periscope, is a optical device for conducting observations from a concealed
or protected position. Simple periscopes consist of reflecting mirrors
and/or prisms at opposite ends of a tube container. The reflecting surfaces
are parallel to each other and at a 45° angle to the axis of the tube.
The Navy attributes the invention of the periscope (1902) to Simon Lake
and the perfection of the periscope to Sir Howard Grubb.
For all its innovations, USS
Holland had at least one major flaw; lack of vision when submerged.
The submarine had to broach the surface so the crew could look out through
windows in the conning tower. Broaching deprived the Holland of one of
the submarine’s greatest advantages – stealth. Lack of vision when submerged
was eventually corrected when Simon Lake used prisms and lenses to develop
the omniscope, forerunner of the periscope. Sir Howard Grubb, designer
of astronomical instruments, developed the modern periscope that was first
used in Holland-designed British Royal Navy submarines. For more than 50
years, the periscope was the submarine’s only visual aid until underwater
television was installed aboard the nuclear powered submarine USS
Sir Howard Grubb
Thomas Grubb (1800-1878) founded
a telescope making firm in Dublin. Sir Howard Grubb's father was noted
for inventing and constructing machinery for printing. In the early 1830s,
he made an observatory for his own use equipped with a 9-inch (23cm) telescope.
Thomas Grubb's youngest son Howard (1844-1931) joined the firm in 1865,
under his hand the company gained a reputation for the first-class Grubb
telescopes. During the First World War, demand was on Grubb's factory to
make gunsights and periscopes for the war effort and it was during those
years that Grubb perfected the periscope's design.
Click on thumbnails for larger
French soldiers in Alsace using
your own Periscope
Many thanks to Rick Wattman of Periscope
Marketing Communications for his research.
Photos courtesy of "Photos
of the Great War" website
Interior of a British submarine
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