Submarine Development & Related Inventions
1850 to 1905

1822 12 February - John Holland (father of John Philip Holland) joins the coast guard service at age 22. He was assigned to Ringbella, Ireland with a rank of boatman.

1835 17 January - John Holland's first wife dies. A short time later John Holland marries Mary Scanlon.

1841 24 February - John Philip Holland (second child of John Holland and Mary Scanlon) is born.

1850 Bavarian William Bauer builds his first submarine (Brandtaucher or Le Plongeur-Marin) which is powered by hand. The Brandtaucher sank the following year. The occupants waited until the pressure equalizes and the hatch pops open, then made a free ascent to the surface.

1852 30 July - John Holland is discharged from the Coastguard.

1853 John Holland dies. The family moves to Limerick. John Philip Holland attends the Monastary School in Limerick.

1858 15 June - John Philip Holland arrived at the novitiate of the Irish Christian Brothers on North Richmond Street, Dublin.
30 June - John Holland received the habit and was to be known among the Brothers hence¬forth as Brother Philip.
3 November - Following a brief course in the elements of the religious life and a brief grounding in the elements of class¬room management, Brother Philip was transferred to the North Monastery, Cork.

1859 French physicist Gaston Planté invents the rechargeable lead-acid battery. It consists of a sheet of lead and a sheet of lead chloride suspended in sulferic acid. It will take another 35 years to produce commercially available lead-acid batteries.

1860 Jean Joseph Étienne Lenoir builds the first practical gas engine. It uses illuminating gas for fuel and a storage battery for ignition.

1861 22 December - Brother Philip was rejected at Scrutiny because his scrofula flared up and rendered him unfit for this state. Brother Philip retired to his aunt in Cork.

1862 9 March - The U.S.S Monitor and C.S.S. Virginia battle. John Philip Holland was teaching school in Cork at the time.
29 March - Application for a commission for Pioneer commanded by John K. Scott.
8 September - John Philip Holland returns to the Irish Christian Brothers.

1863 CSS Hunley is launched in Mobile Alabama. She is forty feet long and capable of 4 knots. The Hunley was originally fitted with a torpedo consisting of a bomb attached to a plank towed 100 to 150 feet behind the submarine. This was replaced by a spar torpedo (a bomb on the end of a 22 foot pine boom) after the towed torpedo becomes entangled with the Hunley.

Le Plongeur designed by Captain Bourgois and Charles Brun is launched. Le Plongeur was 140 feet long and powered by a compressed air engine. She was the first submarine to use compressed air to empty her ballast tanks. The air was stored at 180 psi in 23 tanks which occupied much of the interior space of the hull. Le Plongeur underwent trials for four years, but never performed well enough to be accepted.

1864 CSS Hunley sinks the USS Housatonic using the spar torpedo.

1866 Nikolaus August Otto and Eugene Langen of Germany build the first successful four-cycle gas engine.

Robert Whitehead invents the "automobile" torpedo. The first protoype had a range of 200 yards at 6 knots and carried a charge of 18 pounds of gun cotton. By 1870, range had increased to 400 yards at 8 knots and the warhead had increased to 76 pounds of gun cotton.

1868 Brother Philip is admonished for occupying his mind with things quite foreign to his obligations, such as inventions and improvements in mechanical arts.

1869 Admiral Radford (USN) is ordered to evaluate the new automobile torpedo.

John Holland develops his first submarine design.

Intelligent Whale by Scovel Meriam and Oliver Halstead launched.
John Philip Holland's younger brother Michael who is living in Boston, joins the O’Donovan Rossa Circle No. 159 (Part of the Fenian Brotherhood)

1871 First in-water test of automobile torpedo by U.S. Navy.

1872 Whitehead sells his torpedoes to Britain, France and Germany.

1873 Belgian engineer Zénobe Gramme develops the first commercially successful DC motor.

26 May - John Holland withdraws from the Irish Christian Brothers.
November - John Holland joins his mother and brothers in Boston. Soon afterwards, he slip and falls. While laid up with a broken leg, he re-examines his 1869 design.

1874 John Holland begins work as a lay teacher at St. John’s Parochial School in Paterson, New Jersey.BR>
1875 The four-stroke internal combustion engine invented by Nikolaus Otto.

John Holland submits his submarine ideas to the United States Navy. They are rejected, but show up in a lecture on "Submarine Boats and Their Application to Torpedo Operations" by Lieutenant F. M. Barber (USN).

1876 Michael Holland introduces John Holland to Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa John Holland.
26 July - Rossa introduces John Holland to Jerome Collins.
The Trustees of the Fenian Brotherhood’s Skirmishing Fund appoint John Breslin to evaluate John Holland’s submarine proposal.

1877 12 June - The Trustees of the Fenian Brotherhood’s Skirmishing Fund voted in favor of providing the money to for the Holland I.

1878 Holland I is launched. The Holland I is powered by a 4 h.p. Brayton engine

Reverend George W. Garret launches his first submarine. It is hand cranked and carries no weapons.

1879 The two-stroke engine invented by Karl Benz.

Thomas Edison invents the incandescent light bulb.

Garrett’s Resurgam is launched. The Resurgam is powered by a Lamm steam plant and uses the latent heat of the steam to propel the submarine when submerged. It is 45 feet long and 7 feet wide. The Resurgam sank while under tow prior to trials in 1880.

1881 John Holland's Fenian Ram is launched. The Fenian Ram is powered by a 20 h.p. Brayton engine.

Reverend George Garrett forms a partnership with the Swedish arms manufacturer Thorsten Nordenfelt to build submarines based on Garrett's patents.

1883 The Holland III is launched.

1884 Professor Joshua Tuck launches his Peacemaker. The Peacemaker is powered by a 14 h.p. steam angine and a caustic soda boiler. It had a single propeller on a vertical axis to control its depth.

1885 Gottlieb Diamler builds the first four-cycle engine designed to burn gasoline.

The Zalinski boat is launched. The Zalinski boat was fitted with a primitive periscope (hybrid camera lucida/camera obscura) and powered by a Brayton engine.

The first Norderfelt submarine is launched in Sweden and under goes trials in Britain. The Nordenfelt I is powered by steam when surfaced and submerged. Downhaul screws located port and starborad were used to submerge and fore and aft planes to maintain an even keel. She was longitudinally unstable due to the water in boiler and steam reservoirs. This led to the belief that the only safe submarine was one that maintained an even keel at all times. The British Admiralty is not interested, so she is sold to Greece.

The Goubet I by Goubet is launched. This was the first of several French submarines powered by an electric motor and Laurent-Cély accumulators (batteries).

1886 The Nautilus by Campbell and Ash undergoes trials in Tilbury, England. The Nautilus submerges by drawing cylinders into the hull and surfaces by pushing them back out.

The second and third Nordenfelt submarines were built at the Barrows yard in Britain and shipped in pieces to Turkey for final assembly. These submarines have the same longitudinal stability problem as the first Nordenfelt boat inspite of moving the downhaul screws from midships (port and starboard) to forward and aft locations. The boats were equipped with external torpedo tubes at the forward end and two Nordenfelt deck guns (one forward and one aft). The second boat(named Abdul Hamid) was the first submarine to fire a torpedo while submerged. Unfortunately, Nordenfelt had not accounted for the sudden weight loss. After the torpedo left the tube, the bow came up, all the water in the boiler and steam reservoirs rush aft, and the submarine practically stood on end.

1887 The fourth Nordenfelt submarine (named Nordenfelt) was sold to Russia. This boat ran aground enroute from Britain to Russia and was scrapped.

1888 The Gymnote (France) by Gustave Zede is launched. The Gymnoteis powered a single 55 h.p. electric motor designed by Capt. Krebs. She was fitted with a primitive periscope and carried two torpedoes. The Gymnote was plagued with electrical problems.

John Holland wins a U.S. government competition, but no contract is let.

Spain launches the Peral. It is 71 feet long and 9 feet in doameter. It is powered by two 30 h.p. electric motors and is fitted with a single torpedo tube and three torpedoes.

1889 The Goubet II (France) by Goubet launched.

1890 Howell torpedo issued to the U.S. fleet.

1892 The diesel internal combustion engine invented by Rudolf Diesel.

George Baker’s boat is launched.

1893 Rudolf Diesel builds the first diesel engine designed to burn oil. It exploded and almost killed him.

John Holland wins a U.S. government competition, but construction delayed until 1895. One reason for this was political maneuvering by George Baker, who insisted that the Navy test his submarine before building another.

The Gustave Zede by Romazzotti launched. The Zede has many of the same problems as her predecessor Gymnote.

1894 The Whitehead torpedo replaces Howell torpedoes in the U.S. surface fleet.

The Argonaut Jr. by Simon Lake is completed. It was a canvas covered pine box with hand cranked wheels and a diver lock-out chamber.

The Italian Delfino launched.

1895 Construction of the Plunger begins. The Plunger is powered by a 1625 h.p. steam plant when surfaced and electricity when submerged. The latent heat of the boiler makes the submarine unusable.

Whitehead is the first to use a gyroscope to control the tragectory of a torpedo. The gyroscope was based on a design by Ludwig Obry and consisted of a 1.75 pound, 3 inch diameter wheel mounted on gimbals and spun at 2,400 rpm using a pretensioned spring.

1896 Wireless radio invented by Guglielmo Marconi.

1897 Rudolf Diesel builds the first successful diesel engine, but it will be another six years before one is installed in a ship.

The Holland VI is launched. The Holland VI is powered by a 45 h.p. gasoline engine on the surface and a 50 h.p. electric motor when submerged. The Holland VI had a bow torpedo tube and carried three torpedoes.

Simon launches the Argonaut I. The Argonaut I is powered by a gasoline engine both surfaced and submerged via long tubes to the surface. The Argonaut I had wheels and a diver lock-out chamber.

1899 Morse by Romazzotti launched.

The Narval by Laubeuf was launched. The Narval is the first of a series of French double hulled submersibles powered by steam when surfaced and electricity when submerged.

1901 The French Farfadet and Lutin (Morse type) submarines are launched.

American A Boats - Adder, Porpoise and Shark launched.

Petr Kochka launched in Russia.

Delfino fitted with a cleptoscope (a primitive periscope).

Britain begins construction of five Holland type 7 submarines.

Howard Grubb is granted a patent for a periscope that is ultimately installed in the British boats No. 1 through No. 5.

1902 Theodore Roosevelt dives on board Plunger and authorizes extra pay for submarine duty.

The Russian Delfin by Capt M. Beklemishev andd Bubonoff is launched.

Simon Lake's Protector launched.

1903 The Protector fitted with an omniscope (a primitive periscope).

1904 Electric Boat Company sells five type 7 submarines to Japan, five type 7 submarines to Russia and one type 7 submarine to the Netherlands.

France builts the first submarine powered by a diesel engine on the surface and electric motor submerged.

1905 Sweden builds a Holland type submarine (Hajen) which was not designed by John Holland.

1906 German U-1 delivered (a Holland type but not designed by John Holland).

1910 The Holland is sold for scrap.

1914 British cruisers Aboukir, Cressy and Hogue are sunk by the German submarine U9 commanded by Kapitaenleutnant (Lt. Cdr.) Otto Weddigen on September 22.

Ó 2000,2008 Gary McCue

Gary W. McCue