North German Lloyd

The North German Lloyd (NGL) Company was the second German line of transatlantic steamships. The company was founded in Bremen, Germany in 1857 and was led by H.H. Meier. The New York line, via Southampton, began in June 1858. By 1866, NGL was running a weekly service with a fleet of fourteen steamers under its flag. By 1874, the westward passage from Southampton averaged 11 days and 13 hours. The eastward passage was about 29 hours faster. In 1893, NGL operated a global fleet that included 80 steamships across 3 classes: Express Steamers – 11, Government Mail Steamers – 14, Passenger and cargo steamers – 55. SS Neckar was part of the Government Mail Steamer class.

From 1857 through 1881, NGL made 3313 voyages across the Atlantic carrying over one million passengers. While the advent of steam propulsion made transatlantic passage safer and more reliable over sailing ships, these excursions were still often quite harrowing.