John Philip Holland

John Philip Holland ( _ga. Seán Pilib Ó Maolchalann) (29 February, 1840 –12 August, 1914 [ [ John Philip Holland article, Encyclopaedia Britannica] ] ) was an engineer who developed the first submarine to be formally commissioned by the U.S. Navy (though not the first American submarine, see American Civil War submarines, and the earlier "Nautilus" and "Turtle") and the first ever Royal Navy submarine, the "Holland 1".


Early life

He was one of four brothers who were born in Liscannor, County Clare, Ireland to an Irish speaking mother, Máire Ní Scannláin, and John Holland, and learned English properly only when he attended the local English-speaking National School system and, from 1858, in the Christian Brothers in Ennistymon. [;;; Holland's background and childhood in Clare and Limerick ] He and his brother, Mícheál, were both active in the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB),Fact|date=March 2008 the precursor to the Irish Republican Army. Mícheál introduced the inventor to the revolutionary group. Holland and the Fenians conceived a plan to develop a small submarine that could be sealifted on a large merchant ship to an area near an unsuspecting British warship. The submarine would then be released from the bottom of the merchant vessel and attack the warship.

Development of submarine designs

Holland emigrated to the United States in 1873. In 1875 his first submarine designs were submitted for consideration by the U.S. Navy, but turned down as unworkable. The Fenians, however, continued to fund Holland's research and development expenses at a level that allowed him to resign from his teaching post. In 1881 "Fenian Ram" was launched, but soon after, Holland and the Fenians parted company angrily, primarily due to issues of payment within the Fenian organization, and between the Fenians and Holland.Davies, R. "Nautilus: The Story of Man Under the Sea". Naval Institute Press. 1995. ISBN 1-55750-615-9.] Holland continued to improve his designs and worked on several experimental boats, prior to his successful efforts with a privately built type, launched on 17 May 1897. This was the first submarine having power to run submerged for any considerable distance, and the first to combine electric motors for submerged travel and gasoline engines for use on the surface. She was purchased by the Navy (on 11 April 1900) after rigorous tests and was commissioned on 12 October, 1900 as USS "Holland". Six more of her type were ordered and built under the supervision of Arthur Leopold Busch, the head of construction at the Crescent Shipyard in Elizabeth, New Jersey and the same shipyard (and man) where the USS Holland (SS-1) was developed. The company that emerged from under these developments was called The Electric Boat Company, founded on 07 February 1899. Isaac Leopold Rice became the company's first President with Elihu B. Frost acting as vice-President and (CFO).

The "USS Holland" design was also adopted by others, including the Royal Navy in developing the Holland class submarine. The Imperial Japanese Navy employed a modified version of the basic design for their first [5] submarines, although these submarines were at least 10 feet longer at about 63 feet. These first (5) Imperial Japanese Naval Submarines were also developed by Holland's confidant, Arthur L. Busch at the Fore River Ship and Engine Company in Quincy, MA.

John Philip Holland also designed the "Holland II" and "Holland III" prototypes.


After spending 57 of his 74 years working with submersibles, John Philip Holland died in August 1914 in Newark, New Jersey.

* List of people on stamps of Ireland


* Screw Propeller
* Hydrocarbon Engine
* Submergible
* Submarine Gun
* Steering Apparatus
* Submarine Boat
* Submerigible Boat
* Submarine Boat
* Submarine Boat
* Submarine Boat
* Visual Indicator
* Auto Dive Mechanism
* Auto Ballast
* Submarine Boat
* Submarine Boat
* Firing Valve
* Submarine Boat
* Submarine Boat
* Submarine Boat
* Submarine Boat
* Submarine Gun
* Submarine Boat
* Submarine Boat


* John Philip Holland, "Encyclopedia of World Biography", 2nd ed. 17 Vols. Gale Research, 1998.
* Who Built Those Subs? Naval History Magazine, Oct. 1998 125th Anniversary issue, pp.31-34. Richard Knowles Morris PhD. Published by the USNI Annapolis, MD.
* International Directory of Company Histories, Volume 86 under General Dynamics/Electric Boat Corporation, July, 2007. Pages 136-139. Published by St. James Press/Thomposon Gale Group.
* The Defender, The Story of General Dynamics, by Roger Franklin. Published by Harper & Row 1986.
*The Submarine in War and Peace by Simon Lake, published in 1918 by J. P. Lippincott, Philadelphia, PA. See pages 113-118.

Further reading

*cite book |author=Morris, Richard |title=John P. Holland, 1841-1914: Inventor of the Modern Submarine |publisher=University of South Carolina Press |location=Columbia, S.C |year=1998 |pages= |isbn=1-57003-236-X |url= |doi= |accessdate=

External links

* Gary W. McCue, " [ John Philip Holland (1841-1914) And His Submarines] ".
* Edward C. Whitman, " [ John Philip Holland: Father of the Modern Submarine] ". ("ed". Article on John Holland from "Undersea Warfare".)
* [ Holland's Submarines] Photos of John Holland's Submarine #1 and the Fenian Ram at the Paterson Museum
* [ The Paterson Museum] Home of John Holland's first and second submarines in Paterson, NJ
* Chief of Naval Operations/Submarine Warfare Division/Submarine Pioneers [
* Official Electric Boat/General Dynamics web site with information on John P. Holland and others who were present during the foundation of this company. []
* [] *This site acknowledges Nixon's shipyard as a developer of pioneering naval craft.
* [ Dutch Submarines: Bill of Complaint Electric Boat Company - J.P. Holland ] at Ironic lawsuit filed against John Philip Holland by Isaac L. Rice and his newly acquried Electric Boat Company. Suit filed in October 1905 in the Northern District of New, Jersey.
* [] John Philip Holland attempting to set up operations in Europe.

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