|Militia Museum of NJ - Intelligent Whale Submarine
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|01 Intelligent Whale Submarine||02 Intelligent Whale Propeller||03 Intelligent Whale Aft Porthole||04 Side Porthole|
|05 Forward Porthole||06 Intelligent Whale Propeller||07 Intelligent Whale Propeller||08 Intelligent Whale Forward Porthole|
|09 Spherical Anchor Receptacle||10 Bow 15" 350lb Shot Anchor Receptacle||10 Water Ballast Vent||11 Intelligent Whale Port Side|
|12 Intelligent Whale Tail Section||14 Intelligent Whale Port Side||15 Intelligent Whale Tail||16 Aft 15" 350lb Shot Anchor Receptacle|
Length: 28 Feet 8 Inches
Height: 9 Feet
Displacement: 2 tons (to be honest, this sounds very low considering the hull is 1/2" boiler plate)
Hull Construction: 1/2" Boiler Plate
Propulsion: Manually hand cranked propeller by 4 of the crewmen
Navigational Aids: Compass, Depth Gauge, Air Pressure Gauge, and a single view port in the conning tower.
Endurance: 10 Hours
Build Date : Construction began - 1860 Completed 1864
Designer: Scovel S. Merriam
Testing Period: 1864 - 1872
Armament: Mine delivered by diver via a wooden hatch in the bottom of the hull
Unit Cost: $65,000 (The original estimate was $15,000 - cost overruns are nothing new). That works out to be $1,065,393.68 in 2007 US Dollars. That is up from an initial estimate of $245,860.08 2007 US Dollars, a 400% cost overrun.
Current Location: Militia Museum of New Jersey, Sea Girt, NJ
Intelligent Whale Museum Website: Militia Museum of New Jersey
I'm not entirely certain that I have labeled some of the details of the Intelligent Whale Submarine correctly. What at first glance look like portholes may be vent holes for water ballast. Also I don't know what the two additional square headed shafts would be used for. One I think would be for the anchor windlass, but the other is a mystery.
The Intelligent Whale Submarine's armament consisted of a mine or mines attached to the exterior of the hull. The bottom of the hull had a wooden door - it could not have been entirely water tight. I'm guessing that they used compressed air to equalize the hull pressure with that of the surrounding water to keep the water from rising in the interior of the sub. When the submarine reached it's intended target a diver in a hard hat suit would exit through the wooden door in the bottom, remove the mine from the exterior of the hull, attach it to the hull of the target vessel and return to the Intelligent Whale, trailing electrical wires to a detonator on the mine. The sub would hopefully back off from the target ship before exploding the mine. And then probably promptly sink to the bottom from the damage caused by the shock wave of the explosion.
The "Portholes" - I'm not entirely sure they are in fact portholes. They do look like view or light ports and appear to be oriented so that you can get a limited view forward, aft and to port and starboard of the submarine. The welded iron protection bars make sense from the point of protecting a glass porthole in each opening and the friend with me that day thought he saw the reflection of glass in at least one of the portholes.
However the portholes that face forward and aft are very near the flange for the outlet of the water ballast pumps and valves. It could be that these were the inlet or outlet for the water ballast. But if so why would they go through the trouble of engineering them facing fore and aft?
Another possibility is that they are stale air vent ports. I have read that the designer planned to use compressed air to displace the bad air in the submarine as the atmosphere became more foul over time (It was planned to be able to be submerged for up to 10 hours). If these were just to be used as vent holes for bleed air why would they face 4 of them fore and aft? Unless they were meant to be opened while the Intelligent Whale was surfaced allowing air to fresh air to enter and stale air to exit by the force of the prevailing wind.
Each of the 6 portholes has a raised boss with a hole drilled for a pin to accommodate a hinged object - my best guess would be a plug for the hole. Whether this would be for emergencies or the holes would be normally plugged, I do not know. There is also a collar with multiple notches around the edge on the insides. This looks like a threaded retaining ring. This would be the most ideal retainer for a circular piece of glass for a viewport
The problem is that a lot of fittings and equipment are missing from the interior of the Intelligent Whale Submarine making it hard to deduce what some items are used for. If the outlet fittings that bolted to the flanges of the water ballast pump valve assemblies were still in place, that would explain a lot. It is also hard to picture how the windlass for the spherical anchors was configured and operated. Also the handles for the operation of the manual water ballast pumps that would allow the submarine to surface are also missing. Was this just a fore and aft motion? Were the rods to the bow and stern pumps connected when in operation and was it operated by a crank or just a push pull motion?
For a good cross sectional drawing of the Intelligent Whale with a representation of the spherical shot anchors go to Gary McCue's excellent Holland Submarine website, and scroll down on the left to the Intelligent Whale link under The Competition heading. An interesting period shot of the submarine can be found here. It provides a better view of the conning tower and an idea of the propeller guard that is missing from the rear of the sub. The rudder assembly is also missing.
The Intelligent Whale Submarine is currently located at the Militia Museum of New Jersey in Sea Girt. The submarine is indoors so you can get a good look at it any day of the year.
|It is said that the Intelligent Whale was the inspiration for John Holland to build his first submarine. The Fenian Ram which is also located in New Jersey.|
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