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In 1881, Congress authorized construction of the Albatross to serve as the research ship for the US Fish Commission. The Albatross was the first ship built especially for scientific expeditions, and was designed for deep sea dredging, and was equipped with hydrographic instruments. In 1913-14, her rig was altered from a brigantime to a schooner, and a radio shack was constructed. The Albatross was the first Government vessel to be equipped with electic lighting throughout. From 1882-1921, the Albatross cruised the Atlantic and Pacific on fur-seal and fisheries investigations, on deep sea soundings, on tropical explorations, and scientific cruises. Among her scientific staff, she carried a photographer who made photographs of the shrimp and oyster industries, of native life on South Sea Islands, of volcanic islands and glaciers of the sponge industry and flora and fauna.
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