a white disc with a red Hamburg-castle therein.
Source: Jürgen Meyer: "Hamburger Segelschiffe von 1795-1945" ; ISBN 3-89225-400-1; Hamburg 1999; p.140-141.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 22 Mar 2007

Carl Martin Daniel Jörgensen (grey castle)

[Carl Martin Daniel Jörgensen grey castle] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider,

Connect this to Jarig’s message of 17 Oct 2006 titled “FDFC: Sloman and AAG (DE)”, referring to a Swiss eBay offer (book): "Geschichte des Hauses Sloman
(..), 175 Jahre seit Gründung der Reederei. (...) Herausgegeben im Auftrage des Vorstandes von Dr. phil. Ernst Hieke, gleichzeitig Band 30 der Veröffentlichungen der Wirtschaftsgeschichtlichen Forschungsstelle e. V., Hamburg. Verlag Hanseatischer Merkur !! 1968“ i.e. - briefly- a history of the Sloman companies by E. Hieke.

On the web was a flag page from that book, with Jarig's comment: “"Right center is an unknown flag quartered per saltire black and red, with in center a white disk charged with a black outlined castle."  (A pity the captions were/are unclear.)..
So we have a problem here, Klaus-Michael’s source giving a red castle ("gate") and the other one, a dark (grey?) one, with black outlines. Which is right? While Hieke’s book is perhaps more authoritative, Klaus-Michael’s castle has better visibility.
Jan Mertens, 11 Apr 2007

The company existed from 1883 to 1902.The flag is divided per saltire into red (hoist and fly) and black (top and bottom). In the centre is a white disc containing probably white Hamburg castle with black lining and hatching. Jan Mertens provided us with a scan of this flag earlier. My opinion is, that Hieke didn't know the proper colour in 1968, so he chose a castle with hatching.
Please note that the castle is reported as red in "Gratis Beilage zu Deicken und Behrmann's Neuen Monatsheften Neue Ausgabe Sommer 1897" and also by Jürgen Meyer.
Source: Ernst Hieke: "Rob.M. Sloman Jr.", Hamburg 1968; p.35
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 18 May 2012


Hubert Bode

[Hubert Bode] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 22 Mar 2007

Hubert Bode - 1905 a line from Hamburg to Australia was open. Hubert Bode pretended being shipowner of two ships but according two Lloyds the Reederei-Gesellschaft "Nord" was owner of the two ships. It seems that Bode at first was only a ghost trader for F.L.Sloman and indeed his company flag is of the same type like the Sloman flags but with inverted colours. In a white flag are blue capital letters "HB" in the centre and a blue 5-point star in each corner. In 1907 he became owner of Reederei "Nord".
Source: Jürgen Meyer: "Hamburger Segelschiffe von 1795-1945" ISBN 3-89225-400-1; Hamburg 1999; p.205ff.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 22 Mar 2007


Claus Heydorn

[Claus Heydorn] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 22 Mar 2007

Claus Heydorn - The only thing I know about Claus Heydorn is, that he ran the vessel JOHANNA MATHILDA from 1869-1874 together with Rob M. Sloman. The flag is somehow an inverted Sloman flag. In the centre of a white cloth is a blue Hamburg-castle and in each corner is a blue 6-point star.
Source: Jürgen Meyer: "Hamburger Segelschiffe von 1795-1945"; ISBN 3-89225-400-1; Hamburg 1999; p.23.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 22 Mar 2007


Söndenfjelds Norske DS (Rob M. Sloman)

[Söndenfjelds Norske DS] image by Ivan Sache, 25 Apr 2012

In the centre of the red flag is a blue 8-point star fimbriated white. Source:
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 25 Apr 2012


Sloman and Neptun

Sloman Neptun Schiffahrts-Aktiengesellschaft

[R.M. Sloman - current (2001)] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 15 Feb 2007

The company is located in Bremen. In 1973 the Sloman Group of Hamburg, privately owned and in shipping business since 1793, acquired the majority of the shares of DSG "Neptun" and merged both fleets. The company was renamed as "Sloman Neptun Schiffahrts-Aktiengesellschaft"
Today Sloman Neptun operates some 19 modern units, gas tankers and dry cargo vessels. In addition to ship owning and operating Sloman Neptun, through affiliated companies, is engaged in various other shipping related fields. Mrs.Becker, (Sloman-Neptun) confirmed Neale Rosanoski's information, that the company has the same houseflag as Rob M. Sloman.
For further information click: company webpage
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 15 Feb 2007


Neptun Dampfschiffahrt

[DSG Neptun (Shipping Company, Germany)] image by Al Fisher

Dampfschiffahrts-Gesellschaft "Neptun". Horizontally striped, blue-yellow. Formed in 1873 it became Sloman Neptun Schiffahrts-Aktiengesellschaft in 1973 after the Sloman Group bought a 75% holding. The flag was replaced by that of Rob M. Sloman.
Neale Rosanoski, 13 Oct 2004

DSG "Neptun" was established to operate a line service between the River Weser and other North Europe, later on extended to the River Rhine and to the Iberian Peninsula. On 100th anniversary in 1973 the company operated a diversified fleet including liner ships, gas tankers, chemical tankers and research vessels.
Source: Sloman-Neptun webpage
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 15 Feb 2007


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