Allan Line was a Scottish-Canadian shipping company founded by Captain Alexander Allan (1780-1854) with his newly purchased brigantine, Jean, which sailed from Greenock, Scotland, to Québec in 1819. In 1826 his second son, Hugh Allan, came to Montréal and developed a successful shipping business there; in 1839 Hugh was joined by a younger brother, Andrew. Two other brothers established offices in Greenock and Liverpool. In 1854 the Allan consortium incorporated the Montreal Ocean Steamship Company, which in 1856 won the government mail contract from Montréal to Liverpool.
With innovative engineering and design the Allan ships prospered on the Atlantic and other trade routes. The first steel liner to sail the Atlantic was the Allan Line's Buenos Ayrean in 1880. After the turn of the century the company had difficulty financing new ships and was sold to Canadian Pacific Steamships Ltd in 1909.
See also Shipping Industry.