A Civil War Era Shipwrecked Submarine And The 137-Year-Old Mystery Behind It.

In 2001, marine archaeologist Jim Delgado was on a cruise ship near the uninhabited island of San Telmo, in the Pearl Archipelago in Panama, when he heard the tale of a shipwrecked WWII submarine. Naturally intrigued by such a story, Delgado set out to investigate; but when he first saw the wreckage, he knew that the submarine was not Japanese, and that it was much older than WWII.

“I knew that it had a story to tell,” he said.

The marine archaeologist was right about the submarine having a story to tell. After two years of trying to identify the sub, a colleague sent Delgado a blueprint from a 1902 scientific journal that was identical to the wrecked submarine. The blueprint was signed by a Julius H. Kroehl, and dated back to 1864.

Delgado discovered a New York Times article from 1866 detailing a long-forgotten event that occurred on a New York river. A German-American engineer by the name of Julius Kroehl had invented and successfully tested his newest invention: a diving boat called Sub Marine Explorer. This was the first submarine to dive underwater, cruise around, and resurface.

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.

Delgado was certain that the wrecked submarine he found was the same submarine Kroehl tested in New York.

What do you think happened to the submarine to get it from New York to Panama? Use the comments section below and share your thoughts. We’d love to hear from you!

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