1860s Submarine: Ictíneo II by Narcís Monturiol

Sometimes, it's so obvious that certain inventions are technologically out of sync with the narrative, that the gap between two realities appears to be utterly ridiculous. In this case we have several revolutionary inventions attributed to the same inventor. What else is new in the world of the Stolen History?

Ictíneo II: Intro
Ictíneo II was a pioneering submarine launched in 1864 by the Spanish engineer Narcís Monturiol. It made her maiden voyage under human power on 20 May 1865, submerging to 27.5 metres (90 ft). Here is what was so special about her. She was:
  • The first air independent submarine
  • The first combustion powered submarine... yup, just wait for it.
  • The first submarine to overcome the basic problems of machine powered underwater navigation
I am not sure whether we have an actual photograph of this sub, but we sure do have a replica.
  • This replica of Ictineo II was built in 1992, and its outer hull has been constructed out of wood, like the original submarine.
  • Ictineo II: The Wooden Submarine

The reason I am not 100% positive we do not have a photograph of the real thing is the image below. The "drawing" looks suspicious.
  • It also does not say that it's Ictíneo II.
    • Yet, it would have to be Ictíneo II, because Ictíneo I looked totally different.
    • Try to figure whether it is #I or #2 out at this source.
  • And I'm not sure the sub we see below was made of wood.
    • Here they say that it's a reproduction.
Sources for the below, or similar looking "photograph-like" images:

Narcís Monturiol
Did our "inventor" receive any education that we could associate with engineering? May be he did, but here is what the PTB has to say. Please do not skip, for I know you will enjoy the non-sense.

  • Narcís Monturiol i Estarriol was a Spanish artist and engineer. He was the inventor of the first air-independent and combustion-engine-driven submarine.
  • Monturiol i Estarriol was born in the city of Figueres, Spain.
  • He was the son of a cooper.
    • A cooper is a person trained to make wooden casks, barrels, vats, buckets, tubs, troughs and other similar containers from timber staves that were usually heated or steamed to make them pliable.
  • Monturiol went to high school in Cervera and got a law degree in 1845.
  • Monturiol never practiced law, instead turning his talents to writing and publishing, setting up a publishing company in 1846.
  • He produced a series of journals and pamphlets espousing his radical beliefs in feminism, pacifism, and utopian communism.
    • He also founded the newspaper "La Madre de Familia", in which he promised "to defend women from the tyranny of men" and "La Fraternidad", Spain's first communist newspaper.
  • Monturiol's friendship with Abdó Terrades led him to join the Republican Party and his circle of friends included such names as musician Josep Anselm Clavé, and engineer and reformist Ildefons Cerdà.
    • Monturiol also became an enthusiastic follower of the utopian thinker and socialist Étienne Cabet; he popularised Cabet's ideas through La Fraternidad and produced a Spanish translation of his novel Voyage en Icarie.
    • A circle formed round La Fraternidad raised enough money for one of them to travel to Cabet's utopian community, Icaria.
  • Following the revolutions of 1848, one of his publications was suppressed by the government and he was forced into a brief exile in France.
    • When he returned to Barcelona in 1849, the government curtailed his publishing activities, and he turned his attention to science and engineering instead.
  • A stay in Cadaqués allowed him to observe the dangerous job of coral harvesters where he even witnessed the death of a man who drowned while performing this job.
    • This prompted him to think of submarine navigation and in September 1857 he went back to Barcelona and organized the first commercial society in Spain dedicated to the exploration of submarine navigation with the name of Monturiol, Font, Altadill y Cia. and a capital of 10,000 pesetas.
  • In 1858 Monturiol presented his project in a scientific thesis, titled The Ictineo or fish-ship.
    • The first dive of his first submarine, Ictineo I, took place in September 1859 in the harbour of Barcelona.
Oh, and here is one more photograph. This picture is worth a thousand words, don't you think?
  • Source (Crew of the Ictineo's first voyage. Monturiol is in the center. )
Monturiol y socios.jpg

Between 1859 and 1867 Monturiol produced two submarines, and that was it. Caring about them poor coral harvesters only went so far.

In 1868 Monturiol returned to political life. A member of the Partido Federal, he was a deputy in the Constituent Assembly of the First Spanish Republic (1873), and shortly afterwards became the director of the National Stamp Factory in Madrid for a few months, where:
  • He implemented a process to speed up the manufacturing of adhesive paper.
Monturiol's other inventions included:
  • 1. A system for copying letters
  • 2. A continuous printer
  • 3. A rapid-firing cannon
  • 4. A system to enhance the performance of steam generators
  • 5. A stone cutter
  • 6. A method for preserving meat
  • 7. A machine for making cigarettes
Not bad for a lawyer and a "utopian thinker". Monturiol died in 1885.

KD: Well, only losers need education, right? Winners just will themselves to inventions of this magnitude. Wait until you read about the inventions Monturiol came up with for his submarine #II.
  • Look for [A] and [В], and remember that those were 1860s.

Ictíneo II: Continued
The Ictíneo II was originally intended as an improved version of the handpowered Ictíneo I. The Spanish Navy pledged support to Monturiol but did not actually supply it, so he had to raise funds himself, writing a letter to the nation to encourage a popular subscription which raised 300,000 pesetas from citizens of Spain and was used to form the company La Navegación Submarina to develop the Ictíneo II.
  • The Ictíneo II was 14 metres (46 ft) long, 2 metres (6.6 ft) wide, and 3 metres (9.8 ft) high.
  • Her displacement was 46 tonnes and her interior volume was 29 cubic metres (1,000 cu ft).
  • She was built of olive wood with oak reinforcements, and a 2 mm thick layer of copper.
  • Her upper side had a deck 1.3 metres (4.3 ft) wide and a hatch with three glazed portholes 200 millimetres (7.9 in) in diameter and 100 millimetres (3.9 in) thick glass blocks.
  • The submarine could be steered from the conning tower by means of an endless screw gear.


The Ictíneo II made her maiden voyage under human power on 20 May 1865, submerging to 27.5 metres (90 ft).
  • After reading about the American Civil War and the attempts at submarine construction such as the CSS Hunley, the financially desperate Monturiol wrote to the US Secretary of the Navy.
  • However, the Civil War had ended by the time the Secretary responded.
Dissatisfied with the limitations placed on him by human propulsion, Monturiol realized that the only option was steam power, but contemporary steam engines required a fire which was not an option for a submarine.
  • To this end he invented [A] an air independent engine, which ran on a chemical reaction fueled by peroxide that provided its own oxygen for combustion.
The most important innovation in the Ictíneo II was its air independent propulsion for underwater navigation.
  • [В] A reaction of zinc, manganese dioxide and potassium chlorate heated the boiler of a steam engine to provide propulsion and illumination and the oxygen released by the reaction could be used for breathing.
  • Monturiol purchased a six-cylinder steam engine and divided it in half; one half was powered by a coal-burning boiler for surface propulsion while the other half was powered by a separate boiler heated by his chemical mixture.
Monturiol intended to develop the submarine for its commercial use in the exploitation of coral reefs.
  • Later he installed a gun inside the submarine's hull and performed a number of trials involving underwater shots on predetermined targets from 22 December to 30 December 1865, but this failed to impress the military authorities.
Monturiol envisaged a new vessel, custom built to house his new engine, which would be entirely built of metal with the engine housed in its own separate compartment.
  • However, due to the state of his finances, construction of a new vessel was out of the question, and instead he managed to assemble enough funds to fit the engine into the Ictíneo II.
On 22 October 1867 the Ictíneo II made its first surface journey under steam power, averaging 3.5 knots (4.0 mph) with a top speed of 4.5 knots (5.2 mph).
  • Two months later, on 14 December, Monturiol submerged the vessel and ran his chemical engine, but with a quite slow speed of 2.5 knots.
    The submarine could dive up to 27.5 metres (90 ft) and could stay underwater for seven-and-a-half-hours.
On 23 December, La Navegación Submarina went bankrupt, having completely exhausted its funds.
  • The chief creditor called in his debt, and Monturiol was forced to surrender the Ictíneo II, which was his sole asset.
  • The creditor subsequently sold it on to a businessman, and the authorities, who taxed all ships, issued its new owner with a tax bill.
  • Rather than pay, he dismantled the entire submarine and sold it for scrap.
  • The ship's surface motor was removed to a textile factory; the viewports ended up as bathroom windows.
Older Texts

1862 Source


- Monturiol invented this special glass too? -
1875 Source

Read This

1878 Source

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
The novel was originally serialized from March 1869 through June 1870 in Pierre-Jules Hetzel's fortnightly periodical, the Magasin d'éducation et de récréation. A deluxe octavo edition was published by Hetzel in November 1871. The book was widely acclaimed on its release and remains so; it is regarded as one of the premiere adventure novels and one of Verne's greatest works.


Ictíneo III
- What happened to this Nautilus here? -


Additional older texts: Link

KD: The PTB is unbeatable. If they can publish stuff like this, and no questions are being asked, they are literally invinsible. I call BS on this narrative, but what good does it do?
  • Some public activist with no engineering education "invented" a bunch of stuff requiring some major technical schooling.
  • When did he invent those? Approximately 30 years prior to the "Great horse manure crisis of 1894".
What do you think we have here?
It is really impressive how these SOBs have lied to us in everything ... Greetings
Greetings to you too @Fernandorubio. Yup, when I was reading about this sub, my thoughts were very similar to yours.

This here is one of my favorite parts, though (to be fair) the “history” of this submarine is full of gems.
  • Later he installed a gun inside the submarine's hull and performed a number of trials involving underwater shots on predetermined targets from 22 December to 30 December 1865, but this failed to impress the military authorities.
The above statement is ridiculous, no matter which way we look at it. What I would like to know is this.
  • What 1865 cannon was capable of making underwater shots?
Simon says: Underwater firearms were first developed in the 1960s during the Cold War as a way to arm frogmen.
  • Or, did he have a working torpedo firing station installed on his 1865 sub?
The concept of putting an underwater firing gun on this submarine has to be pure fantasy. The basic physics of the resistance of water to an object moving through it, which slows an object relying purely on momentum, like a bullet, very quickly, is why torpedoes, which are powered all the way to the target, are used instead. Besides that guns have what is called recoil. The force that is put into the projectile is opposed by the force put into the mount or support for the gun. The main gun on the old M1 Abrams I operated in the mid-1980's was the old rifled 105mm and had a recoil of roughly 13 inches inside the turret. That dampens the force applied to the vehicle and gun mount but the force is still there. Can you imagine putting those recoil forces into a submarine with a wooden hull?! Remember how those old cannons would roll back when they were fired? Even if you could get a canon to fire underwater, it seems like a sure way to destroy your own sub.

Having read everything you have above and all the links, I question how much of the operation of the sub was actually accomplished and how much was just intended. One reason is what is written in the book by Matthew Stewart (your source #3), which is pretty poorly translated by Google, in which everything he says is in the future tense (this will be done and that will happen). The only thing he writes in the past tense is at the bottom where he refers to a water leak that occurred and that they would have to replace all the ferro (iron) components with bronze. Seems like, given all the years of sailing ships, it would have been known that iron components would corrode or oxidize quickly.

At any rate, the diagram doesn't match the photograph of the Ictineo II; in addition to the cupola sticking up from the top of the hull, the diagram shows a periscope at the front, then a vent pipe with a lid on the inside, then aft of the cupola an exhaust pipe and another vent pipe, all of which should be visible sticking out but are not in either the old photo or the "restoration". Similarly, the operation of the rudder is described as using an "endless screw gear" but there is no linkage shown going to the rudder in the diagram, though there is a small rod connecting to the rudder at the top in the old photo. There is absolutely no provisions for the crew visible in the diagram such as seats or places to get away from the machinery, except for the platform where one can stand and look out of the cupola. Further I don't see anything that could be considered ballast tanks, which would have been equally distributed on the hull for balance, except possibly the areas in the top down view labelled with a "T", but once again there is no plumbing to those areas.

I think the statement that the inventor was into "feminism, pacifism and utopian communism" says it all about his character and his associates. I think he was probably just a front man for a team of engineers and ended up with the credit. The idea to use a chemical mixture for propulsion that would also produce oxygen is novel, but it means he had no access to batteries and electric motors.

The texts you have linked labelled "older texts" and "read this" have to be hearsay or even plain BS. "The crew can subsist for any length of time desired below the surface" and "the machine may be large or small" (which is it) sounds like they are talking about an idea rather than an actual vessel. "Entirely covered in a sheathing of brass" though the photos show brass only on the top. In the text labelled "read this" it refers to two horizontal rudders, neither of which are visible in the diagrams or the photos.

Still a cool concept and inventors have to start somewhere.
Sounds like one of the many examples of found tech. IMHO, the fact that Estarriol was supposedly smart enough to pull the plans for this sub out of the aether, but not smart enough to realize that an underwater gun is impractical at the time speaks volumes(not to mention the question of what exactly did they think they needed to shoot underwater). My money is on Estarriol fit and behaved with the narrative enough that he was given credit for inventing tech TPTB were repurposing as their own.
Fiction almost certainly. If these late 1940s problems and solutions are any guide.
EDIT to add
I remembered I was working as an apprentice on the conversion of two ammunition barges. One was to be a tanker the other was to be a test bed for a hydrogen peroxide engine. I don't know what happened to the barges as I was moved to a different part of the shipyard, different department within a few months. Point being as late as 1980/81 the Royal Navy had still not figured out how to make these engines safe for use so the claim the op chap built one when he did and fitted it in a submarine and it worked is complete bollocks quite frankly.

As with all of the people which the mainstream narrators (I mustn't stray from the approved narrative as I will lose my status, career,pension etc) claim built 'the first' this one collapses into the lie that it is on even cursory inspection. All I feel is going on is the simple obfuscation of whoever really invented the technology, or whoever found the technology in a workable condition and figured out what it was used for or how it worked or what it ran on. (The latter found stuff is implausible to me but not impossible though no clue how one would figure out the veracity of the claim of it being found lying about).

It's either that or some eminent quackademic made a guess 'back in the day' and because of his eminence no-one dared question it during his lifetime and when he snuffed it his guess had become the 'mainstream narrative' and that cannot be argued against. Holy has many meanings it seems,
Has anyone else noticed how it is nearly always a 'he' which is invoked as the inventor or founder of things?
Perhaps there is the frame of reference needed to figure out where the real history lies. Research the hell out of anything attributed to a male inventor but flip it and look for the female connections to see if that reveals some true history. Might be worth a shot if one is so inclined.
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