It probably does not put back 20,000 miles under the sea. But otherwise it is the "Nautilus", with the writer Jules Verne dip his hero Captain Nemo through the seas, had strikingly similar: a small, 1864-built cast-iron U-boat that regularly occurs off the coast of Panama to light - every day, when the tide recedes. It has the same cigar-like shape as the "Nautilus" and especially an exit system, says Colonel John Blashford-Snell, founder of the British Scientific Exploration Society. Previously, experts believed that only the U-boats of the 20th Century had possessed such a system.
Kröhl Julius, a German engineer who immigrated to the United States had, in 1861, a twelve-meter-long submarine the Navy offered the Northern States, who were in the 1861-1865 Civil War with the South. But the military of the Union had no interest in the daring invention.
Kröhl wanted to implement his design and was still in the Pacific Pearl Company, a financially strong partner. The phase-lock made the small boat "Explorer" becomes the ideal tool for pearl diving missions on the Pacific coast of Panama. The chamber could be filled with compressed air and then the crew allowed to leave the submerged boat on the ocean floor and collect pearls.
Kröhl was the "Explorer", according to the Scientific Exploration Society, even fatal. After a week with a lot of dives to depths of more than 30 meters, he died along with his eight-member crew on a mysterious fever. Presumably, the crew but suffered from the then-unknown bends. 1869, the submarine was left off the coast of Panama, and finally left to decay - Bashford-Snell gave up on the relic.
The explorers had already heard 20 years ago from the "Explorer". But then they told him, handle it by a Japanese submarine during the Second World War. An expedition was therefore initially not in question. Now Bashford-Snell got the order from a Canadian museum to look at the U-boat from nearby.
"The Victorian style reminiscent of engineering me immediately of the 'Nautilus' from '20, 000 Leagues Under the Sea,'" said Roger Cooper, one of the expedition members. "I would not have surprised me if Captain Nemo in the conning tower had been sitting at the wheel." In fact, it is possible that Jules Verne of the "Explorer" knew, because he had informed himself intensively for the release of the new novel U-boats.
"As far as I know, had the 'Explorer' the world's first exit system and may have inspired Jules Verne in his uniqueness," said the British submarine expert Wyn Davis of the London newspaper "The Guardian". Even the cigar shape was for the U-boats of the time no means obvious.
The "Explorer" will now be salvaged and restored in the Warren Lasch Conservation Center in North Charleston American.
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