Divers have found a submarine built in 1907 and sunk more than 75 years ago on the US east coast. Professional diver Richard Simon discovered the Defender, a prototype designed for the US Navy, in the Long Island Estuary off the coast of Old Saybrook, Connecticut (about 150 kilometers from New York City). The discovery is significant evidence of the development of submarines in the United States, decades before the first major submarine battles, the US broadcaster NBC News quoted Simon in a report on Wednesday.

The inventor of the “Defender”, Simon Lake, had submitted several designs for the construction of underwater vehicles in response to a tender by the US Navy in 1893, all of which were initially rejected, according to the Library and Museum Society for U-boats in Connecticut. With his prototype, Lake also implemented ideas inspired by the “Nautilus”, the submarine from Jule Verne’s novel “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”.

“The Defender had wheels, she could drive on the bottom. She had a door that you could let divers out of,” Simon told NBC. The son of a professional diver in Connecticut, he grew up hearing tales of the sub and eventually set off with a team to search for its probable resting place. Years of research preceded the success of finally finding the approximately eleven meter long boat with extremely low visibility.

Never been in use

For the US Navy, the “Defender” remained an experiment, it was never used for military purposes or mass-produced according to the design. In 1946, the boat was sunk in the estuary that leads from the metropolis of New York to the North Atlantic. The “USS Holland”, named after its inventor John Philip Holland, was the first modern submarine in the USA.

Simon told NBC that he did not want to reveal the exact location of his discovery, around 50 meters below sea level, to protect it from treasure robbers. However, he wishes that the “Defender” would one day be raised to be exhibited so that everyone could enjoy it.