How a Scholarly Farm Boy Attempted to Take Down the British Navy with A Turtle

At the start of the American Revolutionary War, the British Army seemed like an unbeatable enemy. The rebellious colonists could not hope to match the naval superiority of the British ... at least, not by traditional means. But an out-of-the-box inventor ... a Connecticut farm boy named David Bushnell turned out to be a Yale student ... had an audacious idea. If he could build a ship that could carry a person underwater, an explosive could be attached to unsuspecting warships. Although the Bushnell Turtle, the world's first submarine, did not complete its task of blowing up British ships, it marked the beginning of a new aspect of warfare… submarine warfare.

David Bushnell trades farm life to Yale

David Bushnell was born in Connecticut in 1740. He was a creative problem-solver and inventor since childhood. He seemed a confirmed bachelor. At 26, he was still living at home and was unmarried when his father died. Bushnell and his younger brother Ezra took over the farm, but the older brother's heart was not in farming. He sold his share of the farm to his brother and prepared himself to take the entrance exam for Yale. At the age of 31 he was accepted into the university.

Bushnell had unusual pet projects

As a student at Yale, Bushnell devoted himself to his unusual science project. He wanted to find a way for the gunpowder to explode underwater. In addition to religious and math classes, he took several science courses and studied the properties of gunpowder. He often conducted field experiments to test his findings and his inventions. The sudden explosions in the ponds of the campus caught the attention of his frightened classmates.

Bushnell's senior year was canceled because of the war

In April of 1775, when Bushnell and his fellow Yale classmates, in their final year of college, received word that American colonists and British soldiers were engaged in fierce fighting at nearby Concord and Lexington. For the safety of the students, the university was closed and the students were sent home. Bushnell returned to his family's farm to live with his brother Ezra.

Back home, Bushnell continues his work with explosives

Enraged in earnest, Bushnell devoted himself to his work with underwater explosives. He hoped that he could use his research and his education to help the war effort in an unconventional way. He began planning a way to deliver the explosives underwater to his targets. Bushnell, along with his brother Ezra, designed the first submarine.

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.