Moore-McCormack Leads the Way


1913 Moore and McCormack joined with J. P. Morgan and Robert Bacon to own their first vessel, the Barnstable.

A new era in Western Hemisphere shipping began one day in 1913 when the Montara steamed into Rio de Janeiro's harbor.  The ship, chartered by the then unknown firm of Moore & McCormack, was the first vessel flying the Stars and Stripes to visit that city in 26 years.  From that modest beginning has grown the service which helped so much to bring North and South America closer together in trade, travel and culture.

The Company played a major role in Herbert Hoover's food relief program through the handling of food shipments to Baltic countries and Russia and the first American flag service was established to Russian ports.

Completed assembled cars were first shipped to South America by Moore-McCormack.

The first sizeable shipments of fresh fruit were delivered to Scandinavian and South American markets.


1920s The first mass-produced steel vessels made in America were capable of 9 to 11 knots.  The Company converted these famous Hog Island vessels to many different uses.  The first refrigeration and greater speeds improved flexibility and service. 


1930s The first cargo vessel built under the Merchant Marine Act of 1936 was the Donald McKay.  With the acquisition of this cargo liner, Moore-McCormack became an operator of American flag vessels exclusively.

The S.S. Argentina, S.S. Brazil, and S.S. Uruguay were the first luxuriously appointed and regularly scheduled passenger vessels specially converted for South American service.  These were the first American flag passenger vessels to make the New York-Buenos Aires round trip in 38 days.  Their cruising speed was 18 knots.  New comfort, ideas and equipment anticipated the changing tastes of American travelers.  Moore-McCormack's three passenger vessels inaugurated the world famous Good Neighbor Fleet. 


1940s First extensive use of deep tanks for liquid cargoes, first use of packaged refrigeration equipment, first Cargoair system.

November 1940 - The Moore-McCormack liner, Rio Hudson, became the first United States merchant ship ever to be blessed formally at launching ceremonies.  The Right Rev. Francis M. Taitt, Bishop of the Pennsylvania Protestant Episcopal Diocese pronounced the benediction in the presence of 500 persons at the yards of the Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock Company at Chester, Pennsylvania.  Bishop Taitt read a prayer for the vessel, asking God to "grant that this ship may be a safeguard to our country and a security for such as pass on to the seas upon their lawful occasions."

In 1944 the S.S. Uruguay was selected to carry cadets from West Point to Baltimore on an indoctrination trip, becoming the largest ship to sail to the Point or to enter the port of Baltimore.

December 1949 - One of Mooremack's C-3 type cargo liners tested an "anti-collision sound detector" which was invented by George M. Marr, Chief of the Electrical Division of C.C. Galbraith & Son, Inc.  Its purpose was to bring to the navigator in the pilot house visual and audible indications of sound signals that are too faint to be heard by the human ear.  The "ears" of the apparatus were four supersonic, weatherproof microphones mounted outside the pilot house to cover the sea areas ahead, astern and on each beam.  Its "brain" indicated decibel meters located inside the house and under direct observation by the master or watch officer an an audible alarm actuated by the incoming signal.  The new sound detector, was not considered a substitute for radar, but did provide supersensitive ears as an adjunct to radar's supersensitive eyes.  Even without radar the equipment could prove to be an important aid to navigation and an anti-collision aid in thick weather.


In 1951 the Mormactide called at Kristiansund N. in Norway on her way to New York and loaded a cargo of frozen fish.  This was the first time a Mooremack ship had ever called at port, and she was the largest ship of any flag that had ever called there.  The port took on a holiday appearance for the event.

In 1951 The Mormacfir arrived at Stavanger, Norway, direct from the U.S.A., docked at the Strandkaien and discharged large quantities of mail.  Part of the mail was for Norway, but the bulk was destined for transshipment to other countries of Europe.  It was the largest shipment of transit mail to other countries which the Post Office in Stavanger ever received.

The largest shipment of coffee ever to arrive in the port of Seattle was unloaded in late March 1951 from the Mormacland, arousing the waterfront observers in that busy port and sending the experts to the record books and the newspaper cameramen traipsing down for close-up shots.  The ship carried 53,106 bags, a total of 3,125 tons, sources including Santos, Rio de Janeiro and Paranagua.  Most of the coffee was destined for Army consumption

A new dry chemical fire truck shipped in June 1951 from Philadelphia to Montevideo on the Mormactide.  This was manufactured by the Ansul Chemical Co., which described it as the largest ever made.  It cost $25,000, carried 3,000 pounds of dry chemical, had four 100-foot dry chemical lines and one high-powered dry chemical turret mount. 

December 1951 - The story of the 455-foot, 10,658 ton, S.S. Meredith Victory is one that "tops everything else in sheer drama."  It is the story of how Captain Leonard P. LaRue, his officers, and crew rescued 14,000+ North Korean refugees.  Captain LaRue, without hesitating in his decision and without his officers questioning his decision, loaded the refugees onto the Meredith Victory by using booms and makeshift elevators.  (Guiness Book of World Records has recognized the Meredith Victory as the Greatest Rescue by a Single Ship in History.) 

In early 1952 the first ship to use the new Pier 18 and the new warehouse No. 1 in New York was the Mormacgulf.  She unloaded two heavy lift kilns.

During spring 1955, the Mormacmail carried to Stockholm, for the Mosler Safe Company, the first drive-in banking unit ever purchased by a Scandinavian institution.  It was consigned to the Stockholm Enskilda Bank.   Later in late September, the Mormacmail was again the agent of a Mosler "first."  This time she was carrying the first night depository unit ever purchased by a Scandinavian bank, this time to the Svenska Handelsbanken, also of Stockholm.

In mid-June 1955, the Mormacspruce, commanded by Captain Andrew Horkovich, tied up at the up-and-coming port of Canaveral on Florida's east coast.  This was the first merchant ship to call at Canaveral.  Canaveral was 18 months old at the time.

Spring 1956 - First overseas coke from Boston loaded onto Mormacowl, made at Everett for delivery to Buenos Aires, Argentina, for use in making gas to replace British or German coke no longer available.

Late 1950s A new concept in sea travel was pioneered by constructing the S.S. Argentina and the S.S. Brasil as cruise ships for connoisseurs of travel.  The first time American flag vessels were designed with fin stabilizers to reduce roll and increase passenger comfort.  Other important innovations included automatic cargo conveyors, side port cargo gear, low pressure evaporators for production of fresh water, quick acting hydraulic hatch covers of new and original design.  Greater passenger comfort was achieved through completely draft-free air conditioning with individual cabin controls for passenger and crew, and cruising speeds of 23 knots or better.


Early 1960s Designated as "1624s," were the first ocean going vessels designed for Great Lakes service.  Other new ideas included the first extensive use of hydraulics for cargo handling, the first 75-ton booms and evaporators for production of all fresh water requirements.

1962 - The first shipment to Brasil in the Food for Peace program on March 20th of this year left on the Mormacteal  with Captain Timothy Harrington at the helm.

The first U.S. pushbutton cargoliner, the Mormacargo entered service in August 1964.

Middle 1960s Their Constellation class vessels are the first to use dry-cargo multiple hatch design techniques.  They also featured extra heavy lift booms, the highest capacity rig ever built in the U.S.  They are the first cargo vessels designed for 21 knot speed, made possible by a hull of ultimate efficiency and a steam power plant more efficient than any used on a cargo vessel.

The Company pioneered many techniques for the transportation of heavy equipment, refrigerated, dry, liquid and powdered products and many other cargoes.



(Music on this page is "Wine and Roses")


The CompanyOcean LinersCargo LinersInformationGuest BookE-Mail UsHOME