Fact File about the Invention of the Submarine: Invention: Submarine *** Date of Invention: 1620 *** Name of Inventor: Cornelis Drebbel *** Lifespan of Inventor: 1572 - 1633 *** Nationality of Inventor: Dutch *** Historical Period: Renaissance (1350 to 1700) *** Category: Transportation *** Country of Origin: Holland *** Facts about the Inventor, Cornelis Drebbel, and the invention of the Submarine ***
Fact 1: Who invented the Submarine? The Submarine was invented by Cornelis Drebbel in 1620 during the Renaissance era of inventions (1350 to 1700).
Fact 2: Who invented the Submarine? Prior to the invention of the
Submarine in 1620, Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) had sketched a primitive
submarine around 1515. The Englishman William Bourne (c. 1535–1582), a former
Royal Navy gunner, drafted the first design for a submersible craft in 1578.
Fact 3: Who invented the Submarine? The inventor of the Submarine, Cornelis Drebbel, was born on 1572 in Alkmaar, Netherlands and died on November 7, 1633.
Fact 4: Who invented the Submarine? The early years of Cornelis
Jacobszoon Drebbel were spent in Alkmaar, Netherlands where he was raised by his family.
His father's name was Jacob Drebbel. Cornelis Drebbel was educated at Haarlem Academy
Fact 5: Who invented the Submarine? Following his education his first job was as a
an apprentice to a celebrated engraver and artist called Hendrick Goltzius
(1558-1617) who became the leading Dutch engraver of the early Baroque period. Cornelis Drebbel
went to work and live at his house at Haarlem.
Fact 6: Who invented the Submarine? Cornelis Drebbel worked hard and
gained considerable knowledge from Hendrick Goltzius in art, engraving, optics
and map making. Hendrick Goltzius was a true Renaissance man, devoted to the
study of alchemy and new ideas and inventions. Goltzius passed his passions on
to Cornelis Drebbel.
Fact 7: Who invented the Submarine? Hendrick Goltzius encouraged and
apparently got on extremely well with his protégé and in In 1595 Cornelis
Drebbel married his young sister, Sophia Goltzius. The couple went on to have
Fact 8: Who invented the Submarine? Cornelis Drebbel was a talented man
and quickly made a name for himself as an excellent engraver and cartographer.
However, his real interest was in inventions and in 1598 designed a pump and a
clock with 'a perpetual motion'. Several other successful inventions followed
and Cornelis Drebbel decided to expand his horizons and expand his career as an
inventor in England.
Fact 9: Who invented the Submarine? In 1604 Cornelis Drebbel was taken
into the special service of Henry, Prince of Wales (1594-1612) and then
appointed as "court inventor" for King James I. His job included the role of an
'entertainment manager' organising firework displays and royal events. He
invented a variety of different items including the improvement of the
magic lantern, the clavichord and other musical instruments. He became famous
across Europe for his invention of perpetual motion clock (Perpetuum Mobile).
Fact 10: Who invented the Submarine? King James had many enemies, he was
a staunch Protestant and the possibility of war with Catholic countries was ever
present. Cornelis Drebbel invented the Submarine to destroy enemy ships
should war ever break out - but his submersible vessel was so amazing that it
was demonstrated to King James, and thousands of spectators along the River
Fact 11: Who invented the Submarine? Cornelis Drebbel began his work that
culminated in his invention of the Submarine in 1619 and achieved his goal in
Fact 12: Who invented the Submarine? Cornelis Drebbel's invention of the Submarine
was clouded in secrecy, as were all of his inventions. He was intensely
cautious, secretive and highly protective of his ideas. Cornelis Drebbel kept no
scientific notebooks, nor did he leave any drawings of his devices.
Fact 13: Who invented the Submarine? Specific details of the
functionality of his submarine are therefore subject to educated guesses,
although eye witness reports detailed the overall description of his device.
Fact 14: Who invented the Submarine? Cornelis Drebbel's invention of the Submarine
was based on the design of a fully covered wooden rowing boat. The submersible
vessel was divided into upper and lower chambers and covered in watertight
greased leather to promote buoyancy, with a hatch in the middle, a rudder and
Fact 15: Who invented the Submarine? Rowers sat in their seats under
which there were large pigskin bladders that were connected by pipes to the
outside. Rope was used to tie off The empty bladders were tied with rope and in
order to dive, the rope was untied and the bladders filled with water. To
surface the submarine the rowers squashed the bladders flat to squeeze out the
water, lightening the vessel enabling it to surface.
Fact 16: Who invented the Submarine? Cornelis Drebbel's submarine was
demonstrated on the River Thames in London in 1621 watched by King James, the
court and thousands of Londoners. The submersible vessel made a round trip from
Westminster to Greenwich and back. The journey took three hours at a depth of 15
Fact 17: Who invented the Submarine? The description of Cornelis
Drebbel's submersible vessel sounds feasible but there is no way of knowing how
enough of an air supply and oxygen was maintained to keep the rowing crew alive
for three hours.
Fact 18: Who invented the Submarine? Several theories have been suggested
as to how Cornelis Drebbel solved the oxygen question. It is known that Cornelis
Drebbel was an alchemist and it is probable that he had found that heated
saltpeter produced "the elixir of life" - now known as oxygen. His isolation and
manufacture of oxygen took place 150 years before the British scientist,
Joseph Priestley (1733–1804), officially discovered it.
Fact 19: Who invented the Submarine? Between 1620 and 1624 Cornelis Drebbel
built three submersible vessels, each one larger than the previous. His largest
submarine housed a crew of twelve rowers.
Fact 20: Who invented the Submarine? After successfully demonstrating his
submarine on the River Thames Cornelis Drebbel found his services gradually
requisitioned for the navy went on to invent watermines and a floating bomb
containing grease, tar, and gunpowder for the English Navy's fireships.
Fact 21: Who invented the Submarine? The value of his work was never
fully recognized during his lifetime. Cornelis Drebbel was forced to become a
brewer and an innkeeper to supplement his income.
Fact 22: Who invented the Submarine? Cornelis Drebbel died on November 7, 1633
in the parish of Trinity Minories, now known as Tower Hamlets, outside the
eastern boundaries of the City of London.