George William Littler Garrett (
4 July 1852– 26 February 1902) was a British clergyman and inventor who pioneered submarine design.
He was born at
Moss Sidein Manchester, England, the son of an Irish-born Church of Englandcurate. He attended Rossalland 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' Instituteand 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
An interest in the possible military application of what at the time were known as
submarineboats 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 dioxidefrom 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 Nordenfeltsufficiently 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 Russiabut ran aground off Jutlandon the way there and the Russians refused to pay for it.
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 Engineersand was promoted to corporal. He became a U.S. citizen and died in New York Cityin 1902.
*Andrew Lambert, "Garrett, George William Littler (1852–1902)", "
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography", Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/50207, 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
* 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
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