History of submarines

The Coming of Steam and Electricity

In the fall of 1863, the Federal fleet was blockading the harbour of Charleston, S. C. Included among the many ships was one of the marvels of that period, the United States battleship Ironsides. Armour-plated and possessing what was then considered a wonderful equipment of high calibred guns and a remarkably trained crew, she was the terror of the Confederates. None of their ships could hope to compete with her and the land batteries of the Southern harbour were powerless to reach her.

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A British Anti-Aircraft Gun.

During the night of October 5, 1863, the officer of the watch on board the Ironsides, Ensign Howard, suddenly observed a small object looking somewhat like a pleasure boat, floating close to his own ship. Before Ensign Howard's order to fire at it could be executed, the Ironsides  was shaken from bow to stern, an immense column of water was thrown up and flooded her deck and engine room, and Ensign Howard fell, mortally wounded. The little floating object was responsible for all this. It was a Confederate submersible boat, only fifty feet long and nine feet in diameter, carrying a fifteen-foot spar-torpedo. She had been named David  and the Confederate authorities hoped to do away by means of her with the Goliaths of the Federal navy. Manned only by five men, under the command of Lieutenant W. T. Glassel, driven by a small engine and propeller, she had managed to come up unobserved within striking distance of the big battleship.

The attack, however, was unsuccessful. The Ironsides  was undamaged. On the other hand the plucky little David  had been disabled to such an extent that her crew had to abandon her and take to the water, allowing their boat to drift without motive power. Four of them were later picked up. According to an account in Barnes,Torpedoes and Torpedo Warfare, the engineer, after having been in the water for some time, found himself near her and succeeded in getting on board. He relighted her fires and navigated his little boat safely back to Charleston. There she remained, making occasional unsuccessful sallies against the Federal fleet, and when Charleston was finally occupied by the Federal forces, she was found there.

In spite of this failure the Confederates continued their attempts to break the blockade of their most important port by submarine devices. A new and somewhat improved David  was ordered and built at another port. News of this somehow reached the Federal Navy Department and was immediately communicated to Vice-Admiral Dahlgren, in command of the blockading fleet. Despite this warning and instructions to all the officers of the fleet, the second David  succeeded in crossing Charleston bar.

This new boat was a real diving submarine boat and though frequently called David  had been christened the Hundley. It had been built in the shipyards of McClintock & Hundley at Mobile, Alabama, and had been brought to Charleston by rail. On her trial she proved very clumsy and difficult to manage. For her first trip a crew of nine men volunteered. Not having any conning tower it was necessary that one of the hatchways should be left open while the boat travelled on the surface so that the steersman could find his bearings. While she was on her first trip, the swell from a passing boat engulfed her. Before the hatchway could be closed, she filled with water. Of course, she sank like a piece of lead and her entire crew, with the exception of the steersman, was drowned.

In spite of this mishap the Hundley  was raised and again put in commission. Lieutenant Payne who had steered her on her first fatal trip had lost neither his courage nor faith and again assumed command of her. Soon after she started on her second trip a sudden squall arose. Before the hatchways could be closed, she again filled with water and sank, drowning all of her crew with the exception of Lieutenant Payne and two of his men.

Undaunted he took her out on a third trip after she had again been raised. Ill luck still pursued her. Off Fort Sumter she was capsized and this time four of her crew were drowned.

The difficulties encountered in sailing the Hundley  on the surface of the water apparently made no difference when it came to finding new crews for her. By this time, however, the powers that be had become anxious that their submarine boat should accomplish something against an enemy, instead of drowning only her own men and it was decided to use her on the next trip in a submerged state. Again Lieutenant Payne was entrusted with her guidance. Her hatches were closed, her water tanks filled, and she was off for her first dive. Something went wrong however; either too much water had been put in her tanks or else the steering gear refused to work. At any rate she hit the muddy bottom with such force that her nose became deeply imbedded and before she could work herself free her entire crew of eight was suffocated. Lieutenant Payne himself lost his life which he had risked so valiantly and frequently before.

Once more she was raised and once more volunteers rushed to man her. On the fifth trip, however, the Hundley, while travelling underwater, became entangled in the anchor chains of a boat she passed and was held fast so long that her crew of nine were dead when she was finally disentangled and raised.

Thirty-five lives had so far been lost without any actual results having been accomplished. In spite of this a new crew was found. Her commander, Lieutenant Dixon, was ordered to make an attack against the Federal fleet immediately, using, however, the boat as a submersible instead of a submarine.

Admiral David Porter in his Naval History of the Civil War  described the attack, which was directed against the U. S. S. Housatonic, one of the newest Federal battleships, as follows:

At about 8.45 P. M., the officer of the deck on board the unfortunate vessel discovered something about one hundred yards away, moving along the water. It came directly towards the ship, and within two minutes of the time it was first sighted was alongside. The cable was slipped, the engines backed, and all hands called to quarters. But it was too late—the torpedo struck the Housatonic  just forward of the mainmast, on the starboard side, on a line with the magazine. The man who steered her (the Hundley ) knew where the vital spots of the steamer were and he did his work well. When the explosion took place the ship trembled all over as if by the shock of an earthquake, and seemed to be lifted out of the water, and then sank stern foremost, heeling to port as she went down.

Only a part of the Housatonic's  complement was saved. Of the Hundley  no trace was discovered and she was believed to have escaped. Three years later, however, divers who had been sent down to examine the hull of the Housatonic  found the little submarine stuck in the hole made by her attack on the larger ship and inside of her the bodies of her entire crew.

The submarines and near-submarines built in the United States during the Civil War were remarkable rather for what they actually accomplished than for what they contributed towards the development of submarine boats. Perhaps the greatest service which they rendered in the latter direction was that they proved to the satisfaction of many scientific men that submarine boats really held vast possibilities as instruments of naval warfare.

France still retained its lead in furnishing new submarine projects. One of these put forward in 1861 by Olivier Riou deserves mention because it provided for two boats, one driven by steam and one by electricity. Both of these submarines were built, but inasmuch as nothing is known of the result of their trials, it is safe to conclude that neither of them proved of any practical value.

Two years later, in 1863, two other Frenchmen, Captain Bourgeois and M. Brun, built at Rochefort a submarine 146 feet long and 12 feet in diameter which they called the Plongeur. They fitted it with a compressed-air engine of eighty horse-power. Extensive trials were made with this boat but resulted only in the discovery that, though it was possible to sink or rise with a boat of this type without great difficulty, it was impossible to keep her at an even keel for any length of time.

During the next few years, undoubtedly as a result of the submarine activities during the Civil War, a number of projects were put forward in the United States, none of which, however, turned out successfully. One of them, for which a man by the name of Halstead was responsible, was a submarine built for the United States Navy in 1865. It was not tried out until 1872 and it was not even successful in living up to its wonderful name, The Intelligent Whale. Its first trial almost resulted in loss of life and was never repeated. In spite of this, however, the boat was preserved and may still be seen at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

In the meantime, an invention had been made by an Austrian artillery officer which before long was to exert a powerful influence on submarine development, though it was in no sense a submarine boat. The manner in which the submarines had attacked their opponents during the Civil War suggested to him the need of improvements in this direction. As a result he conceived a small launch which was to carry the explosive without any navigators. Before he could carry his plans very far he died. A brother officer in the navy continued his work and finally interested the manager of an English engineering firm located at Fiume, Mr. Whitehead. The result of the collaboration of these two men was the Whitehead torpedo. A series of experiments led to the construction of what was first called a "Submarine Locomotive" torpedo, which not only contained a sufficient quantity of explosives to destroy large boats, but was also enabled by mechanical means to propel itself and keep on its course after having been fired. The Austrian Government was the first one to adopt this new weapon. Whitehead, however, refused to grant a monopoly to the Austrians and in 1870 he sold his manufacturing rights and secret processes to the British Government for a consideration of $45,000.

Before very long, special boats were built for the purpose of carrying and firing these torpedoes and gradually every great power developed a separate torpedo flotilla. Hand in hand with this development a large number of improvements were made on the original torpedo and some of these devices proved of great usefulness in the development of submarine boats.

The public interest in submarines grew rapidly at this time. Every man who was a boy in 1873, or who had the spirit of boyhood in him then,—or perhaps now,—will remember the extraordinary piece of literary and imaginative prophecy achieved by Jules Verne in his novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Little about the Nautilus  that held all readers entranced throughout his story is lacking in the submarines of to-day except indeed its extreme comfort, even luxury. With those qualities our submarine navigators have to dispense. But the electric light, as we know it, was unknown in Verne's time yet he installed it in the boat of his fancy. Our modern internal-combustion engines were barely dreamed of, yet they drove his boat. His fancy even enabled him to foresee one of the most amazing features of the Lake boat of to-day, namely the compressed air chamber which opened to the sea still holds the water back, and enables the submarine navigator clad in a diver's suit to step into the wall of water and prosecute his labors on the bed of the ocean. Jules Verne even foresaw the callous and inhuman character of the men who command the German submarines to-day. His Captain Nemo had taken a vow of hate against the world and relentlessly drove the prow of his steel boat into the hulls of crowded passenger ships, finding his greatest joy in sinking slowly beside them with the bright glare of his submarine electric lights turned full upon the hapless women and children over whose sufferings he gloated as they sank. The man who sank the Lusitania  could do no more.

More and more determined became the attempts to build submarine boats that could sink and rise easily, navigate safely and quickly, and sustain human beings under the surface of the water for a considerable length of time. Steam, compressed air, and electricity were called upon to do their share in accomplishing this desired result. Engineers in every part of the world began to interest themselves in the submarine problem and as a result submarine boats in numbers were either projected or built between 1875 and 1900.

One of the most persistent workers in this period was a well-known Swedish inventor, Nordenfeldt, who had established for himself a reputation by inventing a gun which even to-day has lost nothing of its fame. In 1881 he became interested in the work which had been done by an English clergyman named Garret. The latter had built a submarine boat which he called the Resurgam  (I shall rise)—thus neatly combining a sacred promise with a profane purpose. In 1879 another boat was built by him driven by a steam engine. Nordenfeldt used the fundamental ideas upon which these two boats were based, added to them some improvements of his own as well as some devices which had been used by Bushnell, and finally launched in 1886 his first submarine boat. The government of Greece bought it after some successful trials. Not to be outdone, Greece's old rival, Turkey, immediately ordered two boats for her own navy. Both of these were much larger than the Greek boat and by 1887 they had reached Constantinople in sections where they were to be put together. Only one of them, however, was ever completed. Characteristic Turkish delay intervened. The most typical feature of this boat was the fact that it carried a torpedo tube for Whitehead torpedoes. On the surface of the water this boat proved very efficient, but as an underwater boat it was a dismal failure. More than in any other craft that had ever been built and accepted, the lack of stability was a cause of trouble in the Nordenfeldt II. As soon as any member of the crew moved from one part of the boat to another, she would dip in the direction in which he was moving, and everybody, who could not in time take hold of some part of the boat, came sliding and rolling in the same direction. When finally such a tangle was straightened out, only a few minutes elapsed before somebody else, moving a few steps, would bring about the same deplorable state of affairs. The Nordenfeldt II. acted more like a bucking bronco than a self-respecting submarine boat and as a result it became impossible to find a crew willing to risk their lives in manning her. Before very long she had rusted and rotted to pieces. In spite of this lack of success, Nordenfeldt built a fourth boat which displayed almost as many unfortunate features as her predecessors and soon was discarded and forgotten.

Photo by Bain News Service.

An Anti-Aircraft Outpost.

In the latter part of the nineteenth century the French Government, which for so many years had shown a strong and continuous interest in the submarine problem, was particularly active. Three different types of boats built in this period under the auspices and with the assistance of the French Government deserve particular attention. The first of these was the Gymnote, planned originally by a well-known French engineer, Dupuy de Lome, whose alert mind also planned an airship and made him a figure in the history of our Panama Canal. He died, however, before his project could be executed. M. Gustave Zédé, a marine engineer and his friend, continued his work after modifying some of his plans. The French Minister of Marine of this period, Admiral Aube who had long been strongly interested in submarines, immediately accepted M. Zédé's design and ordered the boat to be built. As the earliest of successful submarines she merits description:

© U. & U.

A Coast Defense Anti-Aircraft Gun.

The Gymnote  was built of steel in the shape of a cigar. She was 59 feet long, 5 feet 9 inches beam, and 6 feet in diameter, just deep enough to allow a man to stand upright in the interior. The motive power was originally an electro-motor of 55 horse-power, driven from 564 accumulators. It was of extraordinary lightness, weighing only 4410 pounds, and drove the screw at the rate of two thousand revolutions a minute, giving a speed of six knots an hour, its radius of action at this speed being thirty-five miles.

Immersion was accomplished by the introduction of water into three reservoirs, placed one forward, one aft, and one centre. The water was expelled either by means of compressed air or by a rotary pump worked by an electro-motor. Two horizontal rudders steered the boat in the vertical plane and an ordinary rudder steered in the horizontal.

The Gymnote  had her first trial on September 4, 1888, and the Paris Temps  described the result in the following enthusiastic language:

She steered like a fish both as regards direction and depth; she mastered the desired depth with ease and exactness; at full power she attained the anticipated speed of from nine to ten knots; the lighting was excellent, there was no difficulty about heating. It was a strange sight to see the vessel skimming along the top of the water, suddenly give a downward plunge with its snout, and disappear with a shark-like wriggle of its stern, only to come up again at a distance out and in an unlooked-for direction. A few small matters connected with the accumulators had to be seen to, but they did not take a month.

Following along the same lines as this boat another boat, considerably larger, was built. Before it was completed, M. Zédé died and it was decided to name the new boat in his honour. The Gustave Zédé was launched at Toulon on June 1, 1893; she was 159 feet in length, beam 12 feet 4 inches, and had a total displacement of 266 tons. Her shell was of "Roma" bronze, a non-magnetic metal, and one that could not be attacked by sea water.

The motive power was furnished by two independent electro-motors of 360 horse-power each and fed by accumulators. In order to endow the boat with a wide radius of action a storage battery was provided.

The successive crews of the Gustave Zédé suffered much from the poisonous fumes of the accumulators, and during the earlier trials all the men on board were ill.

In the bows was a torpedo tube, and an arrangement was used whereby the water that entered the tube after the discharge of the torpedo was forced out by compressed air. Three Whitehead torpedoes were carried. In spite of the fact that a horizontal rudder placed at the stern had not proved serviceable on the Gymnote, such a rudder was fitted in the Gustave Zédé. With this rudder she usually plunged at an angle of about 5°, but on several occasions she behaved in a very erratic fashion, seesawing up and down, and once when the Committee of Experts were on board, she proved so capricious, going down at an angle of 30°-35°, often throwing the poor gentlemen on to the floor, that it was decided to fix a system of six rudders, three on each side.

Four water tanks were carried, one at each end and two in the middle, and the water was expelled by four pumps worked by a little electro-motor; these pumps also furnished the air necessary for the crew and for the discharge of the torpedoes. For underwater vision, an optical tube and a periscope had been provided.

On July 5, 1899, still another submarine boat was launched for the French Navy. She was called the Morse. She was 118 feet long, 9 feet beam, displaced 146 tons, and was likewise made of "Roma" bronze. The motive power was electricity and in many other respects she was very similar to the Gustave Zédé, embodying, however, a number of improvements. M. Calmette, who accompanied the French Minister of War on the trial trip of the Morse, described his experience in the Paris Figaro  as follows:

General André, Dr. Vincent, a naval doctor, and I entered the submarine boat Morse  through the narrow opening in the upper surface of the boat. Our excursion was to begin immediately; in two hours we came to the surface of the water again three miles to the north to rejoin the Narval. Turning to the crew, every man of which was at his post, the commandant gave his orders, dwelling with emphasis on each word. A sailor repeated his orders one by one, and all was silent. The Morse  had already started on its mysterious voyage, but was skimming along the surface until outside the port in order to avoid the numerous craft in the Arsenal. To say that at this moment, which I had so keenly anticipated, I did not have the tremor which comes from contact with the unknown would be beside the truth. On the other hand, calm and imperturbable, but keenly curious as to this novel form of navigation, General André had already taken his place near the commandant on a folding seat. There were no chairs in this long tube in which we were imprisoned. Everything was arranged for the crew alone, with an eye to serious action. Moreover, the Minister of War was too tall to stand upright beneath the iron ceiling, and in any case it would be impossible to walk about.

The only free space was a narrow passage, sixty centimetres broad, less than two metres high, and thirty metres long, divided into three equal sections. In the first, in the forefront of the tube, reposed the torpedoes, with the machine for launching them, which at a distance of from 500 to 600 metres were bound to sink, with the present secret processes, the largest of ironclads. In the second section were the electric accumulators which gave the light and power. In the third, near the screw, was the electric motor which transformed into movement the current of the accumulators. Under all this, beneath the floor, from end to end, were immense water ballasts, which were capable of being emptied or filled in a few seconds by electric machines, in order to carry the vessel up or down. Finally, in the centre of the tube, dominating these three sections, which the electric light inundated, and which no partition divided, the navigating lieutenant stood on the lookout giving his orders.

There was but one thing which could destroy in a second all the sources of authority, initiative, and responsibility in this officer. That was the failure of the accumulators. Were the electricity to fail everything would come to a stop. Darkness would overtake the boat and imprison it for ever in the water. To avoid any such disaster there have been arranged, it is true, outside the tube and low down, a series of lead blades which were capable of being removed from within to lighten the vessel. But admitting that the plunger would return to the surface, the boat would float hither and thither, and at all events lose all its properties as a submarine vessel. To avoid any such disaster a combination of motors have been in course of construction for some months, so that the accumulators might be loaded afresh on the spot, in case of their being used up.

The Morse, after skimming along the surface of the water until outside the port, was now about to sink. The commandant's place was no longer in the helmet or kiosque whence he could direct the route along the surface of the sea. His place was henceforth in the very centre of the tube, in the midst of all sort of electric manipulators, his eyes continually fixed on a mysterious optical apparatus, the periscope. The other extremity of this instrument floated on the surface of the water, and whatever the depth of the plunge it gave him a perfectly faithful and clear representation, as in a camera, of everything occurring on the water.

The most interesting moment of all now came. I hastened to the little opening to get the impression of total immersion. The lieutenant by the marine chart verified the depths. The casks of water were filled and our supply of air was thereby renewed from their stores of surplus air. In our tiny observatory, where General André stationed himself above me, a most unexpected spectacle presented itself as the boat was immersed.

The plunge was so gentle that in the perfect silence of the waters one did not perceive the process of descent, and there was only an instrument capable of indicating, by a needle, the depth to which the Morse  was penetrating. The vessel was advancing while at the same time it descended, but there was no sensation of either advance or roll. As to respiration, it was as perfect as in any room. M. de Lanessan, who since entering office has ordered eight more submarine vessels, had concerned himself with the question as a medical man also, and, thanks to the labours of a commission formed by him, the difficulties of respiration were entirely solved. The crew were able to remain under water sixteen hours without the slightest strain. Our excursion on this occasion lasted scarcely two hours. Towards noon, by means of the mysterious periscope, which, always invisible, floated on the surface and brought to the vessel below a reflection of all that passed up above, the captain showed us the Narval, which had just emerged with its two flags near the old battery Impregnable. From the depths in which we were sailing we watched its slightest manœuvres until the admiral's flag, waving on the top of a fort, reminded us that it was time to return.

The Submarine's Perfect Work.
Painting by John E. Whiting.

Beginnings of Submarine Invention

In September, 1914 the British Fleet in the North Sea had settled down to the monotonous task of holding the coasts of Germany and the channels leading to them in a state of blockade. The work was dismal enough. The ships tossing from day to day on the always unquiet waters of the North Sea were crowded with Jackies all of whom prayed each day that the German would come from hiding and give battle. Not far from the Hook of Holland engaged in this monotonous work were three cruisers of about 12,000 tons, each carrying 755 men and officers. They were the CressyAboukir, and Hogue —not vessels of the first rank but still important factors in the British blockade. They were well within the torpedo belt and it may be believed that unceasing vigilance was observed on every ship. Nevertheless without warning the other two suddenly saw the Aboukir  overwhelmed by a flash of fire, a pillar of smoke and a great geyser of water that rose from the sea and fell heavily upon her deck. Instantly followed a thundering explosion as the magazines of the doomed ship went off. Within a very few minutes, too little time to use their guns against the enemy had they been able to see him, or to lower their boats, the Aboukir  sank leaving the crew floundering in the water.

In the distance lay the German submarine U-9—one of the earliest of her class in service. From her conning tower Captain Weddigen had viewed the tragedy. Now seeing the two sister ships speeding to the rescue he quickly submerged. It may be noted that as a result of what followed, orders were given by the British Admiralty that in the event of the destruction of a ship by a submarine others in the same squadron should not come to the rescue of the victim, but scatter as widely as possible to avoid a like fate. In this instance the Hogue  and the Cressy  hurried to the spot whence the Aboukir  had vanished and began lowering their boats. Hardly had they begun the work of mercy when a torpedo from the now unseen foe struck the Hogue  and in twenty minutes she too had vanished. While she was sinking the Cressy, with all guns ready for action and her gunners scanning the sea in every direction for this deadly enemy, suddenly felt the shock of a torpedo and, her magazines having been set off, followed her sister ships to the ocean's bed.

In little more than half an hour thirty-six thousand tons of up-to-date British fighting machinery, and more than 1200 gallant blue jackets had been sent to the depths of the North Sea by a little boat of 450 tons carrying a crew of twenty-six men.

The world stood aghast. With the feeling of horror at the swift death of so many caused by so few, there was mingled a feeling of amazement at the scientific perfection of the submarine, its power, and its deadly work. Men said it was the end of dreadnoughts, battleships, and cruisers, but the history of the war has shown singularly few of these destroyed by submarines since the first novelty of the attack wore off. The world at the moment seemed to think that the submarine was an entirely new idea and invention. But like almost everything else it was merely the ultimate reduction to practical use of an idea that had been germinating in the mind of man from the earliest days of history.

We need not trouble ourselves with the speculations of Alexander the Great, Aristotle, and Pliny concerning "underwater" activities. Their active minds gave consideration to the problem, but mainly as to the employment of divers. Not until the first part of the sixteenth century do we find any very specific reference to actual underwater boats. That appears in a book of travels by Olaus Magnus, Archbishop of Upsala in Sweden. Notwithstanding the gentleman's reverend quality, one must question somewhat the veracity of the chapter which he heads:

"Of the Leather Ships Made of Hides Used by the Pyrats of Greenland."

He professed to have seen two of these "ships," more probably boats, hanging in a cathedral church in Greenland. With these singular vessels, according to his veracious reports the people of that country could navigate under water and attack stranger ships from beneath. "For the Inhabitants of that Countrey are wont to get small profits by the spoils of others," he wrote, "by these and the like treacherous Arts, who by their thieving wit, and by boring a hole privately in the sides of the ships beneath (as I said) have let in the water and presently caused them to sink."

Leaving the tale of the Archbishop where we think it must belong in the realm of fiction, we may note that it was not until the beginning of the seventeenth century that the first submarine boat was actually built and navigated. A Hollander, Cornelius Drebel, or Van Drebel, born in 1572, in the town of Alkmaar, had come to London during the reign of James I., who became his patron and friend. Drebel seems to have been a serious student of science and in many ways far ahead of his times. Moreover, he had the talent of getting next to royalty. In 1620 he first conceived the idea of building a submarine. Fairly detailed descriptions of his boats—he built three from 1620-1624—and of their actual use, have been handed down to us by men whose accuracy and truthfulness cannot be doubted. The Honorable Robert Boyle, a scientist of unquestioned seriousness, tells in his New Experiments, Physico-Mechanical touching the Spring of the Air and its Effects  about Drebel's work in the quaint language of his time:

But yet on occasion of this opinion of Paracelsus, perhaps it will not be impertinent if, before I proceed, I acquaint your Lordship with a conceit of that deservedly famous mechanician and Chymist, Cornelius Drebel, who, among other strange things that he perform'd, is affirm'd, by more than a few credible persons, to have contrived for the late learned King James, a vessel to go under water; of which, trial was made in the Thames, with admired success, the vessel carrying twelve rowers, besides passengers; one which is yet alive, and related it to an excellent Mathematician that informed me of it. Now that for which I mention this story is, that having had the curiosity and opportunity to make particular inquiries among the relations of Drebel, and especially of an ingenious physician that married his daughter, concerning the grounds upon which he conceived it feasible to make men unaccustomed to continue so long under water without suffocation, or (as the lately mentioned person that went in the vessel affirms) without inconvenience; I was answered, that Drebel conceived, that it is not the whole body of the air, but a certain quintessence (as Chymists speak) or spirituous part of it, that makes it fit for respiration; which being spent, the remaining grosser body, or carcase, if I may so call it, of the air, is unable to cherish the vital flame residing in the heart; so that, for aught I could gather, besides the mechanical contrivances of his vessel, he had a chymical liquor, which he accounted the chief secret of his submarine navigation. For when, from time to time, he conceived that the finer and purer part of the air was consumed, or over-clogged by the respiration and steam of those that went in his ship, he would by unstopping a vessel full of this liquor, speedily restore to the troubled air such a proportion of vital parts, as would make it again, for a good while, fit for respiration whether by dissipating, or precipitating the grosser exhalations, or by some other intelligible way, I must not now stay to examine, contenting myself to add, that having had the opportunity to do some service to those of his relations that were most intimate with him, and having made it my business to learn what this strange liquor might be, they constantly affirmed that Drebel would never disclose the liquor unto any, nor so much as tell the nature whereof he had made it, to above one person, who himself assured me what it was.

This most curious narrative suggests that in some way Drebel, who died in London in 1634, had discovered the art of compressing oxygen and conceived the idea of making it serviceable for freshening the air in a boat, or other place, contaminated by the respiration of a number of men for a long time. Indeed the reference made to the substance by which Drebel purified the atmosphere in his submarine as "a liquor" suggests that he may possibly have hit upon the secret of liquid air which late in the nineteenth century caused such a stir in the United States. Of his possession of some such secret there can be no doubt whatsoever, for Samuel Pepys refers in his famous diary to a lawsuit, brought in the King's Courts by the heirs of Drebel, to secure the secret for their own use. What was the outcome of the suit or the subsequent history of Drebel's invention history does not record.

Throughout the next 150 years a large number of inventors and near-inventors occupied themselves with the problem of the submarine. Some of these men went no further than to draw plans and to write out descriptions of what appeared to them to be feasible submarine boats. Others took one step further, by taking out patents, but only very few of the submarine engineers of this period had either the means or the courage to test their inventions in the only practicable way, by building an experimental boat and using it.

In spite of this apparent lack of faith on the part of the men who worked on the submarine problem, it would not be fair to condemn them as fakirs. Experimental workers, in those times, had to face many difficulties which were removed in later times. The study of science and the examination of the forces of nature were not only not as popular as they became later, but frequently were looked upon as blasphemous, savouring of sorcery, or as a sign of an unbalanced mind.

© Kadel & Herbert.

A Gas Attack Photographed from an Airplane.

England and France supplied most of the men who occupied themselves with the submarine problem between 1610 and 1760. Of the Englishmen, the following left records of one kind or another concerning their labours in this direction. Richard Norwood, in 1632, was granted a patent for a contrivance which was apparently little more than a diving apparatus. In 1648, Bishop Wilkins published a book, Mathematical Magick, which was full of rather grotesque projects and which contained one chapter on the possibility "of framing an ark for submarine navigation." In 1691, patents were granted on engines connected with submarine navigation to John Holland—curious forerunner of a name destined to be famous two hundred years later—and on a submarine boat to Sir Stephen Evance.

In Prance, two priests, Fathers Mersenne and Fournier, published in 1634 a small book called Questions Théologiques, Physiques, Morales et Mathématiques, which contained a detailed description of a submarine boat. They suggested that the hull of submarines ought to be of metal and not of wood, and that their shape ought to be as nearly fishlike as possible. Nearly three hundred years have hardly altered these opinions. Ancient French records also tell us that six years later, in 1640, the King of France had granted a patent to Jean Barrié, permitting him during the next twelve years to fish at the bottom of the sea with his boat. Unluckily Barrié's fish stories have expired with his permit. In 1654, a French engineer, De Son, is said to have built at Rotterdam a submarine boat. Little is known concerning this vessel except that it was reported to have been seventy-two feet long, twelve feet high, and eight feet broad, and to have been propelled by a paddlewheel instead of oars.

Borelli, about whom very little seems to be known, is credited with having invented in 1680 a submarine boat, whose descent and ascent were regulated by a series of leather bottles placed in the hull of the boat with their mouths open to the surrounding water. The English magazine, Graphic, published a picture which is considered the oldest known illustration of any submarine boat. This picture matches in all details the description of Borelli's boat, but it is credited to a man called Symons.

Twenty-seven years later, in 1774, another Englishman, J. Day, built a small submarine boat, and after fairly extensive experiments, descended in his boat in Plymouth harbour. This descent is of special interest because we have a more detailed record of it than of any previous submarine exploit, and because Day is the first submarine inventor who lost his life in the attempt to prove the feasibility of his invention. The Annual Register  of 1774 gives a narration in detail of Day's experiments and death and inasmuch as this is the first ungarbled report of a submarine descent, it may be quoted at length.

Authentic account of a late unfortunate transaction, with respect to a diving machine at Plymouth.

Mr. Day (the sole projector of the scheme, and, as matters have turned out, the unhappy sacrifice to his own ingenuity) employed his thoughts for some years past in planning a method of sinking a vessel under water, with a man in it, who should live therein for a certain time, and then by his own means only, bring himself up to the surface. After much study he conceived that his plan could be reduced into practice. He communicated his idea in the part of the country where he lived, and had the most sanguine hopes of success. He went so far as to try his project in the Broads near Yarmouth. He fitted a Norwich market-boat for his purpose, sunk himself thirty feet under water, where he continued during the space of twenty-four hours, and executed his design to his own entire satisfaction. Elated with this success, he then wanted to avail himself of his invention. He conversed with his friends, convinced them that he had brought his undertaking to a certainty; but how to reap the advantage of it was the difficulty that remained. The person in whom he confided suggested to him, that, if he acquainted the sporting Gentlemen with the discovery, and the certainty of the performance, considerable betts would take place, as soon as the project would be mentioned in company. The Sporting Kalendar was immediately looked into, and the name of Blake soon occurred; that gentleman was fixed upon as the person to whom Mr. Day ought to address himself. Accordingly, Mr. Blake, in the month of November last, received the following letter:

"Sir ,

"I found out an affair by which many thousands may be won; it is of a paradoxical nature, but can be performed with ease; therefore, sir, if you chuse to be informed of it, and give me one hundred pounds of every thousand you shall win by it, I will very readily wait upon you and inform you of it. I am myself but a poor mechanic and not able to make anything by it without your assistance.

"Your's, etc.

"J. DAY."

Mr. Blake had no conception of Mr. Day's design, nor was he sure that the letter was serious. To clear the matter up, he returned for answer, that, if Mr. Day would come to town, and explain himself, Mr. Blake would consider of the proposal. If he approved of it, Mr. Day should have the recompence he desired; if, on the other hand, the plan should be rejected, Mr. Blake would make him a present to defray the expences of his journey. In a short time after Mr. Day came to town; Mr. Blake saw him and desired to know what secret he was possessed of. The man replied, "that he could sink a ship 100 feet deep in the sea with himself in it, and remain therein for the space of 24 hours, without communication with anything above; and at the expiration of the time, rise up again in the vessel." The proposal, in all its parts, was new to Mr. Blake. He took down the particulars, and, after considering the matter, desired some kind of proof of the practicability. The man added that if Mr. Blake would furnish him with the materials necessary, he would give him an occular demonstration. A model of the vessel, with which he was to perform the experiment, was then required, and in three or four weeks accomplished, so as to give a perfect idea of the principle upon which the scheme was to be executed, and, in time, a very plausible promise of success, not to Mr. Blake only, but many other gentlemen who were consulted upon the occasion. The consequence was, that Mr. Blake, agreeably to the man's desire, advanced money for the construction of a vessel fit for that purpose. Mr. Day, thus assisted, went to Plymouth with his model, and set a man in that place to work upon it. The pressure of the water at 100 feet deep was a circumstance of which Mr. Blake was advised, and touching that article he gave the strongest precautions to Mr. Day, telling him, at any expence, to fortify the chamber in which he was to subsist, against the weight of such a body of water. Mr. Day set off in great spirits for Plymouth, and seemed so confident, that Mr. Blake made a bett that the project would succeed, reducing, however, the depth of water from 100 yards to 100 feet, and the time from 24 to 12 hours. By the terms of the wager, the experiment was to be made within three months from the date; but so much time was necessary for due preparation, that on the appointed day things were not in readiness and Mr. Blake lost the bett.

Photo by International Film Service.

A French Nieuport Dropping a Bomb.

In some short time afterwards the vessel was finished, and Mr. Day still continued eager for the carrying of his plan into execution; he was uneasy at the idea of dropping the scheme and wished for an opportunity to convince Mr. Blake that he could perform what he had undertaken. He wrote from Plymouth that everything was in readiness and should be executed the moment Mr. Blake arrived. Induced by this promise, Mr. Blake set out for Plymouth; upon his arrival a trial was made in Cat-water, where Mr. Day lay, during the flow of tide, six hours, and six more during the tide of ebb; confined all the time in the room appropriated for his use. A day for the final determination was fixed; the vessel was towed to the place agreed upon; Mr. Day provided himself with whatever he thought necessary; he went into the vessel, let the water into her and with great composure retired to the room constructed for him, and shut up the valve. The ship went gradually down in 22 fathoms of water at 2 o'clock on Tuesday, June 28, in the afternoon, being to return at 2 the next morning. He had three buoys or messengers, which he could send to the surface at option, to announce his situation below; but, none appearing, Mr. Blake, who was near at hand in a barge, began to entertain some suspicion. He kept a strict lookout, and at the time appointed, neither the buoys nor the vessel coming up, he applied to the Orpheus  frigate, which lay just off the barge, for assistance. The captain with the most ready benevolence supplied them with everything in his power to seek for the ship. Mr. Blake, in this alarming situation was not content with the help of the Orpheus  only; he made immediate application to Lord Sandwich (who happened to be at Plymouth) for further relief. His Lordship with great humanity ordered a number of hands from the dock-yard, who went with the utmost alacrity and tried every effort to regain the ship, but unhappily without effect.

Thus ended this unfortunate affair. Mr. Blake had not experience enough to judge of all possible contingencies, and he had now only to lament the credulity with which he listened to a projector, fond of his own scheme but certainly not possessed of skill enough to guard against the variety of accidents to which he was liable. The poor man has unfortunately shortened his days; he was not however tempted or influenced by anybody; he confided in his own judgment, and put his life to the hazard upon his own mistaken notions.

Many and various have been the opinions on this strange, useless, and fatal experiment, though the more reasonable part of mankind seemed to give it up as wholly impracticable. It is well-known, that pent-up air, when overcharged with the vapours emitted out of animal bodies, becomes unfit for respiration; for which reason, those confined in the diving-bell, after continuing some time under water are obliged to come up, and take in fresh air, or by some such means recruit it. That any man should be able after having sunk a vessel to so great a depth, to make that vessel at pressure, so much more specifically lighter than water, as thereby to enable it to force its way to the surface, through the depressure of so great a weight, is a matter not hastily to be credited. Even cork, when sunk to a certain depth will, by the great weight of the fluid upon it, be prevented from rising.

The English of the Annual Register  leaves much to be desired in clarity. It makes reasonably clear, however, that the unfortunate Mr. Day's knowledge of submarine conditions was, by no means, equal to Mr. Blake's sporting spirit. Even to-day one hundred feet is an unusual depth of submersion for the largest submarines.

The credit for using a submarine boat for the first time in actual warfare belongs to a Yankee, David Bushnell. He was born in Saybrook, Connecticut, and graduated from Yale with the class of 1775. While still in college he was interested in science and as far as his means and opportunities allowed, he devoted a great deal of his time and energy to experimental work. The problem which attracted his special attention was how to explode powder under water, and before very long he succeeded in solving this to his own satisfaction as well as to that of a number of prominent people amongst whom were the Governor of Connecticut and his Council. Bushnell's experiments, of course, fell in the period during which the Revolutionary War was fought, and when he had completed his invention, there naturally presented itself to him a further problem. How could his device be used for the benefit of his country and against the British ships which were then threatening New York City? As a means to this end, Bushnell planned and built a submarine boat which on account of its shape is usually called the Turtle.

General Washington thought very highly of Bushnell, whom he called in a letter to Thomas Jefferson "a man of great mechanical powers, fertile in inventions and master of execution." In regard to Bushnell's submarine boat the same letter, written after its failure, says: "I thought and still think that it was an effort of genius, but that too many things were necessary to be combined to expect much against an enemy who are always on guard."

During the whole period of the building of the Turtle  Bushnell was in ill health. Otherwise he would have navigated it on its trial trip himself for he was a man of undoubted courage and wrapped up alike in the merits of his invention and in the possibility of utilizing it to free New York from the constant ignominy of the presence of British ships in its harbour. But his health made this out of the question. Accordingly he taught his brother the method of navigating the craft, but at the moment for action the brother too fell ill. It became necessary to hire an operator. This was by no means easy as volunteers to go below the water in a submarine boat of a type hitherto undreamed of, and to attach an explosive to the hull of a British man-of-war, the sentries upon which were presumably especially vigilant, being in a hostile harbour, was an adventure likely to attract only the most daring and reckless spirits. In a letter to Thomas Jefferson, other portions of which we shall have occasion to quote later, Bushnell refers to this difficulty in finding a suitable operator and tells briefly and with evident chagrin the story of the failure of the attempts made to utilize successfully his submarine:

Photo by U. & U.

A Bomb-Dropping Taube.

After various attempts to find an operator to my wish, I sent one who appeared more expert than the rest from New York to a 50-gun ship lying not far from Governor's Island. He went under the ship and attempted to fix the wooden screw into her bottom, but struck, as he supposes, a bar of iron which passes from the rudder hinge, and is spiked under the ship's quarter. Had he moved a few inches, which he might have done without rowing, I have no doubt but he would have found wood where he might have fixed the screw, or if the ship were sheathed with copper he might easily have pierced it; but, not being well skilled in the management of the vessel, in attempting to move to another place he lost the ship. After seeking her in vain for some time, he rowed some distance and rose to the surface of the water, but found daylight had advanced so far that he durst not renew the attempt. He says that he could easily have fastened the magazine under the stem of the ship above water, as he rowed up to the stern and touched it before he descended. Had he fastened it there the explosion of 150 lbs. of powder (the quantity contained in the magazine) must have been fatal to the ship. In his return from the ship to New York he passed near Governor's Island, and thought he was discovered by the enemy on the island. Being in haste to avoid the danger he feared, he cast off the magazine, as he imagined it retarded him in the swell, which was very considerable. After the magazine had been cast off one hour, the time the internal apparatus was set to run, it blew up with great violence.

Afterwards there were two attempts made in Hudson's River, above the city, but they effected nothing. One of them was by the aforementioned person. In going towards the ship he lost sight of her, and went a great distance beyond her. When he at length found her the tide ran so strong that, as he descended under water for the ship's bottom, it swept him away. Soon after this the enemy went up the river and pursued the boat which had the submarine vessel on board and sunk it with their shot. Though I afterwards recovered the vessel, I found it impossible at that time to prosecute the design any farther.

The operator to whom Bushnell had entrusted his submarine boat was a typical Yankee, Ezra Lee of Lyme, Connecticut. His story of the adventure differs but little from that of Bushnell, but it is told with a calm indifference to danger and a seeming lack of any notion of the extraordinary in what he had done that gives an idea of the man. "When I rode under the stern of the ship [the Eagle ] I could see the men on deck and hear them talk," he wrote. "I then shut down all the doors, sunk down, and came up under the bottom of the ship."

This means that he hermetically sealed himself inside of a craft, shaped like two upper turtle shells joined together—hence the name of the Turtle. He had entered through the orifice at the top, whence the head of the turtle usually protrudes. This before sinking he had covered and made water-tight by screwing down upon it a brass crown or top like that to a flask. Within he had enough air to support him thirty minutes. The vessel stood upright, not flat as a turtle carries himself. It was maintained in this position by lead ballast. Within the operator occupied an upright position, half sitting, half standing. To sink water was admitted, which gathered in the lower part of the boat, while to rise again this was expelled by a force pump. There were ventilators and portholes for the admission of light and air when operating on the surface, but once the cap was screwed down the operator was in darkness.

In this craft, which suggests more than anything else a curiously shaped submarine coffin, Lee drifted along by the side of the ship, navigating with difficulty with his single oar and seeking vainly to find some spot to which he might affix his magazine. A fact which might have disquieted a more nervous man was that the clockwork of this machine was running and had been set to go off in an hour from the time the voyage was undertaken. As to almost anyone in that position minutes would seem hours, the calmness of sailor Lee's nerves seems to be something beyond the ordinary.

When he finally abandoned the attempt on the Eagle  he started up the bay. Off Governor's Island he narrowly escaped capture.

When I was abreast of the Fort on the Island three hundred or four hundred men got upon the parapet to observe me; at length a number came down to the shore, shoved off a twelve oar'd barge with five or six sitters and pulled for me. I eyed them, and when they had got within fifty or sixty yards of me I let loose the magazine in hopes that if they should take me they would likewise pick up the magazine and then we should all be blown up together. But as kind providence would have it they took fright and returned to the Island to my infinite joy.... The magazine after getting a little past the Island went off with a tremendous explosion, throwing up large bodies of water to an immense height.

During the last quarter of the eighteenth and during the first half of the nineteenth century France was the chief centre for the activities of submarine inventors. However, very few of the many plans put forward in this period were executed. The few exceptions resulted in little else than trial boats which usually did not live up to the expectations of their inventors or their financial backers and were, therefore, discarded in quick order. In spite of this lack of actual results this particular period was of considerable importance to the later development of the submarine. Almost every one of the many boats then projected or built contained some innovation and in this way some of the many obstacles were gradually overcome. Strictly speaking the net result of the experimental work done during these seventy-five years by a score or more of men, most of whom were French, though a few were English, was the creation of a more sane and sound basis on which, before long, other men began to build with greater success.

The one notable accomplishment of interest, especially to Americans, was the submarine built in 1800-01 by Robert Fulton. Fulton, of course, is far better known by his work in connection with the discovery and development of steam navigation. Born in Pennsylvania in 1765, he early showed marked mechanical genius. In 1787 he went to England with the purpose of studying art under the famous painter West, but soon began to devote most of his time and energy to mechanical problems. Not finding in England as much encouragement as he had hoped, he went, in 1797, to Paris and, for the next seven years, lived there in the house of the American Minister, Joel Barlow.

As soon as he had settled down in France, he offered his plans of a submarine boat which he called the Nautilus  to the French Government. Though a special commission reported favourably on this boat, the opposition of the French Minister of the Marine was too strong to be overcome, even after another commission had approved a model built by Fulton. In 1800, however, he was successful in gaining the moral and financial support of Napoleon Bonaparte, then First Consul of the French Republic.

Fulton immediately proceeded to build the Nautilus  and completed the boat in May, 1801. It was cigar-shaped, about seven feet in diameter and over twenty-one feet in length. The hull was of copper strengthened by iron ribs. The most noticeable features were a collapsible mast and sail and a small conning tower at the forward end. The boat was propelled by a wheel affixed to the centre of the stern and worked by a hand-winch. A rudder was used for steering, and increased stability was gained by a keel which ran the whole length of the hull.

© U. & U.

A Captured German Fokker Exhibited at the Invalides.

Soon after completion the boat was taken out for a number of trial trips all of which were carried out with signal success and finally culminated, on June 26, 1801, in the successful blowing up of an old ship furnished by the French Government. Although the Nautilus  created a great sensation, popular as well as official interest began soon to flag. Fulton received no further encouragement and finally gave up his submarine experiments.

© U. & U.

A British Seaplane with Folding Wings.

In 1806 he returned to America. By 1814 he had built another submarine boat which he called the Mute. It was, comparatively speaking, of immense size, being over eighty feet long, twenty-one feet wide, and fourteen feet deep and accommodating a hundred men. It was iron-plated on top and derived its peculiar name from the fact that it was propelled by a noiseless engine. Before its trials could be completed, Fulton died on February 24, 1815, and no one seemed to have sufficient interest or faith in his new boat to continue his work.

In the middle of the nineteenth century for the first time a German became seriously interested in submarines. His name was Wilhelm Bauer. He was born in 1822 in a small town in Bavaria and, though a turner by trade, joined the army in 1842. Bauer was even in his youth of a highly inventive turn of mind. He possessed an indomitable will and an unlimited supply of enthusiasm. Step by step he acquired, in what little time he could spare from his military duties, the necessary mechanical knowledge, and finally, supported financially by a few loyal friends and patrons, he built his first submarine at Kiel at a cost of about $2750. It sank to the bottom on its first trial trip, fortunately without anyone on board. Undaunted he continued his efforts.

When he found that his support at Kiel was weakening, he promptly went to Austria. In spite of glowing promises, opposition on the part of some officials deprived Bauer of the promised assistance. He went then to England and succeeded in enlisting the interest of the Prince Consort. A boat was built according to Bauer's plans, which, however, he was forced by the interference of politicians to change to such an extent that it sank on its first trial with considerable loss of life.

Still full of faith in his ability to produce a successful submarine, Bauer now went to Russia. In 1855, he built a boat at St. Petersburg and had it accepted by the Russian Government. It was called Le Diable Marin  and looked very much like a dolphin. Its length was fifty-two feet, its beam twelve feet five inches, and its depth eleven feet. Its hull was of iron. A propeller, worked by four wheels, furnished motive power. Submersion and stability were regulated by four cylinders into which water could be pumped at will.

The first trial of the boat was made on May 26, 1856, and was entirely successful. In later trials as many as fourteen men at a time descended in Le Diable Marin. It is said that Bauer made a total of 134 trips on his boat. All but two were carried out successfully. At one time, however, the propeller was caught in some seaweed and it was only by the quickest action that all the water was pumped out and the bow of the boat allowed to rise out of the water, so that the occupants managed to escape by means of the hatchway. Like Fulton in France, Bauer now experienced in Russia a sudden decrease of official interest. When he finally lost his boat, about four weeks later, he also lost his courage, and in 1858 he returned to Germany where he later died in comparative poverty.

Contemporary with Bauer's submarines and immediately following them were a large number of other boats. Some of these were little more than freaks. Others failed in certain respects but added new features to the sum-total of submarine inventions. As early as 1854, M. Marié-Davy, Professor of Chemistry at Montpellier University, suggested an electro-magnetic engine as motive power. In 1855 a well-known engineer, J. Nasmith, suggested a submerged motor, driven by a steam engine. None of the boats of this period proved successful enough, however, to receive more than passing notice, and very few, indeed, ever reached the trial stage. But before long the rapid development of internal-combustion engines and the immense progress made in the study of electricity was to advance the development of submarines by leaps and bounds.

John P. Holland and Simon Lake

The Naval Committee of the House of Representatives of the United States in the early part of 1900 held a meeting for the purpose of hearing expert testimony upon the subject of submarines. Up to then the United States authorities had shown, as compared with the ruling powers of other navies, only a limited amount of interest in the submarine question. Increased appropriations for the construction of submarine boats which were then beginning to become more frequent in other countries acted, however, as a stimulus at this time.

The committee meeting took place a few days after some of the members of the committee, together with a number of United States navy officers, had attended an exhibition of a new submarine boat, the Holland No. 9.

The late Admiral Dewey gave the following opinion about this submarine to the committee, an opinion which since then has become rather famous:

Gentlemen: I saw the operation of the boat down off Mount Vernon the other day. Several members of this committee were there. I think we were very much impressed with its performance. My aid, Lieutenant Caldwell, was on board. The boat did everything that the owners proposed to do. I said then, and I have said it since, that if they had two of those things at Manila, I could never have held it with the squadron I had. The moral effect—to my mind, it is infinitely superior to mines or torpedoes or anything of the kind. With two of those in Galveston all the navies of the world could not blockade the place.

Admiral Dewey's approval of the Holland No. 9  undoubtedly exerted a considerable influence on the Naval Committee and as a result of its recommendations the United States Government finally purchased the boat on April 11, 1900, for $150,000. This amount was about $86,000 less than the cost of building to the manufacturers, the Holland Torpedo Boat Company. The latter, however, could well afford to take this loss because this first sale resulted a few months afterwards—on August 25th—in an order for six additional submarines. The British Government also contracted in the fall of the same year for five Hollands. The navy of almost every power interested in submarines soon followed the lead of the British Admiralty. Submarines of the Holland type were either ordered outright, or else arrangements were concluded permitting the use of the basic patents held by the Holland Company. It will be noted that the United States Government having discovered that it had a good thing benevolently shared it with the governments that might be expected to use it against us.

Copyright by Munn & Co., Inc.
From the Scientific American.

Types of American Aircraft.

The Holland No. 9, as her very name indicates, was one of a long line of similar boats. As compared with other experimental submarine boats she was small. She was only fifty-three feet ten inches long, and ten feet seven inches deep. Although these proportions made her look rather thickset, they were the result of experimental work done by the builder during a period of twenty-five years. She was equipped both with a gasoline engine of fifty horse-power and an electric motor run by storage batteries. The latter was intended for use when the boat was submerged, the former when she was travelling on the surface of the water. She was capable of a maximum speed of seven knots an hour. Her cruising radius was 1500 miles and the combination of oil and electric motors proved so successful that from that time on every submarine built anywhere adopted this principle. Two horizontal rudders placed at the stern of the boat steered her downward whenever she wanted to dive and so accomplished a diver was this boat that a depth of twenty-eight feet could be reached by her in five seconds. Her conning tower was the only means of making observations. No periscopes had been provided because none of the instruments available at that time gave satisfaction. This meant that whenever she wished to aim at her target it was necessary for her to make a quick ascent to the surface. Her stability was one of her most satisfactory features. So carefully had her proportions been worked out that there was practically no pitching or rolling when the boat was submerged. Even the concussion caused by the discharge of a torpedo was hardly noticeable because arrangements had been made to take up the recoil caused by the firing and to maintain the balance of the boat by permitting a quantity of water equal to the weight of the discharged torpedo to enter special compartments at the very moment of the discharge.

The Holland No. 9  was built at Lewis Nixon's shipyards at Elizabethport, New Jersey, and was launched early in 1898, just previous to the outbreak of the Spanish-American War. Although numerous requests were made to the United States Government by her inventor and builder, John P. Holland, for permission to take her into Santiago harbour in an attempt to torpedo Cervera's fleet, the navy authorities at Washington refused this permission. Why? Presumably through navy hostility to the submarine idea. When the Monitor  whipped the Merrimac  in 1862 the former ship belonged to her inventor, not to the United States Government. It would have been interesting had Holland at his own expense destroyed the Spanish ships.

John P. Holland at the time when he achieved his success was fifty-eight years old, Irish by birth and an early immigrant to the United States. He had been deeply interested for many years in mechanical problems and especially in those connected with navigation. The change from the old wooden battleships to the new ironclads and the rapidly increasing development of steam-engines acted as a strong stimulus to the young Irishman's experiments. It is claimed that his interest in submarine navigation was due primarily to his desire to find a weapon strong enough to destroy or at least dominate the British navy; for at that time Holland was strongly anti-British, because he, like many other educated Irishmen of that period, desired before everything else to free Ireland. His plans for doing this by supplying to the proposed Irish Republic a means for overcoming the British navy found little support and a great deal of ridicule on the part of his Irish friends. In spite of this he kept on with his work and in 1875 he built and launched his first submarine boat at Paterson. This boat was far from being very revolutionary. She was only sixteen feet long and two feet in diameter, shaped like a cigar but with both ends sharply pointed. In many respects except in appearance she was similar to Bushnell's Turtle. Room for only one operator was provided and the latter was to turn the propeller by means of pedals to be worked by his feet. She accomplished little beyond giving an opportunity to her inventor and builder to gather experience in actual underwater navigation.

Two years later in 1877 the Holland No. 2  was built. In spite of the number of improvements represented by her she was not particularly successful. Her double hull, it is true, provided space for carrying water ballast. But the leaks from this ballast tank continuously threatened to drown the navigator sitting inside of the second hull. A small oil engine of four horse-power was soon discarded on account of its inefficiency.

The experience gathered by Holland in building and navigating these two boats strengthened his determination to build a thoroughly successful submarine and increased his faith in his ability to do so. He opened negotiations with the Fenian Brotherhood. This was a secret society founded for the purpose of freeing Ireland from British rule and creating an Irish Republic. Holland finally succeeded in persuading his Fenian friends to order from him two submarine boats and to supply him with the necessary means to build them. Both of these boats were built. The lack of success of the first one was due primarily to the inefficiency of her engine. The second boat which was really the Holland No. 4  was built in 1881. It is usually known as the Fenian Ram, and is still in existence at New Haven, Connecticut, where a series of financial and political complications finally landed her.

These two boats added vastly to Holland's knowledge concerning submarine navigation. A few others which he built with his own means increased this fund of knowledge and step by step he came nearer to his goal. By 1888 his reputation as a submarine engineer and navigator had grown to such an extent that Holland was asked by the famous Philadelphia shipbuilders, the Cramps, to submit to them designs for a submarine boat to be built by the United States Government. Only one other design was submitted and this was by the Scandinavian, Nordenfeldt.

William C. Whitney, then Secretary of the United States Navy, accepted Holland's design. Month after month passed by wasted by the usual governmental red tape, and when all preliminary arrangements had been made and the contract for the actual building of an experimental boat was to be drawn up, a sudden change in the administration resulted in the dropping of the entire plan.

Holland's faith in the future submarine and in his own ability was still unshaken, but this was not the case with his financial condition. None of the boats he had built so far had brought him any profits and on some he had lost everything that he had put into them. His financial support, for which he relied entirely upon relatives and friends, was practically exhausted. But fortunately on March 3, 1893, Congress appropriated a sum of money to defray the expenses of constructing an experimental submarine. Invitations to inventors were extended. So precarious was Holland's financial condition at that time that he found it necessary to borrow the small sum of money involved in making plans which he had to submit. It is claimed that he succeeded in doing this in a manner highly typical of his thoroughness.

He needed only about $350.00 but even this comparatively small sum was more than he had. However, he happened to be lunching with a young lawyer just about this time and began to tell him about his financial difficulties. Holland told him that if he only had $347.19 he could prepare the plans and pay the necessary fees. And that done, he was sure of being able to win the competition. His lawyer friend, of course, had been approached before by other people for loans. Invariably they had asked him for some round sum and Holland's request for $347.19 when he might just as well have asked for $350.00 aroused his interest. He asked the inventor what the nineteen cents were to be used for. Quick as a flash he was told that they were needed to pay for a particular type of ruler necessary to draw the required plans. So impressed was the lawyer with Holland's accuracy and honesty in asking not a cent more than he actually needed that he at once advanced the money. And a good investment it turned out to be. For in exchange he received a good-sized block of stock in the Holland Torpedo Boat Company which in later years made him a multi-millionaire.

Holland's plans did win the competition just as he asserted that they would; but, of course, winning a prize, offered by a government, and getting that government to do something about it, are two different matters. So two years went by before the Holland Torpedo Boat Company at last was able to start with the construction of the new submarine which was to be called the Plunger.

The principal feature of this new boat was that it was to have a steam engine for surface navigation and an electric motor for underwater navigation. This arrangement was not so much a new invention of Holland's as an adaptation of ideas which had been promulgated by others. Especially indebted was he in this respect to Commander Hovgaard of the Danish navy who, in 1887, had published an important book on the subject of double propulsion in submarines. Though Holland had made many improvements on these earlier theories, he soon found out that even at that there was going to be serious trouble with the Plunger's  engines. The boat had been launched in 1897; but instead of finishing it, he persuaded the government to permit his company to build a new boat, and to return to the government all the money so far expended on the Plunger.

The new boat, Holland No. 8, was started immediately and completed in record time but she, too, was unsatisfactory to the inventor. So without loss of time he went ahead and built another boat, the Holland No. 9, which, as we have said, became the first United States submarine.

Two other men submitted plans for submarine boats in the competition which was won by the Holland boat, George C. Baker and Simon Lake. Neither of these was accepted. Mr. Baker made no further efforts to find out if his plans would result in a practicable submarine boat. But Simon Lake was not so easily discouraged.

It is very interesting that the United States Navy Department at that time demanded that plans submitted for this competition should meet the following specifications:

  • 1. Safety.
  • 2. Facility and certainty of action when submerged.
  • 3. Speed when running on the surface.
  • 4. Speed when submerged.
  • 5. Endurance, both submerged and on the surface.
  • 6. Stability.
  • 7. Visibility of object to be attacked.

In spite of the many years that have passed since this competition and in spite of the tremendous progress that has been made in submarine construction these are still the essential requirements necessary to make a successful submarine boat.

The designs submitted by Mr. Lake provided for a twin-screw vessel, 80 feet long, 10 feet beam, and 115 tons displacement, with 400 horse-power steam engines for surface propulsion and 70 horse-power motors for submerged work. The boat was to have a double hull, the spaces between the inner and the outer hulls forming water ballast tanks. There were to be four torpedo tubes, two forward and two aft.

In an article published in 1915 in International Marine Engineering, Mr. Lake says about his 1893 design:

The new and novel feature which attracted the most attention and skepticism regarding this design was (the author was later informed by a member of the board) the claim made that the vessel could readily navigate over the waterbed itself, and that while navigating on the waterbed a door could be opened in the bottom of a compartment and the water kept from entering the vessel by means of compressed air, and that the crew could, by donning diving suits, readily leave and enter the vessel while submerged. Another novel feature was in the method of controlling the depth of submergence when navigating between the surface and waterbed. The vessel was designed to always submerge and navigate on a level keel rather than to be inclined down or up by the back, to "dive" or "rise." This maintenance of a level keel while submerged was provided for by the installation of four depth regulating vanes which I later termed "hydroplanes" to distinguish them from the forward and aft levelling vanes or horizontal rudders. These hydroplanes were located at equal distances forward and aft of the center of gravity and buoyancy of the vessel when in the submerged condition, so as not to disturb the vessel when the planes were inclined down or up to cause the vessel to submerge or rise when under way.

I also used, in conjunction with the hydroplanes, horizontal rudders which I then called "levelling vanes," as their purpose was just the opposite from that of the horizontal rudder used in the diving type of vessel. They were operated by a pendulum controlling device to be inclined so as to always maintain the vessel on a level keel rather than to cause her to depart therefrom. When I came to try this combination out in practice, I found hand control of the horizontal rudders was sufficient. If vessels with this system of control have a sufficient amount of stability, you will run for hours and automatically maintain both a constant depth and a level keel, without the depth control man touching either the hydroplane or horizontal rudder control gear. This automatic maintenance of depth without manipulating the hydroplanes or rudders was a performance not anticipated, nor claimed in my original patent on the above-mentioned combination, and what caused these vessels to function in this manner remained a mystery, which was unsolved until I built a model tank in 1905 in Berlin, Germany, and conducted a series of experiments on models of submarines. I then learned that a down pull of a hydroplane at a given degree of inclination varied according to its depth of submergence and that the deeper the submergence, the less the down pull. This works out to give automatic trim on a substantially level keel, and I have known of vessels running for a period of two hours without variation of depth of one foot and without once changing the inclination of either the hydroplanes or the horizontal rudder.

A great deal of skepticism was displayed for many years towards this new system of controlling the depth of submergence. But in recent years all the latest submarine boats have been built on this plan.

Who, then, was this mechanical genius who was responsible for these far-going changes in submarine construction? Simon Lake was born at Pleasantville, New Jersey, September 4, 1866. He was educated at Clinton Liberal Institute, Fort Plain, New York, and Franklin Institute, Philadelphia. Early in life he displayed a marked interest in and genius for mechanical problems. His lack of success in the 1893 competition only spurred him on to further efforts. As long as the United States Government was unwilling to assist him in building his submarine boat, there was nothing left for him except to build it from his own means. In 1894, therefore, he set to work on an experimental boat, called the Argonaut, Jr. According to Mr. Lake's description as published in International Marine Engineering  in a series of articles from his pen the Argonaut, Jr., was

provided with three wheels, two on either side forward and one aft, the latter acting as a steering wheel. When on the bottom the wheels were rotated by hand by one or two men inside the boat. Her displacement was about seven tons, yet she could be propelled at a moderate walking gait when on the bottom. She was also fitted with an air lock and diver's compartment, so arranged that by putting an air pressure on the diver's compartment equal to the water pressure outside, a bottom door could be opened and no water would come into the vessel. Then by putting on a pair of rubber boots the operator could walk around on the sea bottom and push the boat along with him and pick up objects, such as clams, oysters, etc. from the sea bottom.

So much interest was aroused by this little wooden boat that Mr. Lake was enabled to finance the building of a larger boat, called the Argonaut. It was designed in 1895 and built in 1897 at Baltimore.

Concerning the Argonaut  Mr. Lake says in the same article:

The Argonaut  as originally built was 36 feet long and 9 feet in diameter. She was the first submarine to be fitted with an internal-combustion engine. She was propelled with a thirty horse-power gasoline (petrol) engine driving a screw propeller. She was fitted with two toothed driving wheels forward which were revolved by suitable gearing when navigating on the waterbed, or they could be disconnected from this gearing and permitted to revolve freely, propulsion being secured by the screw propeller. A wheel in the rudder enabled her to be steered in any direction when on the bottom. She also had a diving compartment to enable divers to leave or enter the vessel when submerged, to operate on wrecks or to permit inspection of the bottom or to recover shellfish. She also had a lookout compartment in the extreme bow, with a powerful searchlight to light up a pathway in front of her as she moved along over the waterbed. This searchlight I later found of little value except for night work in clear water. In clear water the sunlight would permit of as good vision without the use of the light as with it, while if the water was not clear, no amount of light would permit of vision through it for any considerable distance.

In January, 1898 [says Mr. Lake], while the Argonaut  was submerged, telephone conversation was held from submerged stations with Baltimore, Washington, and New York.

In 1898, also, the Argonaut  made the trip from Norfolk to New York under her own power and unescorted. In her original form she was a cigar-shaped craft with only a small percentage of reserve buoyancy in her surface cruising condition. We were caught out in the severe November northeast storm of 1898 in which over 200 vessels were lost and we did not succeed in reaching a harbour in the "horseshoe" back of Sandy Hook until, of course, in the morning. The seas were so rough they would break over her conning tower in such masses I was obliged to lash myself fast to prevent being swept overboard. It was freezing weather and I was soaked and covered with ice on reaching harbour.

This experience caused me to apply to the Argonaut  a further improvement for which I had already applied for a patent. This was, doubled around the usual pressure resisting body of a submarine, a ship-shape form of light plating which would give greater seaworthiness, better surface speed, and make the vessel more habitable for surface navigation. It would, in other words, make a "sea-going submarine," which the usual form of cigar-shaped vessel was not, as it would not have sufficient surface buoyancy to enable it to rise with the seas and the seas would sweep over it as they would sweep over a partly submerged rock.

The Argonaut  was, therefore, taken to Brooklyn, twenty feet added to her length, and a light water-tight buoyancy superstructure of ship-shape form added. This superstructure was opened to the sea when it was desired to submerge the vessel, and water was permitted to enter the space between the light plating of the ship-shaped form and the heavy plating of the pressure resisting hull. This equalized pressure on the light plates and prevented their becoming deformed due to pressure. The superstructure increased her reserve of buoyancy in the surface cruising condition from about 10 per cent. to over 40 per cent. and lifted right up to the seas like any ordinary type of surface vessel, instead of being buried by them in rough weather.

This feature of construction has been adopted by the Germans, Italians, Russians, and in all the latest types of French boats. It is the principal feature which distinguishes them in their surface appearance from the earlier cigar-shaped boats of the diving type. This ship-shaped form of hull is only suited to the level keel submergence.

In those days submarine boats were a much more unusual sight than they are to-day and simple fishermen who had never read or heard about submarines undoubtedly experienced disturbing sensations when they ran across their first underwater boat. Mr. Lake, a short time ago, while addressing a meeting of electrical engineers in Brooklyn, told the following experience which he had on one of his trips in the Argonaut :

On the first trip down the Chesapeake Bay, we had been running along in forty feet of water and had been down about four hours. Night was coming on, so we decided to come up to find out where we were. I noticed one of those Chesapeake "Bug Eyes" lighting just to leeward of us, and, as I opened the conning tower hatch, called to the men aboard to find out where we were. As soon as I did so, he turned his boat around and made straight for the beach. I thought he was rather discourteous. He ran his boat up on that beach and never stopped; the last I saw of him was when he jumped ashore and started to run inland as hard as he and his helper could go. Finally I learned we were just above the mouth of the York or Rappahannock River and I found a sort of inland harbour back of it. I decided to put up there for the night. Then learning that there was a store nearby, we called after dark for more provisions and I noticed a large crowd there. We got what we wanted, and stepped outside the door. He asked us where we were from. "We are down here in the submarine boat, Argonaut, making an experimental trip down the bay." He then commenced to laugh. "That explains it," he said; "just before nightfall, Captain So-and-So and his mate came running up here to the store just as hard as they could, and both dropped down exhausted, and when we were able to get anything out of them, they told a very strange story. That's why all these people are here." This is the story the storekeeper told me: "The men were out dredging and all at once they noticed a buoy with a red flag on it, and that buoy was going against the tide, and they could not understand it. It came up alongside, and they heard a 'puff, puff,' something like a locomotive puffing, and then they smelt sulphur." (The "puff, puff" was the exhaust of our engine and those fumes were what they thought was sulphur.) "Just then the thing rose up out of the water, then the smokestack appeared, and then the devil came right out of that smokestack."

In the January, 1899, issue of McClure's Magazine  there appeared a profusely illustrated article entitled "Voyaging under the Sea." The first part of it, "The Submarine Boat Argonaut  and her Achievements," was written by Simon Lake himself. In it he quotes as follows from the log book of the Argonaut  under date of July 28, 1898.

Submerged at 8.20 A. M. in about thirty feet of water. Temperature in living compartment, eighty-three degrees Fahrenheit. Compass bearing west-north-west, one quarter west. Quite a lively sea running on the surface, also strong current. At 10.45 A. M. shut down engine; temperature, eighty-eight degrees Fahrenheit.

After engine was shut down, we could hear the wind blowing past our pipes extending above the surface; we could also tell by the sound when any steamers were in the vicinity. We first allowed the boat to settle gradually to the bottom, with the tide running ebb; after a time the tide changed, and she would work slightly sideways; we admitted about four hundred pounds of water additional, but she still would move occasionally, so that a pendulum nine inches long would sway one eighth of an inch (thwartship). At 12 o'clock (noon) temperature was eighty-seven degrees Fahrenheit; at 2.45 P. M. the temperature was still eighty-seven degrees Fahrenheit. There were no signs of carbonic acid gas at 2.45, although the engine had been closed down for three hours and no fresh air had been admitted during the time. Could hear the whistle of boats on the surface, and also their propellers when running close, to the boat. At 3.30 the temperature had dropped to eighty-five degrees. At 3.45 found a little sign of carbonic acid gas, very slight, however, as a candle would burn fairly bright in the pits. Thought we could detect a smell of gasoline by comparing the fresh air which came down the pipe (when hand blower was turned). Storage lamps were burning during the five hours of submergence, while engine was not running.

At 3.50 engine was again started, and went off nicely. Went into diving compartment and opened door; came out through air-lock, and left pressure there; found the wheels had buried about ten inches or one foot, as the bottom had several inches of mud. We had 500 pounds of air in the tanks, and it ran the pressure down to 250 pounds to open the door in about thirty feet.

The temperature fell in the diving compartment to eighty-two degrees after the compressed air was let in.

Cooked clam fritters and coffee for supper. The spirits of the crew appeared to improve the longer we remained below; the time was spent in catching clams, singing, trying to waltz, playing cards, and writing letters to wives and sweethearts.

Our only visitors during the day were a couple of black bass that came and looked in at the windows with a great deal of apparent interest.

In future boats, it will be well to provide a smoking compartment, as most of the crew had their smoking apparatus all ready as soon as we came up.

Started pumps at 6.20, and arrived at the surface at 6.30. Down altogether ten hours and fifteen minutes. People on pilot boat Calvert  thought we were all hands drowned.

The second part of this article was called "A Voyage on the Bottom of the Sea." It was written by Ray Stannard Baker, who had been fortunate enough to receive an invitation from Mr. Lake to accompany him on one of the trips of the Argonaut. Any one who has read Jules Verne's fascinating story Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea  must be struck immediately with the similarity between Mr. Baker's experiences and those of Captain Nemo's guests. It is not at all surprising, therefore, to have Mr. Baker tell us that during this trip Mr. Lake told him:

"When I was ten years old, I read Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea, and I have been working on submarine boats ever since."

Mr. Baker's record of what he saw and how he felt is not only a credit to his keen powers of observation, but also a proof of the fact that, in many ways, there was little difference between the Argonaut  of 1898 and the most up-to-date submarine of to-day. In part he says:

Simon Lake planned an excursion on the bottom of the sea for October 12, 1898. His strange amphibian craft, the Argonaut, about which we had been hearing so many marvels, lay off the pier at Atlantic Highlands. Before we were near enough to make out her hulk, we saw a great black letter A, framed of heavy gas-pipe, rising forty feet above the water. A flag rippled from its summit. As we drew nearer, we discovered that there really wasn't any hulk to make out—only a small oblong deck shouldering deep in the water and supporting a slightly higher platform, from which rose what seemed to be a squatty funnel. A moment later we saw that the funnel was provided with a cap somewhat resembling a tall silk hat, the crown of which was represented by a brass binnacle. This cap was tilted back, and as we ran alongside, a man stuck his head up over the rim and sang out, "Ahoy there!"

A considerable sea was running, but I observed that the Argonaut  was planted as firmly in the water as a stone pillar, the big waves splitting over her without imparting any perceptible motion.

We scrambled up on the little platform, and peered down through the open conning-tower, which we had taken for a funnel, into the depths of the ship below. Wilson had started his gasoline engine.

Mr. Lake had taken his place at the wheel, and we were going ahead slowly, steering straight across the bay toward Sandy Hook and deeper water. The Argonaut  makes about five knots an hour on the surface, but when she gets deep down on the sea bottom, where she belongs, she can spin along more rapidly.

The Argonaut  was slowly sinking under the water. We became momentarily more impressed with the extreme smallness of the craft to which we were trusting our lives. The little platform around the conning-tower on which we stood—in reality the top of the gasoline tank—was scarcely a half dozen feet across, and the Argonaut  herself was only thirty-six feet long. Her sides had already faded out of sight, but not before we had seen how solidly they were built—all of steel, riveted and reinforced, so that the wonder grew how such a tremendous weight, when submerged, could ever again be raised.

I think we made some inquiries about the safety of submarine boats in general. Other water compartments had been flooded, and we had settled so far down that the waves dashed repeatedly over the platform on which we stood—and the conning-tower was still wide open, inviting a sudden engulfing rush of water. "You mustn't confuse the Argonaut  with ordinary submarine boats," said Mr. Lake. "She is quite different and much safer."

© U. & U.

For Anti-Aircraft Service.

He explained that the Argonaut  was not only a submarine boat, but much besides. She not only swims either on the surface or beneath it, but she adds to this accomplishment the extraordinary power of diving deep and rolling along the bottom of the sea on wheels. No machine ever before did that. Indeed, the Argonaut  is more properly a "sea motorcycle" than a "boat." In its invention Mr. Lake elaborated an idea which the United States Patent Office has decided to be absolutely original.

Photo by Bain News Service.

The Latest French Aircraft Gun.

We found ourselves in a long, narrow compartment, dimly illuminated by yellowish-green light from the little round, glass windows. The stern was filled with Wilson's gasoline engine and the electric motor, and in front of us toward the bow we could see through the heavy steel doorways of the diver's compartment into the lookout room, where there was a single round eye of light.

I climbed up the ladder of the conning-tower and looked out through one of the glass ports. My eyes were just even with the surface of the water. A wave came driving and foaming entirely over the top of the vessel, and I could see the curiously beautiful sheen of the bright summit of the water above us. It was a most impressive sight. Mr. Lake told me that in very clear water it was difficult to tell just where the air left off and the water began; but in the muddy bay where we were going down the surface looked like a peculiarly clear, greenish pane of glass moving straight up and down, not forward, as the waves appear to move when looked at from above.

Now we were entirely under water. The rippling noises that the waves had made in beating against the upper structure of the boat had ceased. As I looked through the thick glass port, the water was only three inches from my eyes, and I could see thousands of dainty, semi-translucent jellyfish floating about as lightly as thistledown. They gathered in the eddy behind the conning-tower in great numbers, bumping up sociably against one another and darting up and down with each gentle movement of the water. And I realized that we were in the domain of the fishes.

Jim brought the government chart, and Mr. Lake announced that we were heading directly for Sandy Hook and the open ocean. But we had not yet reached the bottom, and John was busily opening valves and letting in more water. I went forward to the little steel cuddy-hole in the extreme prow of the boat, and looked out through the watch-port. The water had grown denser and yellower, and I could not see much beyond the dim outlines of the ship's spar reaching out forward. Jim said that he had often seen fishes come swimming up wonderingly to gaze into the port. They would remain quite motionless until he stirred his head, and then they vanished instantly. Mr. Lake has a remarkable photograph which he took of a visiting fish, and Wilson tells of nurturing a queer flat crab for days in the crevice of one of the view-holes.

At that moment, I felt a faint jolt, and Mr. Lake said that we were on the bottom of the sea.

Here we were running as comfortably along the bottom of Sandy Hook Bay as we would ride in a Broadway car, and with quite as much safety. Wilson, who was of a musical turn, was whistling Down Went McGinty, and Mr. Lake, with his hands on the pilot-wheel, put in an occasional word about his marvellous invention. On the wall opposite there was a row of dials which told automatically every fact about our condition that the most nervous of men could wish to know. One of them shows the pressure of air in the main compartment of the boat, another registers vacuum, and when both are at zero, Mr. Lake knows that the pressure of the air is normal, the same as it is on the surface, and he tries to maintain it in this condition. There are also a cyclometer, not unlike those used on bicycles, to show how far the boat travels on the wheels; a depth gauge, which keeps us accurately informed as to the depth of the boat in the water, and a declension indicator. By the long finger of the declension dial we could tell whether we were going up hill or down. Once while we were out, there was a sudden, sharp shock, the pointer leaped back, and then quivered steady again. Mr. Lake said that we had probably struck a bit of wreckage or an embankment, but the Argonaut  was running so lightly that she had leaped up jauntily and slid over the obstruction.

We had been keeping our eyes on the depth dial, the most fascinating and interesting of any of the number. It showed that we were going down, down, down, literally down to the sea in a ship. When we had been submerged far more than an hour, and there was thirty feet of yellowish green ocean over our heads, Mr. Lake suddenly ordered the machinery stopped. The clacking noises of the dynamo ceased, and the electric lights blinked out, leaving us at once in almost absolute darkness and silence. Before this, we had found it hard to realize that we were on the bottom of the ocean; now it came upon us suddenly and not without a touch of awe. This absence of sound and light, this unchanging motionlessness and coolness, this absolute negation—that was the bottom of the sea. It lasted only a moment, but in that moment we realized acutely the meaning and joy of sunshine and moving winds, trees, and the world of men.

A minute light twinkled out like a star, and then another and another, until the boat was bright again, and we knew that among the other wonders of this most astonishing of inventions there was storage electricity which would keep the boat illuminated for hours, without so much as a single turn of the dynamo. With the stopping of the engine, the air supply from above had ceased; but Mr. Lake laid his hand on the steel wall above us, where he said there was enough air compressed to last us all for two days, should anything happen. The possibility of "something happening" had been lurking in our minds ever since we started. "What if your engine should break down, so that you couldn't pump the water out of the water compartments?" I asked. "Here we have hand-pumps," said Mr. Lake promptly; "and if those failed, a single touch of this lever would release our iron keel, which weighs 4000 pounds, and up we would go like a rocket."

I questioned further, only to find that every imaginable contingency, and some that were not at all imaginable to the uninitiated, had been absolutely provided against by the genius of the inventor. And everything from the gasoline engine to the hand-pump was as compact and ingenious as the mechanism of a watch. Moreover, the boat was not crowded; we had plenty of room to move around and to sleep, if we wished, to say nothing of eating. As for eating, John had brought out the kerosene stove and was making coffee, while Jim cut the pumpkin pie. "This isn't Delmonico's," said Jim, "but we're serving a lunch that Delmonico's couldn't serve—a submarine lunch."

By this time the novelty was wearing off and we sat there, at the bottom of the sea, drinking our coffee with as much unconcern as though we were in an up-town restaurant. For the first time since we started, Mr. Lake sat down, and we had an opportunity of talking with him at leisure. He is a stout-shouldered, powerfully built man, in the prime of life—a man of cool common sense, a practical man, who is also an inventor. And he talks frankly and convincingly, and yet modestly, of his accomplishment.

Having finished our lunch, Mr. Lake prepared to show us something about the practical operations of the Argonaut. It has been a good deal of a mystery to us how workmen penned up in a submarine boat could expect to recover gold from wrecks in the water outside, or to place torpedoes, or to pick up cables. "We simply open the door, and the diver steps out on the bottom of the sea," Mr. Lake said, quite as if he was conveying the most ordinary information.

At first it seemed incredible, but Mr. Lake showed us the heavy, riveted door in the bottom of the diver's compartment. Then he invited us inside with Wilson, who, besides being an engineer, is also an expert diver. The massive steel doors of the little room were closed and barred, and then Mr. Lake turned a cock and the air rushed in under high pressure. At once our ears began to throb, and it seemed as if the drums would burst inward.

"Keep swallowing," said Wilson, the diver.

As soon as we applied this remedy, the pain was relieved, but the general sensation of increased air pressure, while exhilarating, was still most uncomfortable. The finger on the pressure dial kept creeping up and up, until it showed that the air pressure inside of the compartment was nearly equal to the water pressure without. Then Wilson opened a cock in the door. Instantly the water gushed in, and for a single instant we expected to be drowned there like rats in a trap. "This is really very simple," Mr. Lake was saying calmly. "When the pressure within is the same as that without, no water can enter."

With that, Wilson dropped the iron door, and there was the water and the muddy bottom of the sea within touch of a man's hand. It was all easy enough to understand, and yet it seemed impossible, even as we saw it with our own eyes. Mr. Lake stooped down, and picked up a wooden rod having a sharp hook at the end. This he pulled along the bottom....

We were now rising again to the surface, after being submerged for more than three hours. I climbed into the conning-tower and watched for the first glimpse of the sunlight. There was a sudden fluff of foam, the ragged edge of a wave, and then I saw, not more than a hundred feet away, a smack bound toward New York under full sail. Her rigging was full of men, gazing curiously in our direction, no doubt wondering what strange monster of the sea was coming forth for a breath of air.