June 07, 2005
One Of Our Submarines
Matt Hurley over at Weapons of Mass Discussion relays a (UK) Times article about the discovery of the remains of an early submarine, the Explorer, built for the Union Army in 1864, that may have been the inspiration for Captain Nemo's Nautilus. The sub never fought in battle and eventually wound up being used off the coast of Panama in the pearl fishery. One of the clues that Jules Verne may have had it in mind when penning his story has to do with a particular kind of air-lock:
Colonel Blashford-Snell, 67, [who discovered the wreck] added: “What made it ideal for the pearl trade was its lock-out system, which meant people could get out of it, gather up pearls then return to the submarine. I realised it was identical to the system used in Nautilus. In the book it mentions that Nautilus was first spotted in 1866, just two years after the Explorer was built.
Go read the article. Very cool stuff, indeed.
And in the spirit of even-handedness, here's the latest on the restoration of the H.L. Hunley, the Confederate submarine that actually did serve in the war and scored the very first submarine victory, sinking the U.S.S. Housatanic on February 17th, 1864.Posted by Robert at June 7, 2005 11:05 AM