Imperator, Vaterland And Bismarck
The Hamburg Amerika Line (Hapag) was the greatest shipping company in the world when this trio of super liners was ordered in 1910. Albert Ballin (1859-1918) had achieved greatness for Hapag, and had shown great talent from an early age. He took over his father’s cargo and emigrant passenger business between Hamburg and New York in 1874 at the age of seventeen years. Four years later, his company handled one third of all the traffic from Germany to Liverpool and New York, the passengers originating from all over Germany and the Austro- Hungarian empire. In 1880, he began acting as the sole passenger agents for Carr Line, which was taken over by Hapag ten years later. In May 1886, under a five year contract, Albert Ballin, then aged 29 years, became the Head of the Passenger Department of Hapag and he went on to build up the company into a formidable force on the North Atlantic.
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