USS Holland, first US Navy submarine

The Holland VI was a major breakthrough in submarine design. For the first time, all the major components were present in one vessel - dual propulsion systems, a fixed longitudinal center of gravity, separate main and auxiliary ballast systems, a hydrodynamically advanced shape, and a modern weapons system.

USS Holland (SS-1) was the Navy`s first commissioned submarine and thus the forerunner of today`s submarine fleet. She was designed in the 1890`s by John P. Holland, an inventor and self-taught engineer who had emigrated from Ireland some twenty-five years earlier. Built under his supervision at the Crescent Shipyard at Elizabethport, NJ, the Holland VI, as she was then known, was launched 17 May, 1897.
The ultimate fate of this pioneer submarine is far from clear. In 1913 she was reported sold for scrap at Annapolis for $1,076.50, and later towed to Camden, NJ. In 1915 the ex-Holland was hoisted from the Delaware River onto a flat car for delivery to a scrap metal dealer. Headed for the ship breakers, the hulk was given a last minute reprieve and apparently went on an exhibition tour to Philadelphia, Atlantic City and finally New York. In 1924 the ex-Holland reportedly was the property of the Museum of Peaceful Arts on exhibit at Starlight Park in the Bronx, but apparently in 1930 she was sold again for $100.00 and finally scrapped.

never bore the `(SS-1)` designation during her commissioned life as that designation was not introduced until 1920.
Specifications, USS Holland (SS-1), Holland VI class:
Keel laid down by the Crescent Shipyard, Elizabeth port, NJ, November, 1896;
launched March, 1897; purchased by U.S. Navy 18 April, 1900 for $160,000.00
commissioned October 12, 1900 with Lt Harry H. Caldwell in command.

Displacement (srf/sub tons):
Dimensions (L*B*D feet): 53`8*10`7*un known
Propulsion: powered on the surface by a 45 horsepower gasoline engine which drove her single three bladed propeller, sixty lead acid cells made up the storage battery which provided power for submerged operations. The engine, motor and tailshaft were connected through friction clutches to permit the motor, when driven by the gasoline engine as a generator, to recharge the battery.
Speed (srf/sub knots):
Range (srf/sub n/miles@knots): 1000@6/30@4
Diving depth (feet): 100
Complement: 1 officers 6 enlisted
Torpedo: 1*18" bow torpedo tube containing a total of 3 Whitehead torpedoes
Mines: none
Armament: a Zalinski dynamite gun, an 8" pneumatic tube mounted on the centerline above the torpedo tube, fixed in train and permanently elevated approximately 15 degrees. It was designed to lob an explosive charge a distance of up to 1000 yard


Sleek lines were drawn by her designer in conscious imitation of the porpoise, and every effort was made to enhance submerged performance. As a result, when operating on the surface Holland lay low in the water, provided very little topside deck space and scant protection from the sea for personnel on deck.

was designed to be a warship, with much of the restricted interior space dedicated to a weapons system.
Click Johan P. Holland for more historical information.

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Image Country Year Description
United States Meter slogan, 60th anni' of the first US Navy Submarine USS Holland, Gorton CT, May 2, 1960
United States 100th Anniversary of commissioning of USS Holland (SS-1), Berkeley Heights NJ, 12 Oct', 2000
United States 100th Anniversary of commissioning of US Navy's first submarine, USS Holland (SS-1), Elizabeth NJ, 12 Oct', 2000
United States Holland station Submarine Anniversary, The 100th anni' First US Submarine, USS Holland 1900-2000, Peterson NJ, 11 April, 2000
United States 60th Anniversary of the US Navy's First Submarine the USS Holland, Groton CONN., 2 May, 1960
United States Submarine anni', The 47th anni' of the first US submarine Holland 1947, New London CT, April 11, 1947
United States United States Navy, USS Holland SS-1, Commissioned October 12, 1900, Suffolk VA, 17 May, 2003
Grenada 1987 USS Holland-I 1900,first steamepowered submarine
Grenada 1990 USS Holland-I 1900. Overprinted "Independence 40" for philatelic exhibition
United States 2000 USS Holland S-1
Guinea-Bissau 2006 John Philip Holland and his submarine Holland no.6
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