John Philip Holland
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John Philip Holland (Irish: Seán Pilib Ó hUallacháin/Ó Maolchalann) (24 February 1841 – 12 August 1914) was an Irish engineer who developed the first submarine to be formally commissioned by the U.S. Navy, and the first Royal Navy submarine, the Holland 1. He is widely regarded as the father of the modern submarine for his designs.
John Philip Holland, Jr., the second of four siblings, all boys, was born in a coastguard cottage in Liscannor, County Clare, Ireland where his father, John, Sr., was a member of the British Coastguard Service. His mother, a native Irish speaker from Liscannor, Máire Ní Scannláin (aka Mary Scanlon), was John Holland's second wife, his first, Anne Foley Holland, believed to be a native of Kilkee, died in 1835. The area was heavily Irish-speaking and Holland learned English properly only when he attended the local English-speaking St Macreehy's National School, and from 1858, in the Christian Brothers in Ennistymon.
Holland joined the Irish Christian Brothers in Limerick and taught in Limerick (CBS Sexton Street) & many other centres in the country including North Monastery CBS in Cork City, St Joseph's CBS (Drogheda) and as the first Mathematics teacher in Colaiste Ris (also Dundalk). Due to ill health, he left the Christian Brothers in 1873. Holland emigrated to the United States in 1873. Initially working for an engineering firm, he returned to teaching again for a further six years in St. John’s Catholic School in Paterson, New Jersey.
Development of submarine designs
While a teacher in Cork, Holland read an account of the battle between the ironclads Monitor and Merrimack during the American Civil War. He realized that the best way to attack such ships would be through an attack beneath the waterline. He drew a design, but when he attempted to obtain funding, he was turned away. After his arrival in the United States, Holland slipped and fell on an icy Boston street and broke a leg. While recuperating from the injury in a hospital, he used his time to refine his submarine designs and was encouraged by Isaac Whelan, a priest.
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 on bad terms over the issue of payment within the Fenian organization, and between the Fenians and Holland. The submarine is now preserved at Paterson Museum, New Jersey.
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 U.S. 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 at the Crescent Shipyard in Elizabeth, New Jersey. The company that emerged from under these developments was called The Electric Boat Company, founded on 7 February 1899. Isaac Leopold Rice became the company's first President with Elihu B. Frost acting as vice president and chief financial officer. This company eventually evolved into the major defense contractor General Dynamics.
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 five submarines, although these submarines were at least 10 feet longer at about 63 feet. These submarines were also developed at the Fore River Ship and Engine Company in Quincy, Massachusetts. Holland also designed the Holland II and Holland III prototypes. The Royal Navy 'Holland 1' is on display at the Submarine Museum, Gosport, England.
After spending 57 of his 74 years working with submersibles, John Philip Holland died on 12 August 1914 in Newark, New Jersey. Holland is interred at the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Totowa, New Jersey.
A Monument stands at the gates of Scholars Townhouse Drogheda (the former building of the Cristian Brothers school where Holland taught) in commemoration of his work. It was unveiled in a ceremony on June 14 2014 as part of the Irish Maritime Festival. The ceremony was attended by Drogheda Town Council as well as representatives of the US, British and Japanese Governments.
- U.S. Patent 239,046 Screw Propeller
- U.S. Patent 337,000 Hydrocarbon Engine
- U.S. Patent 472,670 Submergible
- U.S. Patent 491,051 Submarine Gun
- U.S. Patent 492,960 Steering Apparatus
- U.S. Patent 522,177 Submarine Boat
- U.S. Patent 537,113 Submerigible Boat
- U.S. Patent 681,221 Submarine Boat
- U.S. Patent 681,222 Submarine Boat
- U.S. Patent 683,400 Submarine Boat
- U.S. Patent 684,429 Visual Indicator
- U.S. Patent 693,272 Auto Dive Mechanism
- U.S. Patent 694,153 Auto Ballast
- U.S. Patent 694,154 Submarine Boat
- U.S. Patent 694,643 Submarine Boat
- U.S. Patent 696,971 Firing Valve
- U.S. Patent 696,972 Submarine Boat
- U.S. Patent 702,728 Submarine Boat
- U.S. Patent 702,729 Submarine Boat
- U.S. Patent 706,561 Submarine Boat
- U.S. Patent 708,552 Submarine Gun
- U.S. Patent 708,553 Submarine Boat
- U.S. Patent 815,350 Submarine Boat
- Holland's daughter Marguerite claims her father was born on 29 February, a leap year, which would make the year of birth 1840, not 1841, but this is not universally accepted, as the Christian Brothers' register in Limerick contains the notation "J.P. Holland ... entered June 15, 1858, aged 17."
- John Philip Holland article, Encyclopaedia Britannica
- John P. Holland (1841-1914) - Inventor of the Modern Submarine by Richard K. Morris, United States Naval Institute (publisher), Annapolis, MD: © 1966, Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 66-20239, pp. 13-14.
- Holland's background and childhood in Clare and Limerick, geocities.com; accessed 8 May 2015.
- Profile, clarelibrary.ie, 9 August 1996.
- "John P. Holland: An Appreciation," Daily Alaska Empire. Sept. 3, 1914. p. 5; accessed 2 September 2014.
- Davies, R. Nautilus: The Story of Man Under the Sea. Naval Institute Press. 1995; ISBN 1-55750-615-9.
- John Philip Holland, Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd ed. 17 Vols. Gale Research, 1998.
- 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.[unreliable source?]
- The Submarine in War and Peace by Simon Lake, published in 1918 by J. P. Lippincott, Philadelphia, PA. See pages 113-118.
- Morris, Richard Knowles (1998). John P. Holland, 1841-1914: Inventor of the Modern Submarine. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 1-57003-236-X.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to John Philip Holland.|
- Electric Boat/General Dynamics web site with information on John P. Holland and others who were present during the foundation of this company
- Holland's Submarines Photos of John Holland's Submarine #1 and the Fenian Ram at the Paterson Museum.
- John Philip Holland (1841-1914) And His Submarines by Gary McCue
- Playwright Aidan Harney wrote the play Submarine Man: the little known life of John Philip Holland (2008) and it had two national tours in Ireland.
- The short film "No Deck to Strut Upon (1971)" is available for free download at the Internet Archive