Peral Submarine: Electric Battery-Powered Submarine which Revolutionerized Marine Technology

Peral Submarine: The inventor of one of the most well-known marine technologies is a Spanish engineering prodigy. Isaac Peral y Caballero’s invention of the first electrically powered submersible in the 1880s paved the way for other countries to create more cutting-edge submarine designs.

The designer named a submersible the Peral, and unveiled it in 1888 after three years of research. As Spanish Minister of the Navy at the time, Perzuela y Lobo enthusiastically supported Isaac Peral’s work. They approved a grant of 5,000 pesetas for the project, but the total cost ended up being one million pesetas.

Peral Submarine History

Lieutenant Isaac Peral y Caballero of the Spanish Navy was the mastermind behind this ground-breaking invention.

Born in 1851 in Cartagena, he completed his schooling at the Naval Military College of San Fernando before enlisting in the Royal Company of Midshipmen, where he was instructed in science.

Because of his hobbies, Isaac Peral became a scientist who studied engineering and geography in addition to his primary area of interest, the utilization of electricity. He created several other inventions, including the electric machine gun, elevator, and storage battery.

The overall use of the light projector’s design is seen here. Peral used specific electric arcs and adjustable parabola-shaped reflectors to solve the issue of light scattering from spotlights.

In 1884, Peral developed an interest in the concept of building a submarine.

Mathematicians Cecilio Pujazón and Juan Viniegra focused on Peral’s work following the well-known Caroline Islands Crisis of 1885, in which Germany and Spain nearly went to war over the Caroline Islands in the Pacific Ocean.

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He presented his concept for an electrically driven torpedo submarine to his superiors.

Admiral Manuel de la Pezuela, the Minister of the Navy, and Peral’s instructor, José Luis Diez, assisted Peral in developing the fundamentals of his submarine. Queen Regent María Cristina took notice of his work and gave an official royal order to fund the development of the submarine.

At dock number one of the Naval Station of La Carraca, construction on the submarine began in 1888. Researchers gathered materials from all across Europe, including torpedoes from Berlin and optical apparatus purchased in Paris.

Technological Originality

Because of the variety of inventions he made, Isaac Peral was dubbed the “inventor of the submarine.” The Spanish National Historical Archive currently holds this drawing, which shows the design and profile of the submarine that Isaac Peral created.

The ship’s midship section measured 2.87 meters in width and 22 meters in length due to its fusiform steel hull. The entry hatches and a contemporary periscope were located in the central turret.

Peral considered a variety of interior features, such as inserting covered electrical conduits, oxygen delivery systems, and rubber flooring to insulate the interior.

Peral Submarine: Architectural Characteristics

Peral Submarine
(Credit: Marine insight)

For its day, the Peral submarine had a very modern and streamlined design. The submersible, thought to be the world’s first electric battery-powered submarine, is almost 22 meters long and three meters wide. Its maximum speed was approximately eight knots.

The following are some other notable features of the vessel:

  • Equipping the periscope to aid operations better
  • Equipping the magnet-based needles to aid navigation
  • Mono-hulled vessel with suitable partitions to allow for better mobility of crew and arsenal
  • Two electric motors allow for propelling power of up to 60 horsepower
  • Arsenal cache of three torpedo missiles in a single torpedo missile tubing
  • Maximum crewing personnel of 12 members

Disputations and Sustainability Assessments

The political figures’ abrupt change in objectives shortly after the vessel’s deployment contributed to the submersible’s operational viability and eventual disadvantage. After it was first launched, the Spanish Navy authorities required the submarine to go through several suggested tests.

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The tests showed that the Peral could be operated successfully, but it was not suitable for deployment in active combat. After disagreements with Isaac Peral, they scrapped the vessel entirely, resulting in the disassembling of the project.

Current Situation with Submarine Peral

Currently on display as a maritime relic in Cartagena, the birthplace of its inventor, is the Submarine Peral.

Isaac Peral, who coincidentally launched Spain’s first operational navy submarine, passed away very suddenly in Berlin in 1895 from a brain ailment.

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