A Submarine Engineer

The term submarine had a different meaning in the 19th century than it does today. The word traces back to the 1600s and is a combination of sub, meaning below and marine pertaining to the sea. The word did not mean a craft capable of independent operation underwater as commonly understood today. In the mid to late 1800's the term submarine meant underwater.

Submarine Engineering essentially meant, in today's terms, Civil Engineering applied underwater. That is, one who was engaged in that line of work was tasked with the salvaging of sunken ships and cargoes, underwater repairs on dry docks, marine railways, dams, wharves as well as the demolition of obstructions to navigation in the shipping channels. They would be knowledgeable in the use of gunpowder detonated by electric batteries on the surface and the art of diving which was still in its infancy in that day. Not only would they be called on to employ divers and all the apparatus that went with that occupation, they occasionally would have to use diving bells to accomplish certain jobs.

Posted 6 Apr 2012 by Manny Carvalho and Bill Waldrop