Simon’s Sub Counter

Salvage Subs

Harvesting the Splendors Of The Sea

  WHEN Jules Verne wrote his great imaginative classic, “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” in which men walked and worked on the bottom of the ocean within a few feet of the submarine they had just left through a trap door, he little thought that within a few years his dream would be translated into iron and steel by a practical submarine engineer - Simon Lake.

   He had built submarines for governments for their destructive purposes; however, his life ambition was to build and operate submarines and undersea craft with special apparatus for commercial purposes, as -  recovering sunken cargoes and treasures, mining and oil drilling, undersea construction, and harvesting the natural products of the sea, as fish, oysters, clams, pearls and sponges. With all his imaginative genius with all the romance of mermaids, the lure of golden treasures and the hidden city of Atlantis, Simon Lake adored all that the sea could provide - so much mystery, adventure, exploration and wealth. Was Captain Simon Lake the real Captain Nemo ?

SIMON LAKE AT THE HELM !

  Simon Lake designed 3 basic kinds of undersea recovery :

1. The use of independently functioning submarines with divers' compartments with exiting hatches, such as the Argonaut and the Defender submarines.

SUB-MARINE SALVAGE
SUB-MARINE CONSTRUCTION

2. The use of a submersible vessel that was tethered to a mother-ship that provided air and electric power for vessel and salvage apparatus.

Drawing shown to the right, the Explorer type submarine tethered to a mother-ship for air & power supplies.

SUB TENDER & SUBMARINE

3. The use of an access tube that was physically connected from the mother-ship to the submersible, hinged together in such a way that the submersible could be submerged from the surface to the sea floor (or the targeted salvage).

SIMON'S SUBMARINE SALVAGE TUBE

 A salvage worker could  simply enter the tube from the surface and walk down the tube to the submersible, close a hatch, pressurize the compartment , and open the bottom hatch which gave him safe access to the sea for salvage or harvesting operations. This device was referred to as "the stairway to the sea" and Simon Lake had made small fortunes for himself and investors primarily salvaging sunken coal barges.

A VIEW DOWN THE TUBE

   Simon Lake had built 3 salvage tubes for use with a mothership tender: The “English Tube” built in England about 1907 under contract with Lloyds for the salvage of the Lutine, a treasure laden vessel that sunk in the Zuider Sea. The Argonaut III (submersible) & the Argosy (mother ship) was built at the Lake torpedo Boat Company about 1919 by Simon’s Argonaut Salvage Corporation. And the Lillian  (mother ship) & Lakesco (submersible) built under Simon’s Lake Submarine Salvage Corporation.

THE COMPLETE SALVAGE RIG

Crew of the Argonaut & Argosy

MEET THE CREW !

   The Lillian & Lakesco, below, was a trimmed down version of the Argonaut & Argosy

LAKE'S SUBMARINE SALVAGER
Simon' salvaging submersible as it is today.
A Watery Grave and Memorial in Milford Harbor.
Submersible end of the tube, under construction.

   Some say that if Simon Lake would have stayed with the commercial aspects of submarining, that he would have remained a happy, successful millionaire his entire life, not to have died penniless. But then the entire coarse of history would have been dramatically altered.

[Index] [Simon Lake] [S L P] [Lake Subs] [Subindex] [Publications] [Ship's Store] [Lake Engineering] [Sub Links] [The SLP Fund] [Lake Family] [Tibutes to Simon Lake] [Contact Info] [ANNOUNCEMENTS]