The Dollar Steamship Company (commonly known as the Dollar Line) was founded by Captain Robert Dollar, a successful lumberman, in 1900 as a means of transporting timber along the west coast of America. However, the shipping firm soon expanded into the trans-Pacific freight business, sending its first ship across the Pacific in 1902. An astute businessman, Dollar started a round-the-world passenger service in 1924 and also got the company involved in mail services following the passing of the Merchant Marine Act in 1928, which offered lucrative government mail contracts for express liners. With the passing of its founder in 1932 and the onset of the Great Depression, the company found itself in financial trouble. Dollar’s son, Robert Stanley Dollar, eventually sold off the family’s stake in the company to the U.S. Maritime Commission in 1938. The firm was renamed American President Lines due to that fact that many of the company’s new liners were named after American presidents.