Let’s face it: Some inventions in history were set up for failure from the moment they were crafted. However, we’d hope that products designed for war would be ready to face battle before they were sent it into enemy territory . . . Right? Well, the first submarine sure wasn’t.
The first American submarine was an utter mess
When you picture a submarine, you probably imagine the happy yellow pod from the cover of the Beatles album. If you’re in the military, you may imagine it as a massive, metal, dependable pod. Well, ladies and gents, the first submarine was nothing like this. In fact, it was hardly held together at the seams.
When you’re thousands of feet beneath the water, you probably don’t want to be cruising in something made from the same materials as a sailboat. Believe it or not, this was the case for the first submarine—and they used it for freaking war. Would you be willing to hop into this crazy contraption?
This submarine is totally whack
A Yale student named David Bushnell assembled America’s first submarine, and the dude must’ve never designed much beyond DIY arts-and-crafts projects before. To be fair, he also designed the first successful underwater bomb . . . But his ideas for a submarine were pretty crappy from the start. So, why did it suck so bad? Well, it was made of wood, wrapped in tar, and just barely held together by metal. Pretty sketchy, right?
Don’t worry—it gets worse. The submarine had to pop up to the surface for oxygen super frequently, every half hour. It also was steered by a series of pedals that were so complex that Bushnell had to spend years refining the ship. Once he got sick before the invention came to fruition, they did the only logical thing they could think to do: Send that half-baked submarine to war!
Well, that sure didn’t work out
The submarine was very appropriately named the Turtle. Why appropriately, you ask? Because anyone trapped in this poor submarine retreated into their shell anytime they were faced with real danger. Considering they couldn’t attach a bomb to this thing to save their lives, could you blame them? Perhaps this is why the Turtlenever completed a single victorious mission.
Not all that surprisingly, the submarine was captured by the British after two adventures. We can only imagine they used it as target practice . . . or admired its spectacular craftsmanship! Probably the former. Thankfully, Bushnell seemed to understand that it was a lost cause, and decided to focus on what he knew best: Blowing stuff up. Great work, Bushnell!