Nordenfeldt I

Thorsten Nordenfeldt

Drawing of Nordenfeldt I

Submarine Navigation: Past and Present by Alan Burgoyne

Length 64 feet 0 inches
Beam 9 feet 0 inches
Displacement 60 tons

The Story of the Submarine: from the Earliest Ages to the Present Day by Lieut.-Col. and Brevet-Col. Cyril Field, Royal Marine Light Infantry, J. B. Lippencott Company, Philadelphia, 1905. Pg. 126-130

"The way in which the Resurgam could bottle up steam to work her engines after the fires were sealed up was doubtless one of the main points that appealed to Nordenfeldt, for he made use of a similar system in every one of his submarines. He began to study the question of submarine navigation, or it would be more correct to say brought out his first patent, in 1881, but it was not until 1885 that his first boat commenced her trials off Landskrona in Sweden. She was 64 feet long, 9 feet wide, and 11 feet deep, cigar shaped and with a displacement of 60 tons. She was built of steel, with a glass dome amidships, serving for a conning-tower. Her motive power was steam, and while at the surface her fires could be stoked in the ordinary way, the smoke being driven out through two channels leading out the stern. When diving, the fires had to be sealed and reserve steam was used which was kept at high pressure in two special receptacles. She carried a crew of three men and sufficient air to last them for about six hours. Besides the propelling engine there were two others whose functions were to work a propeller placed horizontally on either side of the boat, which when set in motion compelled her to sink and kept her at any depth. Should these refuse to work from any cause, the boat would at once come automatically to the surface. The trials of the Nordenfeldt I were attended by a most distinguished audience including the Prince of Wales, the King and Queen of Denmark, and the Czarina. Naval and military officers from almost every country in Europe and from Japan and Brazil were also present. No submarine has had such a distinguished “send off” before or since. Her trials went fairly well considering the bad weather of the first day, the damage to her rudders by fouling the tow rope by which she was attached to a steamer when coming out of the harbour, and an accident to one of her stokers on the last day. She navigated at the surface at about four knots in the awash position, and went under water for a minute or two on several occasions. She was eventually purchased by the Greek Government, who carried out a further, and it is said successful, series of experiments in the Bay of Salamis. Although the Whitehead automobile torpedo had at this time been in use for a number of years, it is curious to note that the Nordenfeldt I was the first submarine vessel to be equipped with this weapon, which she fired from a tube fitted to her bows."

Ó2000, 2001, 2002 Gary McCue

Gary W. McCue