140 Years Of A German Family Of Shipowners
Heinrich Christian Horn (1837-1899) was born in Kiel and moved to Schleswig, a town that was then part of Denmark, some fifteen miles south of Flensburg, in 1860. He settled into a house with a nearby factory building for the production of matches four years later, in the same year that Schleswig became part of Prussia instead of Denmark. He also began to trade in commercial goods such as fish from Scotland, and from coal from England from 1869. This led to a move into shipping in 1879, when he took over three small craft carrying goods and passengers on the river Schlei, which stretches for twenty miles from the Baltic near Kappeln and Arnis to the town of Schleswig. The summer passenger trade on the Schlei was complemented by the winter trades in coal.
In 1881, H. C. Horn sought partners interested in forming a larger shipping partnership, a Partenreederei, for the trades in fish and coal across the North Sea. He had been made the Swedish-Norwegian consul in 1871, and was thus well known in the town with people keen to buy shares in the new partnership. A small cargo ship of 563 grt and able to carry six hundred tonnes of cargo was ordered from the H. F. Ulrichs yard in Vegesack, with a steam engine of 240 horse power for the construction cost of 185,000 Deutsche marks. Stadt Schleswig was launched on 21st August 1883 at Vegesack, and made her maiden voyage across the North Sea to Scotland to load salted fish and coal. She arrived back in her home town and was greeted by the partners and citizens of Schleswig.
The second cargo ship was named Therese Horn of 603 grt when delivered in 1888 at a construction cost of 183,000 Deutsche marks from the Rostock Shipbuilding and Engineering yard. The return on the investment by the partners in the first two years gave a useful yield of between 14% and 20% during this period of trading. The third vessel was Minna Horn of 699 grt, also from the Rostock Shipbuilding and Repairing yard, and the fourth and fifth vessels were Marie Horn of 1,217 grt and Franz Horn of 1,509 grt and 2,300 dwt from the Neptun A. G. yard during 1896/98. The founder, Heinrich Christian Horn, died in 1899 aged 62 years, and his widow Therese Horn took over the shipping company during the years from 1899 to 1903, which was then passed to the elder son, Henry Horn.
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