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Satyam

(1)

Using wood would seem primitive and unsafe. However, a wooden frame on a submarine is quite an obvious solution in a region (Catalonia) used to keep liquids (fine wines and olive oil) inside wooden barrels. Making big watertight barrels is a quite sophisticated technology and the level of craftsmanship available in this region was not to be taken lightly. Any local would have felt safer inside a wooden barrel than in an iron one. If given the choice, many wouldn't have minded dying inside a wine cask, unfortunately the Ictineo was quite dry. As for the copper, its only purpose was to keep shipworms (teredo navalis) from eating the hull and it was normal practice in wooden vessels. It did not provide any structural support.

Cellar

(2)

Beautiful, interesting technology. Something tells me that poor technology management is still an issue today. I wonder if a few failures at the start, heroically overcome, would've increased public standing to the point that funding would've become easier to obtain?

I don't think a fleet of submarines alone might've turned the war, but the military's reluctance to even evaluate new technology I would mark as symptomatic to a general failure to keep up with the rest of the world.

There's a reason DARPA spends so much on whackjob tech experiments. Even if they get plenty of stuff horribly wrong most of the time and even if it all turns out to be generally inefficient, at least they're working on pushing the envelope. Same thing with the rest of their military. That part of their core business they understand very well, and these guys did not.

dbutera

(3)

It is always a delight to see that the Victorians felt that technology could be beautiful to see as well as utilitarian.

David Butera

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