FRAMED PHOTO – S.M.S. VINETA – LIFE PRESERVER SHAPED. The S.M.S. Vineta was considered a Große Kreuzer (Heavy Cruiser), the forerunner of the Hochseeflotte’s battle cruisers. The ship was commissioned in 1899 as one of the Viktoria Luise Class’s five ships. [Viktoria Luise was Kaiser Wilhelm II’s only daughter, who married Braunschweig’s Herzog Ernst August]. The ship saw service in the West Indies, South America, Africa and even made port in the USA at New Orleans, Louisiana, and Newport News, Virginia. She also occasionally accompanied the Kaiser as an honor vessel when he summered in Norway aboard his royal yacht, the S.M.S. Hohenzollern.
All of the Viktoria Luise Class’s five ships underwent modernization between 1905 to 1910. Part of the latter process was converting from three funnels to two. Our photo shows the ship with its original three funnels, indicating that it dates prior to 1905.
When WW I began, the Vineta was assigned to coastal defense in the Baltic under Großadmiral Prinz Heinrich’s command (he was Kaiser Wilhelm II’s younger brother). She did not serve in this role for long, then was anchored at Kiel to serve as a floating barracks for U-Boot crews while they were in port. She was scrapped in 1920.
Today we are offering a photograph of the S.M.S. Vineta that is framed within a life preserver replica. These frames were quite popular among sailors and their families. The frame measures 4 ¾” in diameter, while the photo within measures 3 ½” in diameter. The wooden frame is red, with “S.M.S.” painted in white at the top. The ship’s name, “Vineta,” appears at the frame’s bottom. Glass protects the photograph. Four thin fabric bands appear around the frame. A thin rope is threaded around the frame, which could serve as a hanger at the frame’s top. It could be hung on a wall or just displayed as a decorative piece.