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J & G (G & J from 1842)  Burns

Two brothers first started shipping operations between Glasgow and Ayr in 1821. Their company became a major shipping concern which came to dominate cross-atlantic services due to their joint ownership of  the British & North American Royal Mail Steam Packet Company with Samuel Cunard and Clydeside shipbuilder Robert Napier. The company was a pioneer in ocean-going paddle steamers. Burns operated paddle steamers between Scotland and Northern Ireland and were the dominant operators on this route. They also had substantial local interests dominating services from Glasgow to the west highlands in Scotland before selling out to David Hutcheson (whose company later became David MacBrayne when the latter took over Hutcheson's business) in 1851. The Burns empire  became part of Coast Lines which was first formed in 1919.  Burns & Laird was formed in 1922 as a subsidiary bringing together two of Coast Line's new purchases. MacBrayne's company serving the west highlands later became part of Coast Lines

Adder was the largest, last and only successful paddle steamer on Burns' Belfast service from the Clyde, but was soon made obsolete and was sold for use in Argentina

Services between the Clyde and ports in the north of Ireland

The first services were established with the paddle steamer Fingal in 1824 on the Greenock to Belfast route. From 1829 the company also operated from Liverpool originally in association with Hugh Mathie but by 1930 with David and Charles McIver in the Glasgow Steam Packet Company. The paddle steamer Manchester was bought new for the Liverpool to Belfast route in 1832. Burns also ran from Glasgow to Belfast as well as Ardrossan after a railhead was established at the port on the Firth of Clyde, located at a considerably shorter sailing distance.
A short-lived experiment with Giraffe failed and the ship was quickly sold for blockade running in the American Civil War. She was captured by the US Navy and after the war served as a supply ship with the Chilean navy. Cobra operated for one season only and was returned to Fairfield her builders after which she had success in Germany on the Hamburg to Helgoland route in the North Sea. Adder was more successful but fell vistim to the success of turbine steam propulsion and was sold for use in Argentina

Giraffe (1860-1862)

Cobra (1889)
Built in 1891 by the Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. of Govan
Length 264.8 ft : 847 GRT
Engine : Compound diagonal 50 and 92 in x 66 in
Built for G&J Burns' Scotland to Ireland (Ardrossan-Belfast) service
1889 : Returned to builders
1890 : Liverpool & Llandudno Steamship Co as St Tudno
1890 : New North Wales Steamship Co
1890 : Nordsee Dampfschiff Gesellschaft as Cobra
1892 : Albert Ballin
1904 : HAPAG
1919 : French government
1921 : Mahr & Bayer of Wismar, Germany
1922 : Scrapped

Adder (1891-1906)
Built in 1891 by the Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. of Govan
Length 280 ft :  976 GRT 
Engine : Compound diagonal 51.5 and 93 in x 72 in
Built for G&J Burns' Scotland to Ireland (Ardrossan-Belfast) service
Substantially altered and with deckhouses fore and aft and an observation deck above
Sold in 1906 to Mr S Lambruschini of Buenos Aires and renamed Rio de la Plata .
Lost in 1918 sailing from Buenos Aires to Santos

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