A. H. Bull & Company
Steamships From New York to Puerto Rico
Archibald Hilton Bull founded the A. H. Bull & Co. in 1902. The company originally ran steamship lines from New York to Florida. Eventually A. H. Bull & Co. expanded to include an office in Baltimore. In the early 1900s, when Baltimore’s steamship industry was booming, A. H. Bull & Co. faced opposition from competitors. Steamship companies vied for control over the Puerto Rican trade and in 1913 Bull accused his competitors of monopolizing the Puerto Rican steamship routes. According to Bull, his competitors were undercutting his steamship line in order to force the Bull Line out of the Puerto Rican trade.
In the early 1920s, Captain Duke Adams took over management of A. H. Bull’s Baltimore offices which the company then renamed “Adams & Co”. Although the company office name changed, “Adams & Co.” remained under the management of the A. H. Bull Company. The Bull Line continued to grow and purchase other steamship lines such as the insular line in 1914, the Puerto Rico- American steamship company in 1925, and the Baltimore Carolina line in 1929. As a result of the company’s expansion, in 1929 A. H. Bull & Co. moved their Baltimore office to pier 5 in order to accommodate their increased business.
During the 1940s, the Bull Company bought one more steamship line known as the Clyde-Mallory Line before beginning to decline in the 1950s. The company remained a family-owned business until 1953 when the Bull family sold the company to American Coal Shipping. Manuel K. Kulukundis was the final owner of the A. H. Bull Steamship Company and in 1963 A. H. Bull went out of business.
Today the A. H. Bull & Co. steamship line no longer exists, but looking out in the inner harbor one can imagine the fleet of A. H. Bull steamships carrying passengers from as far north as New York to as far south as Puerto Rico.