Schematic of the USS Holland, circa 1900
One of the unfortunate things about the travails of daily life, is that one forgets some of the most important birthdays in one's life. I have my spouses' birthday written down in numerous locations, so I won't forget that one, but one I did miss was the 110th birthday of the US Submarine Force, which was, sadly, yesterday.
The legendary Spanish submarine, El Ictineo (1859)
The reason I mention this particular celebration is, as most who have a passing famiarlity with Steampunk know, submersibles are one of the keystones of Steampunk. The groundbreaking concept from Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was not just that a submersible could exist, which was established back to Revolutionary days (or perhaps earlier depending on how far back one goes), but that people could live under-the-water for days at a time.
The Argonaut Series of Submersibles (1894 - 1898)
One can see from a historical timeline that the greatest innovations in submersible technology came in what is considered the Steampunk era (the latter half of the 1800s). Though most are familiar with the Nautilus (either Verne's or the US Navy's first nuclear submarine), the amazing experiments regarding subs in the time is impressive.
Mind you, it certainly wasn't just the United States Navy making innovations in submarines - the effort was actually a world-wide endeavor, as this timeline shows what individual nations were building at the time. As my experience is limited to the US submarine fleet, and its first vessel the USS Holland (SS-1), which was (traditionally considered) to have been acquired on April 11, 1900 - I do send my apologies to all the other squid-lies who did actually remember yesterday as a "Happy Birthday" (unless you're stuck doing Field Day)!
I''l be writing more about subs in the future, here and on my sister blog, but here are a few more submarine links I might recommend...
Undersea Warfare: A bit out of date, but at one point was the mouthpiece of the US submarine force. Excellent articles can be found it in archives regarding both Steampunk and Dieselpunk era submarines.
The Wiki on the USS Holland (SS-1): Basic submariner history
The Stupid Shall Be Punished: Probably by far the best blog about submarines in general and life is like specifically on a sub. Written by a retired submariner, and frequented *a lot* by active duty and retired submariners, spending a bit of time here provides that ever small peek at life underwater
Nova outline of Submarine history: http://www.submarine-history.com/
Submarine History.com: http://www.submarinehistory.com/
Excellent site, with a nice "Surface" procedure introduction, and lots of great information.
and finally, my sister site - the Steampunk Shipyard, where I attempt to tie in the sea to Steampunk!