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The photographs of Enrique Muller have always amazed me. Here is someone that you can tell truly loved his profession and the subject of his work. His photographs are some of the finest taken during a historic period of the development of the steel navy. The earliest postcards I have are from 1898 of the navy's sailing vessels still being used for training or as receiving ships. Later he passed on his profession to his son.
There are different account of his work online, but I tend to believe the summary provided by the Department of the Navy - Naval Historical Command. Enrique Muller was born in Germany in 1846 and arrived in the united states around the age of 20. He started as a commercial photographer in the late 1890s in the harbor around New York City. "Muller's excellent quality views of the ships of the "Great White Fleet" era are especially significant."
His son Robert Enrique Muller also know as "E. Muller Jr." started taking photos around 1914 and photographed during World War I.
My collection has taken many years and I am surprised that there are many here that are not shown of the Heritage Command list online. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do !
Hi most famous photograph of the fleet is of the USS Connecticut during a speed trial off the coast of Maine. He wrote about being in a small boat and having the ship coming directly toward him at full speed.
"It was just before sundown when, in a small motor-boat, I arrived in the direct course of the Connecticut, several miles out in the open sea off the coast of Maine. Once there, I didn't have to wait long before the ship's smoke on the horizon warned me of her approach. I was eager to get a picture full of life and dramatic action, - of the ship under full speed, taken from directly in front, something never before accomplished, - so I ordered the engineer to gauge the distance and allow me to stand in her course, until the last possible moment before making our escape. She was nearing us now, and bearing down at the speed of twenty-two miles an hour a great, overawing monster! The vibration from our engine was bothering me, so I decided to take a chance, and ordered the engine stopped. On came the ship, her bow-spray looming up before us like two green, foaming, white-crested wings. The moments were precious now, so I shot the camera, and shouted for full speed ahead. The engine gasped, made a struggle to work, but gave up immediately. I was frightened; even the engine seemed to foresee its fate! In the delay, I had but one idea: a chance for another snapshot. Now the ship was within thirty yards of us, cruelly pointing her bow directly toward our little boat. I snapped again, and almost as if the little engine had been waiting for this to happen, it answered immediately with a chug, and we swerved across the dreadnought's bow.
There were yells from the ship to get out of the way, then came a crash! Her bow wave had caught us, and, the next thing that I knew, with plate holder in one hand, I was struggling with the other to reach the surface of the sea in which I had been buried fathoms deep. Succeeding in this I was soon dragged aboard a near-by ship that had seen the accident, and, after congratulating myself for having escaped being cut in two by the bow and sent to the bottom, as were the camera and most of my plates, I began planning how I could save the one plate that I had so jealously clung to when thrown into the water, and which had been the cause of the whole excitement. I was pretty blue and disgusted, for it seemed impossible that the picture could be good; but I rushed immediately to wash the plate in fresh water, in order to prevent the brine from affecting it. On developing it, I drew a deep gasp of relief the plate had been saved! The picture was a success! "