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Ralph Mueller


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Mueller Tower

Ralph Mueller was born in 1877, graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1898, and enjoyed a successful career in electronics related manufacturing for over 50 years. Mueller founded the Mueller Electric Company in Cleveland in 1908. He is recognized as the inventor of the Alligator Clip, which Mueller Electric Co. continues to manufacture today.

Mueller developed a relationship with Chancellor Gustavson in the 1940s and informed him of his interest in making a gift to the University that could somehow incorporate electronics. He eventually decided to contribute a bell tower that used carillon bells operated with electronic hammers. The Mueller Tower was constructed in 1949, with Mueller and his family present at its dedication on Homecoming weekend.

In 1952, Chancellor Gustavson asked Mueller if he would finance a new planetarium, and Mueller did. The Mueller Planetarium is housed in Morrill Hall, and opened to the public in 1957.

Ralph Mueller died in 1966.

Source Information:
Ralph Mueller: the man behind the bell. by Bridget Barry. University Archives.
The Nebraska Alumnus, 1949.