This section is from the book "Elementary Banking", by John Franklin Ebersole. Also available from Amazon: Elementary Banking.
Since order bills of lading are much used for collateral, banks should know when they are good. Every bill must contain the following essentials: (1) the date of its issue; (2) the name of the person from whom the goods have been received; (3) the place where the goods have been received; (4) the place to which the goods are to be transported; (5) a statement whether the goods received will be delivered to a specified person, or to the order of a specified person; (6) a description of the goods or of the packages containing them (this description may be in general terms); and (7) the signature of the carrier. A carrier may insert in a bill, issued by him, any other terms and conditions, provided that such terms and conditions shall not: (a) Be contrary to law or public policy, or (b) in any wise impair his obligation to exercise at least that degree of care in the transportation and safe-keeping of the goods entrusted to him which a reasonably careful man would exercise in regard to similar goods of his own. The indorsed order bill of lading makes excellent collateral provided the merchandise covered by it is of a suitable character. The straight bill is of value merely to give evidence that certain goods were shipped.