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1867 Alan Gow established the company with a single sailing ship trading between Glasgow, Liverpool and Chile following the Cape Horn route.
When the second ship was purchased a naming standard was established of using Glen in the name.
1870 Shortly after the Suez Canal opened, the company changed to the China tea trade using steam ships. James McGregor was put in charge of the company's steamship activities.
By 1880 McGregor had become the senior partner and the company became McGregor, Gow and Company but it was still promoted as the Glen Line.
1904–5 Ellerman Lines acquired the Glen Line, adding to the other well-known older firms it had bought.
It is not clear what was the connection with another Glen Line which was registered in 1910.