In 1905, Frank Zotti advertised in The New York Herald that his U.S. Steamer BROOKLYN would debark from the Atlantic Basin to Fayal (Azores), Naples, and Genoa.
Franjo (Frank) Zotti (1872–1947) immigrated to New York in 1889 and came to be known as “King of the Croatians.” He established himself as a steamship agent for immigrants traveling back and forth across the Atlantic. From there he moved into banking and publishing for the Croatian community.
In 1905 he founded the Frank Zotti Steamship Company, with $2 million in stock offerings, primarily selling $5.00 shares to Croatian immigrants. With the money he raised he bought the steamship BROOKLYN. Zotti stated that he started his own steamship line in response to the high prices and unfair practices of other lines, the meager agent's commissions they offered, and the poor customer service they gave. It was not smooth sailing for Zotti; from the start he had difficulties obtaining port privileges. The BROOKLYN made only a few trips before it ran aground in the Azores in 1906. Zotti suspected foul play from a French Line, with whom he had argued. Further financial difficulties followed, and he went bankrupt in 1908.
Brief history of the BROOKLYN:
- Built as the BRITISH QUEEN in 1880; the BRITISH QUEEN and her sister, the BRITISH KING, were the first all-passenger ships built by Harland & Wolff, and the first to have steel hulls
- 1905, acquired by the Frank Zotti Steamship Co. (Zotti Line) and renamed BROOKLYN. 19 October 1905, first voyage, New York - Azores - Naples - Genoa. 23 June 1906, last voyage, Marseilles - Azores - New York (five round-trip voyages)
- 1906, S. V. LUCKENBACH (U.S.)
- 1915, ONEGA (U.S.)
- 1918, August 30, torpedoed and sunk in the English Channel by German submarine UB 123