« Invention & Technology Magazine | Main | Urban windmills harm the environment »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.



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.



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.



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

David Butera



Hola Kris!!!

Craig Weis


Such an amazing machine.



How did his steam boiler work is there something that shows his design zinc, manganese dioxide and potassium chlorate creates heat but how did it actually work is there anything to explain the boilers workings even his steam engine was amazing he split it in half using 2 boilers
if there is a movie that ever needs to be made is to show the would of a great man and his submarine.

Erik F


Mr DES FOWLER, there is a film called "Monturiol. Lord of the seas”, but I have not beem able to find it. Appreciate if anyone can post a link where to get it. Would also love more details on the chemical engine.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)