Simon Lake and his family of Argonauts and Protectors

Chief rival and one of the prime contenders competing with John P. Holland in the US was Simon Lake(1866-1945). One of Lake’s focuses was on getting submarines to submerge and surface while maintaining an even keel. He felt this was important for submarine safety versus the angles encountered by John Holland`s submarine while performing those functions. Sold none of his submarines to the US Navy until 1911, but successfully marketed them in Europe.

Simon Lake, born in Pleasantville New Jersey on September 4, 1866, distinguished marine engineer, played a major part in the development of the submarine as a practical device. 
1892 Inspired by Jules Verne`s, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea, Simon Lake designed and submitted plans to the US Navy, one of 3 submissions. Lake’s scheme included a set of wheels under the boat by which it could run along the bottom.
1894 Lakebuilt his first experimental `submarine`, Argonaut Jr., a self-propelled diving bell-a weighted, waterproofed wooden box on wheels, hand crank driven. Surprisingly enough the Argonaut Jr. was successfully demonstrated.
1895 The success led to the formation of the Lake Submarine Company of New Jersey, which built the Argonaut I.
1898The 36 foot long Argonaut I, using gasoline engine for both surfaced and submerged propulsion (drawing air from the surface through breathing tubes), made an ocean passing from Norfolk to Sandy Hook making her the first submarine to operate successfully in the open sea. Lake had some problems with gasoline fumes in Argonaut I, so he shifted the fuel tanks outside the pressure hull, enlarging and improving her in 1899 redesigned as Argonaut II.
 1901 Simon Lake formed the Lake Torpedo Boat Company at Bridgeport, Ct. and in 1902 Lake began constructing his first truly sophisticated submarine, Protector, a 65 feet and 130 tone boat which had two pairs of hydroplanes, a diver’s airlock, wheels and Lake’s patented omni scope-a sort of periscope.

The Protector was design as a military submarine built for the United States and other foreign governments, including Russia, Austria, and Germany. Lake provided consultation services to Italy, Germany, England, Norway, and Sweden and maintained offices in Russia, Germany, Poland, Austria, and England.
Simon Lake served as president and general manager of the Lake Torpedo Boat Company  until 1916, died on June 23, 1945, after being able to see what submarine forces could accomplish in full-scale war.

Image Country Year Description
Eynhallow Is. (Scotland) 1982 Submarines Argonaut and U-24 (perforated)
Micronesia 1997 Simon Lake, Argonaut 1897
Palau 2000 Argonaut, 1899 built by Simon Lake
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