Robert Fulton's Submarine commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte and completed in 1801: NAUTILUS

1/32 scale (54-mm) resin kit made in USA

# CO 32-006



Brief history:

Robert Fulton, famed US inventor and painter, in 1800, while in France , built the submarine NAUTILUS under a grant from Napoleon Bonaparte. Completed in May 1801, this craft was made of copper sheets over iron ribs. It had a collapsible mast with sails for surface propulsion and a hand-turned propeller to propel the submarine underwater. A precursor of a conning tower fitted with a glass-covered porthole permitted observation from within the craft. The 'Nautilus' submerged by use of ballast tanks, had a horizontal rudder, the forerunner of the diving plane, and the vessel contained enough air to keep four men alive and two candles burning for three hours under water. Later, a tank of compressed air was added to provide greater endurance but France 's interest in Fulton 's submarine waned, and he left for England , offering his invention to his former enemy.

In 1805, the 'Nautilus' sank the brig 'DOROTHY' but it did not inspire the Royal Navy to back Fulton 's project. He then moved to the United States and succeeded in obtaining congressional backing for a more ambitious undersea craft. This new submarine was to carry 100 men and be powered by a steam engine. Fulton died before the craft was ready and the craft, named 'MUTE was left unfinished.

Back to Cottage Industries Scale Model Kits Page

Back to Home Page

Hit Counter