"I have just renamed my company Hypte Worms et Cie."
Hypolite Worms 1874


Capitulation of France in the war against Prussia (28 January),
Adolphe Thiers declared President of the French Republic (17 February) 

Plans to reorganise the Bordeaux branch in relation to the coal depots in La Rochelle and Angoulême. Negotiations over the renewal of the contract with the Holt shipping line, for which "the line will pay more than 2 million francs for Suez Canal transit rights". Contract secured via a bidding procedure with the Navy in Cherbourg (February). Henri Goudchaux transferred to London in a bid to win back the contracts lost by the Port Said branch (for example, the contract with Donald R. MacGregor of Leith in the face of aggressive competition and secure new clients (February-March).

Signature of the Treaty of Frankfurt with Germany annexing Alsace and Lorraine (10 May),
Paris Commune (18 March-22 May)

Company headquarters moved to Saint-Germain-en-Laye, at 4, Rue Napoléon (April-May) close to Versailles, the new seat of the government. Services resumed with the "Marie" from Bordeaux to Antwerp, via Le Havre. Purchase of the "President" in association with F. Mallet & Cie for operation on the Bordeaux-Le Havre-Hamburg line (May). Plans for the steamer "Séphora" to be placed in service in the Red Sea for shipments of coal to Jeddah and of coffee and livestock to the Abyssinian Coast (June-August). H. Goudchaux in Italy to prospect the market (July): contracts with various companies, including Austrian Lloyd.

Signature of an agreement with James Burness & Sons (June-July)

under the terms of which Burness would take charge of seeking potential clients in Britain for the sale of coal to Egypt, while the Maison Worms would represent Burness in Egypt. Port Said and Suez added to the list of their bunkering stations that already included Gibraltar, Malta, Aden, Point de Galle and Singapore. In return Worms would be able to quote prices for the whole of the Indian Trade Route (June-August). Contracts for 60,000 tonnes of coal with the Chemin de fer de l'Ouest (September-October). Renewal of the contract for the supply of coal to Port Said on behalf of the Navy (November). Plans to purchase a steamer to consolidate services on the Antwerp line under threat from competition at a time when affreightment charges were constantly increasing. Decision made by the Peninsular & Oriental Cy - P&O, whose business for coal in Egypt H. Worms was hoping to acquire, to send its ships through the Suez Canal (December). Total of 900,000 tonnes of coal despatched from Britain, representing 1/12th of the country's exports.

Purchase by H. Worms of the steamer "Erice", renamed the "Commandant-Franchetti" (January), and based in Bordeaux like the "Marie" and the small coastal steamer, "Suzanne". Offer of services to the Adria Steamship Company in Trieste to supply its steamers at the bunkering stations of James Burness & Sons in Gibraltar, Malta, Aden, Point de Galle, Singapore and Yokohama. Contract with the Dutch Steamship Company of Amsterdam for the supply of coal in Port Said.

Opening of an agency in Alexandria (February)

Voyage undertaken by the "Commandant-Franchetti" from Marseilles to Annaba (Bône) and Algiers. Acquisition by Worms of the business of the German Steam Shipping Cy in Port Said (April). Contract to refuel several of the vessels of the P&O on their return journey from the Far East, H. Worms informing the company that he was prepared to act as its agent in Port Said. Departure of the "Commandant-Franchetti" en route from Bordeaux to Sunderland, and then to Bremen, Newcastle, and Archangelsk, where it would take on board linen and tow for delivery to Dunkirk (May-July).

Signature of a new agreement with James Burness & Sons (July)

who thus became H. Worms exclusive agents in the United Kingdom for the sale of coal to steamers in Port Said and Suez. In return, H. Worms was their sole representative in Port Said and Suez for the sale of coal to steamers and the acquisition of new freights. Closure of the Marseilles branch under consideration (July). A merchant based in Egypt transferred to the Maison Worms a number of contracts, the most important of which being with the Egypt Minister of Finance for supplies in Constantinople to the Khédivié postal administration and to Suez, partly to the Navy, and partly for storage in Khédivié (September). "Commandant-Franchetti" set out from Bordeaux to Copenhagen and Kronstadt, where it became ice-bound (October-November) before making its way back to Dunkirk (December). In 1872, the Port Said branch delivered nearly three-quarters of the coal taken on board by the steamers transiting through the Suez Canal. It was the only company not to have coal on the beach and whose coal was indisputably of top quality."

Renewal of the agreements with Mr. Stapledon on behalf of the Holt and Rathborne shipping companies obtained only by making a major sacrifice on prices in the face of heavy competition on the banks of the Suez Canal (January-February). Delivery of 100,000 sleepers to the Egyptian Railways. List drawn up of companies to which coal was delivered by the Port Said branch: Canal Company, French Navy, Alfred Holt (Liverpool), Rathborne Bros., Austrian Lloyd, Adria Company (Trieste), Koninklijke Nederlandsche Stoomboot Maatschappij (Amsterdam), British India Steam Navigation (Glasgow), Peninsular & Oriental Cy, P. Henderson & Cy (Glasgow), John Fenwick & Son (London), T. Green & Cy (London), Donald Currie & Cy (London), German Steam Ship Cy (Hamburg). Appointment of Adolf Deppe as line representative between Bordeaux and Antwerp and as steamer shipping agent at Antwerp (April).

Resignation of Adolphe Thiers, replaced by Marshal Patrice de Mac-Mahon as Head of State

Coal shipped on board the "Commandant-Franchetti" from Grimsby to Alexandria, via Malta, returning with a consignment of grain (June-July), after which the ship set sail again for Alexandria with a consignment of railway sleepers loaded at Sète (August-October). Sale to Éd. Rosseeuw, Manager of the Port Said branch, of the steamer "Séphora" (August), which was to become the first regular shipping line flying the French flag to operate in the Red Sea. The vessel would set out from Suez carrying passengers (in particular pilgrims during the Hajj period) as well as coal and other goods to Jeddah and Hodeidah, filling up with coffee, cattle and products collected in Massaouah and Souakim on the Abyssinian Coast for the return. Contacts with the Messageries Maritimes with a view to fixing combined rates between ports in France, on the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, where sailings would be handled by the Company as far as Port Said, via the Canal to Suez, and "Séphora" would provide the remaining leg (September). Sale of the "Suzanne" in Bayonne and loss of the "Marguerite", which disappeared without trace. Decision to take Henry Josse, Manager of the Grimsby branch as an associate. Renewal of the act of incorporation of F. Mallet & Cie (December).

Voyage of the "Commandant-Franchetti" from Antwerp to Sunderland to fill up with coal bound for Bordeaux and Antwerp (February).

Establishment of the general partnership of "Hypte Worms and Cie" (16 March)

"for the purposes of shipping and trading in coal, to continue the operations started by the merchant firm founded by Mr. Worms in Paris, with branches in Bordeaux and Marseilles (France), Newcastle, Great Grimsby and Cardiff (Great Britain) and Port Said (Egypt), its headquarters being in Paris, at 7, rue Scribe, its registered capital amounting at 4,500,000 F and comprising 4,000,000 F put up by Mr. Worms, in particular in the form of the wholly-owned steamer "Emma" and his 2/3rd shares in the "Lucien", "Isabelle", "Gabrielle", "Président", "Blanche" and "Marguerite" and 500,000 F put up by Mr. Josse". "Commandant-Franchetti" chartered by Eugène Grosos for a journey to Copenhagen, Reval, Saint Petersburg, carrying rails and ordinary goods on its departure from Le Havre (May-June). Wave of protests in maritime circles against the Egyptian governments' decision to raise duty on coal imported into Port Said. Order placed for a steamer, the "Marguerite" with the Henderson Coulbron & Cie shipyards in Renfrew (August). Commissioning of the new ship on the Bordeaux-Hamburg line described by Frédéric Mallet as "the most regular in the whole of France" (September). Supply agreement with the Nixon colliery guaranteeing the company exclusive rights over the supply of Nixon's bunker coal (in Egypt in particular), this coal being highly appreciated by the shipping companies (October). Port Said branch appointed agent of the A. Holt shipping group in Suez. Loss of the steamer "Gabrielle" (November). Discontinuation of operations with the "Séphora" in the Red Sea at the end of 16 months, during which she had made some fifteen crossings and had had to contend with endless incidents and disasters: death of her first and second captains, repatriation of the Chief Engineer, rebellion of the crew, battle of wills with the Naval Ministry, unfair competition, (imaginary) outbreaks of plague, (real) cases of quarantine, miscellaneous damage, etc. (December).

"Séphora" taken back into the F. Mallet & Cie fleet for services to Bordeaux and Rouen (January). Decision to give up the "excellent custom" of P&O "to be agreeable to" Holts and their agent in Egypt, Mr. Stapledon (April-May). Competition from the Bordeaux-based Compagnie Générale Transatlantique for the haulage services of the "Gironde and Garonne" (of which H. Worms was Chairman). Connection between Hamburg and Antwerp as a counter-manoeuvre in response to attacks from Perlbach on the Bordeaux-Le Havre-Hamburg line (July-August). Purchase of the "Frédéric-Franck" (August), a further addition to the fleet of 7 vessels in service on the Bordeaux-Le Havre/Rouen-Hamburg line. Reorganisation of the Bordeaux branch (November).

Sale by Egypt of shares in the Suez Canal Company to the British Government,
the latter thus becoming the principal shareholder

Contract for 50,000 sleepers with the Manchester, Sheffield & Lincoln Railway Cy (December).

Line between Hamburg, Rotterdam, Le Havre, Saint-Nazaire, Bordeaux and Santander launched by the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique in direct competition with the "regular services that had been organised [by Worms and Mallet], for 18 years between Bordeaux, Le Havre and Hamburg, using steamers manned by some 200 sailors both as crew and as engineers": protests to the Chambers of Commerce and Ministries concerned. In addition to this, competition from Perlbach on Bordeaux that H. Worms and his partners tried to squash by counter-attacking the Perlbach line between Antwerp and Hamburg, offering weekly services between the two ports, using first one and then two ships (March-September). Re-establishment of services to Copenhagen under commission to Eugène Grosos (February). Acquisition of a site at 45, boulevard Haussmann, in Paris. Sale of 20,000 to 25,000 sleepers to the Chemins de fer du Nord and in Spain (March). Shipment of coal sent to the Baltic (Kronstadt and Saint Petersburg). Proposal to deliver coal to the Upper Silesia Railways with the explanation in support of this proposal that the company "has been the supplier to the French Navy, the Messageries Maritimes in France, the Paris to Lyon and the Mediterranean Railway, the Egyptian Railways, the Madrid to Saragossa and Alicante, Saragossa to Pamplona and Barcelona railways and numerous others for many years" (April). Similarly, in a letter sent the Italian Naval Minister, H. Worms did not hesitate to mention that he was a "supplier to the British, French and Egyptian Governments and to most of the big shipping and railway companies in the main countries in the world," and that his company, although based in the centre of Paris, was also established in the main British coal ports, where it ranked first. In another letter, it was also mentioned that the company handled about 10% of all the coal exported from Britain (June-July). Administrative tender for the supply of telegraph poles to Algeria (June). Retirement of Édouard Rosseeuw, replaced as Manager of the Port Said and Suez branches by James P. O'Connor. Frequent affreightments by the Grimsby branch for the Baltic. Recovery of the three-year contract with the British Navy in Suez by the Port Said branch (July). Authority delegated to Paul Rouyer by J. P. O'Connor. Purchase by A. Grandchamp Fils of the steamer "Georgette". Order placed for the construction of a new vessel to be named the "Louise-Jenny" by F. Mallet & Cie and H. Worms (September). Decision "to withdraw completely from the sleeper trade" (October). Purchase of cotton seeds for delivery to Britain by the agents in Alexandria (November).

Loss of the contract with the French Navy in Port Said that Worms had been supplying with coal since the opening of the Suez Canal (January). Prospection for sales openings in Hamburg for the produce of a colliery in the Grimsby area (February). Change of representative in Hamburg for the coal business, the Grimsby, Cardiff and Newcastle branches henceforth working with Jules Silvain instead of Ph. W. Kracht.

Death of Hypolite Worms (8 July)

In accordance with his wishes and stipulations, the company Hypte Worms & Cie was to continue trading under the surviving associate, Henry Josse, and his heirs and representatives, Élie Baudet and Henri Goudchaux continuing to sign all official documents by proxy. Arrival of the steamer "Louise-Jenny" in Le Havre, from where it was to sail on to Lorient (July-August). Assessment of results from peninsular activities and steamer operations on the two lines in the Baltic – activities performed by Eug. Grosos – in which the Maison Worms had an interest (July-August). Renewal of the charter contract for the "Séphora" by F. Mallet & Cie (December).


Increase in customs duties in Italy,
starting a trend that would become general from the 1880s

Tender awarded for the supply of the coal needed for the Navy's ships in Port Said (January). The contract would be renewed in 1879.

Establishment of registered offices at 45, boulevard Haussmann in Paris (2 March)

Renewal for a period of five years of the mutual representation agreements with Adolf Deppe over the Bordeaux-Antwerp line. Discussions with the United Steam Ship Cy over services to Copenhagen, Stettin and other ports in the region. Purchase of paving stones shipped out on chartered vessels, an operation starting in March and running through into 1882. Contract with the British Admiralty over deliveries to Suez (July). Marriage in England (District of Marylebone, county of Middlesex) of Lucien Worms and Virginie Adèle Houcke (October). Negotiations conducted with Perlbach by A. Deppe in association with F. Mallet & Cie, the Bordeaux branch and Hte Worms & Cie Paris with a view to finding ways to encourage Perlbach to cease operating on lines calling at Antwerp, Hamburg, Le Havre and Bordeaux. Competition from this source, albeit beginning to die down (February-March), remained an unresolved issue at the end of the year.


Resignation of Marshal Mac Mahon, replaced by Jules Grévy as President of the French Republic
– First steps to impose regulations on shipping routes (January)

Proposal to close the agency in Angoulême. Cooling in relations with A. Deppe, who had made the unpardonable mistake of consigning one of his vessels to a company other than Worms in Bordeaux (February). Agreement between F. Mallet & Cie and the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique over mutual support for their respective coastal shipping lines. Renewal of the shareholder pact in F. Mallet & Cie, where H. Worms' earlier undertakings were taken over by Hte Worms & Cie, which accepted a cut in its shares of the profits in order to pay bonuses to staff (March). Order placed with Nixon Taylor & Cory for 70,000 tonnes from Nixon's Navigation, comprising 20,000 tonnes for the Messageries Maritimes and 50,000 tonnes to be sent to the depot in Port Said. In return for this huge purchase, Worms was granted exclusive rights for the sale of this coal in Egypt (March-April). Offering clients the most highly reputed coals from the Cardiff area (Ocean, Ferndale, National, Cambrian, Albion, etc.) being one of Worms' strongest arguments in the battle to obtain their business, the agreement with Nixon would be extended to as much as some 200,000 tonnes in certain years. Agreement between Adolf Deppe, Hte Worms & Cie and F. Mallet & Cie over services between Antwerp and Hamburg, in the face of competition from Perlbach on the lines between Bordeaux and Antwerp, Bordeaux and Hamburg, Le Havre and Hamburg (September). Arrangement "finally signed" with Perlbach, putting an end to the conflict with this rival company and signalling the withdrawal of the Antwerp-Hamburg service created in reprisal (October).


Reform policy under Jules Ferry, Minister of Public Instruction and subsequently President of the Council (1880-1881): legislation regarding school education for girls, free primary education, the principle of the lay state and the freedom of association and of the press, followed by legislation authorising trade unions and divorce (1884)

Contract awarded in Rochefort or Tonnay-Charente, Sables d'Olonne and Bordeaux on behalf of the State Railways. Deliveries to the Russian fleet in Port Said, where the Messageries Maritimes had closed their bunkering station, while the local Worms branch had established a floating depot to facilitate and boost its deliveries to vessels. Purchase of the "Frigorifique" at an auction at the Court of the Seine département(May). Vessel subsequently refitted and based in Bordeaux for use on the new Bordeaux- Bremerhaven line (September). Renewal of the shareholder pact in F. Mallet & Cie (December).

Proposal for delivery to Kronstadt of 70,000 tonnes of gas coal for the Saint Petersburg City Lighting company.

Bill in support of shipping (29 January)

The company becomes a general and limited partnership and is renamed
"Worms, Josse & Cie" (14 February)

The company was founded as a general partnership between Lucien Worms, Henry Josse, Élie Baudet and Henri Goudchaux (the latter being the head of the company) and as a limited partnership with the widow of H. Worms and Mrs. Delavigne. Registered capital reduced to 4,000,000 F and the purpose of the company defined as "fitting of ships and sailing vessels and conveyance of all kinds, trading in coal, banking and currency exchange transactions, both national and international, and all other forms of trade and industry the partners may decide to add." 

Treaty of Bardo signed making Tunisia a French Protectorate (May)

Contract with the Koninklijke Nederlandsche Stoomboot Maatschappij for supply its ships in Port Said, pay Canal transit fees and take charge of its goods (May-June). Participation in the Baltic and Peninsular Navigation line of Eugène Grosos. "Séphora" chartered to F. Mallet & Cie. "Frigorifique" worked between Bordeaux and Bremerhaven. Services to Bilbao and Santander from Bordeaux using a chartered vessel (June). Undertaking to acquire a stake in the "Ville-de-Messine" and in steamers that Eug. Grosos might decide to have built, on condition that Worms be Grosos' exclusive supplier of the necessary coal. Competition (soon snuffed out) from the firm of Pelgrave & Murphy in Dublin on the Bordeaux-Le Havre-Hamburg line (August). Purchase of a new ship together with F. Mallet & Cie. "Frigorifique" made the trip between Bremen and Bordeaux (September) and the "Marie" from Britain to Bordeaux with a cargo of coal, returning with a consignment of iron ore taken on board in Bilbao (October). Reorganisation of the Marseilles branch (July-December): P. Cruzel replaced by E. Coullet, renewed efforts to develop the coal business, extension of activities to include consignment sales for goods and ships, agreements with Nixon's Navigation over exclusive deliveries, marketing drive at James Burness & Sons (December). Shipping service between Bordeaux and Alicante using chartered steamers (December).

Worms, Josse & Cie takes over F. Mallet & Cie in Le Havre (December)

Stake acquired in the "Graville", the new ship of the Le Havre shipping company of C. Brown.


Establishment of Port Tewfik depot

by the Port Said branch. Reorganisation of maritime services following the disappearance of F. Mallet & Cie, the Le Havre branch taking over technical responsibility for the steamers "Louise-Jenny", "Frédéric-Franck", "Marguerite-Franchetti", "Blanche", "Président", "Isabelle" and "Lucien" (all jointly purchased by Messrs. Worms and Mallet) as well as of the "Emma" and "Séphora" that had been H. Worms' exclusive property, in addition to his 5/8th share in the steamers "Marie", "Commandant-Franchetti", and "Frigorifique", all three managed by the Bordeaux branch. Transformation of the Bordeaux-Bremerhaven line into Bordeaux-Bremen-Newcastle. Start of services between Pasajes and Rouen offered by the Bordeaux branch using the "Frigorifique" and extension of the service to Paris by transhipment of the goods onto vessels belonging to the Havre-Paris-Lyon Company (March-April). Delivery in Kronstadt of 30,000 tonnes of coal to the Société Anonyme des Usines Franco-Russes. Appointment by the Bordeaux branch of an agent in Spain to bring in freight on a commission basis. Agreement with the Société Rouennaise des Transports Maritimes à Vapeur regarding operation of the Bordeaux-North Spain service. Foundation by Le Havre-based shipper Eugène Grosos of the Compagnie Havraise Péninsulaire de Navigation à Vapeur (April). First signs of competition from the Compagnie Nantaise de Navigation à Vapeur on the Bordeaux-Le Havre-Hamburg line (June). Arrival in Le Havre of the "Hypolite-Worms", a ship ordered in 1881 by F. Mallet & Cie and Worms, Josse & Cie (August), and placed in service on the Hamburg line (October). 

Revolt of Arabi Pasha squashed (June-September) ensuring stronger British control over Egypt and the Suez Canal until 1956


Colonisation of Gabon and the Congo (1883-1886), first stages in the colonisation of Madagascar; Annam and Tonkin under protectorate; war between China and France

Enquiry with James Burness & Sons concerning the advisability of opening a branch in Dakar, to which bunkering operations in Saint-Vincent could be transferred (January). "Fierce competition" for Worms shipping services on the part of E. Grosos. Renewal of the agreements with A. Deppe (February). Protection of business operations in Hamburg against competition from Silvain, "the most active, intelligent and enterprising of the band" (March). Trial with a Bordeaux-Alicante service using "smallish steamers fitted out to carry wines" (August). Proposal made to the Messageries Maritimes that it charter the "Lucien" for a Bordeaux-Saint-Nazaire service (September). Proposal to the Ministry of Public Works regarding shipments of British coal to the colonies or to French Naval refuelling ports abroad. Plans to open a bunkering station in Saigon (December). Death of Georges Schacher, replaced by Edmond Coullet, previously working in Marseilles.

Transfer to Delmas Frères of the operations previously performed by the La Rochelle agency, in particular the commissioning of Worms steamers (January). Loss of the "Frigorifique", which sank after a collision off the Coast of Brittany (no hands lost).

Opening of an agency in Pasajes (April)

under the authority of the Bordeaux branch, for purposes of managing steamers sailing between Pasajes and Rouen and between Santander, Pasajes and Bordeaux (March). Revival of consignment shipping activities in Marseilles (April). Superb consignment found for the "Commandant-Franchetti" for Bremen and Antwerp. Monthly sailings from Bremerhaven to Le Havre bringing sugar on behalf of the Say refinery and other goods (May).

Undertaking by China to respect the French Protectorate in Annam and Tonkin (May)
re-opening of hostilities between France and China in Tonkin (June)

Agreement with the Banque Maritime, Eug. Grosos and the Compagnie Nantaise de Navigation, bringing an end to 18 months of competition on the Bordeaux-Le Havre-Hamburg line, with the Maison Worms acquiring the "Ville-de-Nantes", to be based in Le Havre, as a result (June-August).

Increase (limited) in customs duties
first measures signalling a break with the principle of free trade in France (June)

New threats, fortunately of short duration, on the Bordeaux-Hamburg line from the Hamburg company Kirsten and from Silvain (July-August). Refusal by Le Havre of the proposal from Bordeaux to transfer transhipment operations, in particular for wines from the Bordeaux region, from Rouen to Paris-Bercy (October). Agreement with the Chargeurs Réunis over the carriage of goods they wanted to send to or have transhipped in Le Havre (November).

Berlin Conference on the Congo:
Right bank of the River Congo allocated to France, and left bank to Belgium (November)

Annual sales of 200,000 to 300,000 tonnes of Nixon's Navigation (coal).

Purchase by Worms, Josse & Cie Bordeaux of a coal briquette manufacturing works (January).

Berlin Conference (15 November 1884-26 February 1885): agreement by the European countries on the official rules for colonising and organising the split of Africa

Studies conducted on the feasability of establishing branches in Reunion and Dakar (February-April) which was abandoned (May-June). Operation of the Le Havre-Hamburg line using 7 steamers including the "Ville-de-Nantes". Orders placed by the Universal Inter-oceanic Panama Canal Company for 28,000 and 30,000 tonnes of coal (March). Doubts about the future of relations with the French Navy, which was increasingly abandoning the use of British coal (April).

China renounces its claims to Annam,
France given priority over exploitation of the Yunnan mines (June)
Speech by Jules Ferry in favour of colonial expansion (28 July)

Drop in the quantities of freight loaded in Hamburg bound for the Messageries in Bordeaux following the organisation of a Hamburg-Marseilles service, Marseilles being the departure port for Messageries lines to the Mediterranean, Indochina and Australia (September).

Creation of a coal depot in Zanzibar (October)

to cater to the requirements of the steamers of the Messageries Maritimes, whose agent was contacted by Worms over other potential sales outlets. Decision against any arrangements with competitors on the Bordeaux-Antwerp line in view of the shortage of consignments and wine customer loyalty (December). Agreement reached with Parisian company, Portalis Fr. Carbonnier & Cie, with substantial business in La Plata and with a depot in Montevideo, over ship hire and handling coal consignments in these towns in exchange for efforts on the part of James Burness & Sons in London to boost the number of clients (Portalis would, however, soon sell his business). Contracts between Worms & Josse Cie and Devès & Chaumet in Bordeaux over supplying their steamers in Madeira, Tenerife and Sao Vicente in the Cape Verde Islands. Discussions over an agreement with Gellatly Hankey Sewell & Co., offering rival services on the Hamburg line.

Re-election of Jules Grévy as President of the French Republic (28 December)