This is the science vessel Albatross, a steamship custom-built for the United States Commission of Fish and Fisheries, what’s now the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service. “The 234-foot steamer, also rigged as a brigantine with more than 7,500 square feet of sail, was the first research vessel in the world constructed exclusively for marine research,” the NOAA website says. Albatross had 4,500 fathoms of cable for dredging up samples at great depths, and electric lights throughout – including lamps used to attract fish at night. In addition to research, she also served in the Spanish-American War and WWI. But most of her 40 years in service was spent surveying the oceans and the creatures that live in them.
The image is excerpted from “Report on the Construction and Outfit of the United States Fish Commission Steamer ALBATROSS”, by Lieutenant-Commander Z. L. Tanner, U. S. N.
There are numerous photographs of Albatross at work here.