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Tonnelier & Schepens (Shipping company, Belgium)

Last modified: 2006-11-19 by ivan sache
Keywords: tonnelier and schepens | hand (red) | letter: t (white) | letter: s (red) |
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[House flag of Tonnelier]

House flag of Tonnelier & Schepens - Images by Eugene Ipavec, 6 August 2006

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Presentation of Tonnelier & Schepens

G. Tonnelier and partner F(rans) Schepens are presented by by G. Devos & S. Vanfraechem (Volle kracht vooruit! Een eeuw Antwerpse Scheepvaartvereniging. Full steam ahead! A century Antwerp Shipping Federation. Pandora, Ghent, 2001) as steamship owners as well as insurance brokers and agents for companies (Deutsche Levante Linie, Russo-Belge Donetz Line, Estrella Brasileira Line). They are forwarding agents, freight contractors and coal and patent fuel merchants as well.
Apparently both men were important figures in Antwerp shipping as Schepens was second vice-chairman for the FMA (the ASF in the book's title) and Tonnelier, a liberal MP for nine years, was influential in getting a new sea lock built (in use 1908).
In 1918, on the ASF's first meeting in London - having refused to operate during the occupation 1914-1918 - had L. Tonnelier as participant and he may have been the son of G. but confusingly, the company name is rendered as A. Tonnelier in the ASF's 1925 list of members as reproduced by Devos & Vanfraechem on p. 52.
I have not been able to find much more on this firm (dates of foundation/end of activities, for instance, or routes operated). But around 1900 an errand boy, Alfons de Ridder, briefly worked for the company. Under the pen name of Willem Elsschot he would become one of the masters of Dutch literature.

Jan Mertens, 25 January 2006

House flag of Tonnelier & Schepens

A brochure withdrawn from eBay Belgium shows the house flag of Tonnelier & Schepens, anc. (i.e. formerly) G. Tonnelier (no indication of time period). The flag is divided by a rising diagonal, having the upper (hoist) part red and the lower one (fly) white, and bearing a white shield with a red upright hand, thumb on the right, in the centre. Moreover the red triangle bears a white seriffed initial T, the white triangle a red serifed initial S. It looks as if the shield has been given a black holding line.
The Antwerp city arms and colours have been the obvious source for the flag design.

Jan Mertens, 25 January 2006