Narciso Monturiol (1819-1885) and the Ictineo

Spanish Catalonian inventor Narciso (Narcissus) Montturiol was born on September 28, 1819. Lawyer in right wrote on geography, physics, and natural history. He first conceived of the Ictineoto help coral fishermen in their rough job. Ictineo, (which means Icthys= Fish and Naus=Ship), was the first fully operable submarine in the world.

 The Ictineo I measured 7.0meters in length, had a beam of 2.50m, and displaced 8 tons-manually operated, was launched on July 28, 1959. It preformed poorly and so Monturiol went on to build his second boat.
Initiated his construction on February 10, 1862 the Ictineo II measured 17.0meters in length, had a beam of 3.50m, and displaced 65 tons. It was launched on October 2ed, 1864.

At first the propulsion was a helix turned by a handle crank driven by 16 men,but because of it`s poor performance he decided to change the human power for a 6hp steam engine. The re-launching of Ictineo II took place on October 22nd, 1867, and once the problems were worked outthe submarine did 13 submersions to as much as 30 meters. The longest submersion lasted for seven and a half hours; while underwater it was propelled by a one-cylinder steam engine located near the stern- an Air Independent propulsion (AIP). The submarine also had an escape mechanism that allowed to jettison the ballast and surface in case of emergency.
The most important invention of Monturiol was the anaerobic engine of Ictineo II together with the solution to the problem of oxygen supply in an hermetic container. The engine employed a chemical mix of manganese peroxide, zinc and potassium chlorate that reacted, generating the temperature needed for the production of steam and produced gaseous oxygen which, was collected in exhaust tanks and used afterwards for breathing and illumination purposes.
The Spanish inventor offered the US Confederacy his advanced submarine to smash the Federal blockade. The Ictineo II was never purchased. Jules Verne apparently based the Nautilus on this, the world`s most advanced vessel of the day.
Narciso Monturiol was way ahead of his time; he also invented the double hull as well as the bulb-shaped bow, still being used today in modern vessels. In 1868 because of financial problems the Ictineo II was seized by creditors, broken up and sold as scrap. The steam engine was re-installed in a paper mill and later scrapped.
 Narcis Monturiol died on September 6th, 1885.
A replica of the submarine can be seen at the promenade close to the marina in Barcelona, Spain.

Image Country Year Description
Spain 10th philatelic expo,Narciso Monturiol inventor of Ictneo 1859,29 June 1974
Spain 1987 Narciso Monturiol, centenary to his deth, 7 Sep' 1987
Spain 1987 Narciso Monturiol, centenary to his deth
Cambodia 1992 Narciso Monturiol.Spanish submarine inventor
Cambodia 1994 Narciso Monturiol 1819-1885.Spanish submarine inventor (souvenir sheet)
Guinea-Bissau 2008 Narciso Monturiol (1819-1885) and his submarine Ictineo I
Comoros 2008 Ictineo I 1858- Pioneering submarine (Narcis Monturiol, Spain)
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