Submarine Explorer

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Submarine Explorer

Directed by Marc Brasse
Customer: ZDF/Spiegel TV

The Sub Marine Explorer is a submarine built between 1863 and 1866 by Julius H. Kroehl and Ariel Patterson in Brooklyn, New York for the Pacific Pearl Company. It was hand powered and had an interconnected system of a high-pressure air chamber or compartment, a pressurized working chamber for the crew, and water ballast tanks. Problems with decompression sickness led to the abandonment of the Sub Marine Explorer in Panama in 1869 despite publicized plans to shift the craft to the pearl beds of Baja California.

The basic premise of Sub Marine Explorer was based on an earlier 1858 patent by Van Buren Ryerson of New York for a diving bell also named "Sub Marine Explorer." Ryerson and Kroehl had worked together, Kroehl using Ryerson's bell to blast and partially clear Diamond Reef in New York harbor. Kroehl extensively modified Ryerson's design, extending the hull form to a 12 meter long, 3.3 meter diameter craft of intricate design. While some have termed Kroehl's Explorer a "glorified diving bell," its sophisticated systems of ballast, pressurization and propulsion make it a nineteenth century antecedent to more modern "lock out" dive systems and subs.

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