xxxxxThe Dutch inventor Cornelius van Drebbel constructed the first under-
CORNELIUS VAN DREBBEL 1572 -
Drebbel: 1631, artist unknown, illustration from Personalities in the Kingdom of the Netherlands in words and pictures, edited by Hajo Brugmans and H. Holwerda, and published c1936 – private collection. Drawing: date and artist unknown. Trial: by G.H.Tweedale, Royal Submarine Museum, Gosport, England.
xxxxxThe Dutch scientist and inventor Cornelius van Drebbel constructed his under-
xxxxxDrebbel was a glassworker and engraver in his native land, but he came to England in 1604 and soon gained royal patronage. Among inventions attributed to him were a "perpetual motion clock" -
xxxxxUnfortunately for Drebbel, he could not develop his "underwater boat" any further. His funds ran out, and he had to abandon the project. A number of various types of craft were invented over the next hundred years, but as we shall see, it was not until the 1770s (G3a) that the next successful attempt was made at constructing a "submarine". The brainchild of the American engineer David Bushnell, it was built to attack British shipping during the American War of Independence.