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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

Photo # NH 103915:  USS K.I. Luckenbach arriving at New York, 1919

Online Library of Selected Images:
-- U.S. NAVY SHIP TYPES --

WORLD WAR I ERA TRANSPORTS --
Converted Freighters of the 1916-1919 Luckenbach Steamship Company Type

Ten of the U.S. Navy's WWI era transports were converted from freighters originally constructed in 1916-1919 for the Luckenbach Steamship Company. Of three different, but similar, designs, these were handsome and distinctive ships that, except for their "plumb" bows, looked much like freighters built a generation later. Long oval cutouts in the sides of their blocky midships superstructures provide an excellent way to differentiate them from their more prosiac contemporaries.

Six of these ships, all bearing the names of Luckenbach family members, entered U.S. Navy service in 1918 and operated as freighters until late in that year or early in 1919. They were then modified for troop transport duties, with externally visible additions including portholes in hull sides and temporary houses installed on the decks aft of, and in some cases, in front of the superstructure.

The other four, all built at Chester, Pennsylvania, were not completed until 1919 and were converted to transports at that time. Initially, they had names that probably were assigned by the U.S. Shipping Board, but at least three received typical Luckenbach names after completing their Navy service.

This page features a table (with links to individual ships) of World War I era U.S. Navy transports converted from freighters of the 1917-1919 Luckenbach Steamship Companyh Type, plus a photograph of each ship in this group.


Click each ship name to access that ship's complete Online Library entry.

Click the small photographs to prompt a larger view of the same image, and the words "Picture Data" to access the Picture Data Sheet for that image.


Ships in this group:

TEN SHIPS, all having a single smokestack and flush-deck hulls with low bulwarks forward, amidships and aft. They had cruiser sterns and distinctive oval cutouts in the sides of block superstructures two levels high (plus pilothouse). Arrangement of masts, kingposts and smokestacks separates ships constructed by different builders:


Five ships, built by the Fore River Shipyard (Bethlehem Steel Co.) at Quincy, Massachusetts. Their dimensions indicate that they were of two different, but virtually identical designs. All served as U.S. Navy cargo ships before conversion to transports.
Arrangement of kingposts, masts and smokestacks (funnels): K-M-K-F-K-M-K

  • Edward Luckenbach, USN 1918-1919 (ex-American S.S. Edward Luckenbach, 1916).
    8151 Gross Tons; Length 436.6'; Breadth 57.2'
  • Julia Luckenbach, USN 1918-1919 (ex-American S.S. Julia Luckenbach, 1917).
    8151 Gross Tons; Length 436.6'; Breadth 57.2'

     USS Edward Luckenbach, before transport conversion:

    Picture Data

     USS Julia Luckenbach, 1919:


    Picture Data

  • F.J. Luckenbach, USN 1918-1919 (ex-American S.S. F.J. Luckenbach, 1917).
    8074 Gross Tons; Length 446.0'; Breadth 56.1'
  • K.I. Luckenbach, USN 1918-1919 (ex-American S.S. K.I. Luckenbach, 1918).
    8074 Gross Tons; Length 446.0'; Breadth 56.1'
  • Katrina Luckenbach, USN 1918-1919 (ex-American S.S. Katrina Luckenbach, 1918).
    8074 Gross Tons; Length 446.0'; Breadth 56.1'

     USS F.J. Luckenbach, 1919:

    Picture Data

     USS K.I. Luckenbach, 1919:

    Picture Data

     S.S. Katrina Luckenbach, before U.S. Navy service:

    Picture Data



    Four ships, built by the Sun Shipbuilding Company at Chester, Pennsylvania. All entered U.S. Navy service as transports.
    Arrangement of kingposts, masts and smokestacks (funnels): K-KM-K-F-K-KM-K
    All kingpost tops are fitted with ventilation cowls.

  • Marica, USN 1919-1919 (ex-American S.S. Marica, 1919).
    8775 Gross Tons; Length 448.9'; Breadth 60.2'
  • Sol Navis, USN 1919-1919 (ex-American S.S. Sol Navis, 1919).
    8775 Gross Tons; Length 448.9'; Breadth 60.2'
  • South Bend, USN 1919-1919 (ex-American S.S. South Bend, 1919).
    8738 Gross Tons; Length 448.9'; Breadth 60.2'
  • Eddelyn, USN 1919-1919 (ex-American S.S. Eddelyn, 1919).
    8775 Gross Tons; Length 448.9'; Breadth 60.2'
    We have no photographs of this ship, but her builder, dimensions and other recorded characteristics place her in this sub-grouping. Note: Some sources give her name as "Edellyn".

     USS Marica, 1919:

    Picture Data

     Transport Sol Navis, 1919:

    Picture Data

     USS South Bend, 1919:


    Picture Data



    One ship, built by the Seattle Construction and Dry Dock Company at Seattle, Washington. Served as a U.S. Navy cargo ship before conversion to a transport.
    Arrangement of kingposts, masts and smokestacks (funnels): K-K-K-F-K-K-K

  • Walter A. Luckenbach, USN 1918-1919 (ex-American S.S. Walter A. Luckenbach, 1918).
    8286 Gross Tons; Length 446.5'; Breadth 56.1'

     USS Walter A. Luckenbach, 1919:

    Picture Data


    Note: Another Luckenbach Steamship Company freighter also served as a U.S. Navy Transport. However, her appearance was significantly different from the ships listed above. Accordingly, USS Edgar F. Luckenbach is treated in the Miscellaneous and Unidentified Types section of this presentation.


    If you want higher resolution reproductions than the digital images presented here, see: "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."


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    Page made 25 March 2007
    Text corrected 14 August 2007