Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ad: White Star Line

1929 White Star Line (IMM)

For anyone who has any in depth knowledge of the Titanic disaster, you will know that she was owned by the White Star Line.  The company was formed in 1869 as the Oceanic Steamship Navigation Company under the direction of Bruce Ismay.  The line survived this way until it was absorbed into the International Mercantile Marine Company in 1902.  Around this time the Company started plans on a 3 ship Olympic Class that would be more luxurious than the Cunard Steamers Mauretania and Lusitania.  Everyone knows the Titanic struck an iceberg in April 1912 on her maiden voyage and this was the end of Bruce Ismay as managing director as he was never able to live down the stigma of saving himself while so many others had died that night.

White Star had a string of Bad luck during World War I, losing no less than 7 ships to German U-Boats and mines including the Britannic in 1916 which had been taken by the English Government in 1915 and converted to use as a hospital ship.  By 1927 White Star was purchased by The Royal Mail Packet Steamship Company and it is during this time that the advertisement above was produced.  In 1929 the company was seemingly getting back into stride again and business was favourable but this was not to last as the world plunged into The Great Depression after the Stock Market Crash of '29.

From 1930 until 1933 the White Star Line encountered increasing financial difficulties.  Faced with lower revenues and an aging fleet of vessels she was finally forced to merge with her longtime competitor, Cunard in 1934.  Today the White Star line lives on only as a expression of the service offered on Cunard Line vessels.  Bruce Ismay however would be happy with that as the longtime business model for the line had always been luxurious service second to none.

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