George Garrett

George William Littler Garrett (4 July 185226 February 1902) was a British clergyman and inventor who pioneered submarine design.

Early life

He was born at Moss Side in Manchester, England, the son of an Irish-born Church of England curate. He attended Rossall and then Manchester Grammar School, then studied Chemistry and General Science at Owens College (also in Manchester) before attending Trinity College, Dublin. He was appointed assistant master at the Manchester Mechanics' Institute and subsequently obtained a BA degree.

In 1873, he passed the Cambridge Theological Examination and became a curate in his father's parish.


He invented a diving suit in 1877, demonstrating it to the French government in the River Seine.

An interest in the possible military application of what at the time were known as submarine boats prompted him to form the Garrett Submarine Navigation and Pneumataphore Company Limited and raise £10,000 through it from Manchester businessmen. (A pneumataphore was a device for removing carbon dioxide from the air).

In 1878, he built a convert|14|ft|m|sing=on long hand-cranked submarine of about 4.5 tons, which he named the "Resurgam". This was followed by the second (and more famous) "Resurgam" of 1879. It was convert|45|ft|m long, displaced about 30 tons on the surface and 38 tons submerged and was powered by steam - the furnace and chimney being shut off before diving.

It was not very practical - the boiler full of superheated water made conditions inside the submarine very hot indeed, and in common with many early submarine inventors he had not overcome the problems of longitudinal stability.

Nevertheless, although the submarine was lost whilst under tow in 1880, it impressed the Swedish industrialist Thorsten Nordenfelt sufficiently to finance him.

Together, they built a submarine for Greece, and two for Turkey - Garrett was commissioned as a Commander in the Imperial Ottoman Navy for carrying out trials in these submarines. All of them suffered from severe stability problems. A further submarine was built for Russia but ran aground off Jutland on the way there and the Russians refused to pay for it.

Final years

After this, Nordenfelt and Garrett parted company. Garrett emigrated to the United States, where he lost his savings in a failed farm in Florida. He then joined the United States Army Corps of Engineers and was promoted to corporal. He became a U.S. citizen and died in New York City in 1902.


*Andrew Lambert, "Garrett, George William Littler (1852–1902)", "Oxford Dictionary of National Biography", Oxford University Press, 2004 [, accessed 2 Dec 2006]
*cite book |title=Submarines: War Beneath the Waves from 1776 to the Present Day |last=Hutchinson |first=Robert |year= 2002|publisher=Collins |isbn=978-0007105588 |pages=240

Further reading

* Paul Bowers - "The Garrett enigma and the early submarine pioneers" (Shrewsbury: Airlife, 1999) ISBN 1-84037-066-1
* William Scanlan Murphy - "The father of the submarine: the life of the Reverend George Garrett Pasha" (William Kimber & Co, 1987) ISBN 0-7183-0654-6

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • George Garrett (poet) — George Palmer Garrett, Jr. ( June 11, 1929 May 25, 2008) was an American poet and novelist. He was the poet laureate of Virginia from 2002 to 2006. His novels include The Finished Man , Double Vision , and the Elizabethan Trilogy, composed of… …   Wikipedia

  • George Garrett (musician) — George Mursell Garrett (8 June 1834 – 8 April 1897 [Cite journal|title = George Mursell Garrett journal = The musical times and singing class circular volume = 38 issue = 651 pages = 310 311 date = 1 May year = 1897] ) was born in Winchester… …   Wikipedia

  • Garrett (name) — See also: lookfrom|Garrett Garrett is a masculine Irish, and Anglo Saxon first name, or surname meaning Lord of the spear , god of the spear or spear wielder .PopularityThe popularity of the name Garrett in the United States has risen sharply in… …   Wikipedia

  • George McGovern — George S. McGovern United States Senator from South Dakota In office January 3, 1963 – January 3, 1981 Preceded by …   Wikipedia

  • George Montgomery — est un acteur et réalisateur américain né le 29 août 1916 à Brady dans le Montana et mort le 12 décembre 2000 à Rancho Mirage. Sommaire 1 Filmographie 1.1 Comme acteur 1.2 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Garrett Mattingly — (May 6 1900 ndash; December 18 1962) was a professor of European history at Columbia University who specialized in early modern diplomatic history and won a Pulitzer Prize for a bestseller about the Spanish Armada. Born in Washington, D.C.,… …   Wikipedia

  • Garrett Birkhoff — (* 19. Januar 1911 in Princeton, New Jersey, USA; † 22. November 1996 in Water Mill, N.Y., USA) war ein US amerikanischer Mathematiker, der sich mit Algebra und Angewandter Mathematik (Hydrodynamik) befasste …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • George Brown Martin — George B. Martin George Brown Martin (* 18. August 1876 in Prestonsburg, Floyd County, Kentucky; † 12. November 1945 in Catlettsburg, Kentucky) war ein US amerikanischer Politiker der Demokratischen Partei. Noch als George Martin ein Kleinkind… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • George Mortimer Bibb — George M. Bibb George Mortimer Bibb (* 30. Oktober 1776 in Prince Edward County, Virginia; † 14. April 1859 in Georgetown (Washington, D.C.)) war ein US amerikanischer Richter, Politiker, Senat …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • George Rogers — Données générales Nom complet George Washington Rogers Jr Nationalité  États Unis Date de naissance …   Wikipédia en Français

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.