The house flag of White Star Line. A swallow-tailed red pennant with a five-pointed white star. The flag is made of a wool and synthetic fibre bunting. It has a cotton hoist and is machine sewn. A rope is attached.
White Star Line, best known for ownership of the ill-fated 'Titanic', was purchased by Thomas Henry Ismay in 1868 at the time of the company's bankruptcy. White Star Line was founded 23 years earlier to run from the Australian gold fields to Britain. The distinctive house flag, a red burgee with a five-pointed white star, came with the name and was flown on Ismay's ships on the revived service to Australia and New Zealand.
In 1869 an association between Liverpool businessmen and Ismay led to the creation of a new steamship company, with ships built by the Belfast firm of Harland and Wolff. The Oceanic Steam Navigation Company became the official name for the White Star Line. These beautiful steamers entered the fiercely competitive world of the transatlantic passenger trade, and later through to India using the Suez Canal. By 1891 White Star Line held the Blue Ribband for the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the New Zealand trades. Speed and their policy of customer comfort meant that by 1900 it was one of the world's most profitable shipping lines.
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