Cornelius Drebbel's Submarine

The year was 1620, the city, London. A Dutchman by the name of Cornelius Drebbel began working on one of the first underwater vessels, later to be known as the submarine. Drebbel's sub was basically an underwater rowboat. There were twelve oars which extended through the sides and were sealed with tight-fitting leather flaps. The outer shell was a wooden frame with greased leather stretched around it. Snorkel tubes which were held at the surface of the water by flotation devices provided oxygen.

Between 1620 and 1624, Drebbel actually navigated this vessel, on several occasions, up The Thames River. It was designed to carry multiple passengers, and was propelled by twelve oar men. Drebbel traveled at depths ranging from twelve to fifteen feet deep. Drebbel went on to design and test a number of other vessels. King James I of England actually took a short ride on one of Drebbel's submarines.