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William Muller Collection

i Mar 3rd No Comments by

Los Angeles Maritime Museum Research Library Collection 17

From a 4 x 5 negative of ships lines for a tug by William Muller, 1917.

This manuscript collection of documents and ship’s lines is an example of an early 20th century shipbuilder in Los Angeles Harbor. The collection is entitled William Muller Collection.

Description: The collection contains correspondence, financial statements, estimates, notes and photographs of the many ships produced in the Wilmington and San Pedro vicinity by the shipbuilder William Muller.

Biographical Notes: William Muller, born William (Wilhelm) Adolph August Muller, in 1865 in Germany, came to the United States around 1885 and to California two years later. Early in the twentieth century his reputation as a builder of wooden ferries and tugboats in Wilmington and San Pedro earned him contracts with William Banning, his enterprises and his associates, to build ships for the Catalina Island Line and Wilmington Transportation Company as well as to carry out commissions for other parties. Among Muller’s first productions, the ferries CABRILLO and HERMOSA II were launched in 1904. Muller died in 1936.

Snapshot of Captain William Banning and William Muller (right).

Snapshot of Captain William Banning and William Muller (right).

Copyright Notice: Copyright restrictions apply to the use of the images and documents in this collection. See the copyright notice here.

View the full Finding Aid: on O.A.C., Online Archive of California. Click on “Additional collection guides” to see the full finding aid.

Request Library Appointment:
To view the collection, please make an appointment online.

Torrance Parker Collection

i Mar 3rd No Comments by

Los Angeles Maritime Museum Research Library Collection 73

Torrance Parker

Torrance Parker

The collection is entitled Torrance R. Parker Collection on Commercial and Deep Sea Diving.

View 10 images from Torrance Parker’s collection of photographic prints.

Read the full description or finding aid at
Online Archive of California

The collection contains approximately 5 cubic feet of documents and photographic prints, news clippings, manuals, periodicals, manuscripts, and 322 books.

Description: The collection contains business and personal correspondence; records of ship salvage and underwater construction work; diving logs, reports and manuals; survey and other diagrams; clippings and articles; rare diving equipment catalogs; maps; decompression tables and calculators; samples of permits, invoices, receipts, bids and contracts; interviews and profiles; brochures and fliers; periodicals; and approximately 500 photographic prints.

Parker’s book collection consists of 322 volumes, many of them rare, that document the history and practice of deep diving and related topics.

Torrance Parker collected these resources over the course of his sixty-eight years as a deep diver, including a fifty-six-year career working as a commercial diver and nearly forty years as owner of the Parker Diving Service, Inc. of San Pedro, California; as a diver, researcher and compiler of resources concerning the history and practice of commercial, fishery, and military diving; and as author of two books on these subjects.
–From the Finding Aid to the collection by Sue Tyson, December 2014.

Biographical Notes: Read more about <target=”blank”>Torrance Parker (born July 4, 1928) and his firm, Parker Diving Service, Inc., founded in 1947.

Copyright notice: Copyright restrictions apply. See the copyright notice here.

Request Library Appointment:
To view the collection in person, please make an appointment online.

Thomas Skahill Papers

i Mar 3rd No Comments by

Los Angeles Maritime Museum Research Library Collection 45

Thomas Skahill for WoodenBoat

Thomas Skahill’s article on Fellows and Stewart, Inc. for WoodenBoat, 2003

This collection of articles and manuscripts was created between 2000 and 2006 by author Thomas Skahill.

Description: Articles by Thomas Skahill in WoodenBoat magazine and Maritime Life and Traditions describe the life and work of naval architects, boat designers and builders, and yachtsmen primarily in Southern California and Los Angeles Harbor areas.

Copyright Notice: Copyright restrictions may apply. See the copyright notice here.

Request Library Appointment:
To view the collection, please make an appointment online.

Deep Sea Diver, Entrepreneur, Author

i Feb 26th No Comments by
Torrance Parker

Torrance Parker

Torrance R. Parker is the founder of Parker Diving Service, Inc., the oldest continuously operating commercial diving company in California. From 1947 to 1985, Parker participated in all aspects of deep diving work, including commercial diving, salvage, maintenance, repair, and inspection of underwater engineered structures primarily in the Port of Los Angeles.

Parker sold the company in 1985, but continued working as a consultant and diver with Parker Diving Service until 1995. Upon retirement, he authored 20,000 Jobs under the Sea: A History of Diving and Underwater Engineering (1997). He subsequently designed and curated the “20,000 Jobs Under the Sea” exhibit for the Los Angeles Maritime Museum in San Pedro; the exhibit depicts the history of both commercial and fishery diving and includes that of Southern California’s earliest divers.

Beginning in 1997, Parker (who learned his trade from Greek sponge divers in Tarpon Springs, Florida) conducted a survey of the Gulf of Mexico’s pre-World War II deep-water sponge grounds unworked since 1939. In 2013, Parker published his second book: 20,000 Divers under the Sea: A History of the Mediterranean and Western Atlantic Sponge Trades with an Account of Early Deep Diving, that chronicles sponge diving from ancient Greece to its current epicenter in Tarpon Springs, Florida.

For more on the Museum’s exhibit on Deep Diving, see our Current Exhibit here.

See author Torrance Parker’s book 20,000 Jobs Under the Sea and his 20,000 Divers Under the Sea on in our online catalog.