Military Wiki
USS Holland (SS-1)
USS Holland (SS-1) underway
USS Holland (SS-1) underway
Career (United States)
Name: Holland VI (1897–1900)
Holland (1900–)
Namesake: John Philip Holland
Builder: Crescent Shipyard, Elizabeth, New Jersey[1]
Laid down: November 1896
Launched: 17 May 1897[1]
Acquired: 11 April 1900
Commissioned: 12 October 1900[1]
Decommissioned: 17 July 1905
Struck: 21 November 1910[1]
Fate: Sold 18 June 1913; on display in a park in Paterson, New Jersey until sold for scrap, 1932[1]
General characteristics
Displacement: 64 long tons (65 t) surfaced[2]
74 long tons (75 t) submerged[2]
Length: 53 ft 10 in (16.41 m) LOA[2]
Beam: 10 ft 4 in (3.15 m) extreme[2]
Draft: 8 ft 6 in (2.59 m)[2]
Installed power: 45 bhp (34 kW) (gasoline engine)
75 bhp (56 kW) (electric motor)
Propulsion: 1 × Otto gasoline engine[2]
1 × E.D. electric motor[2]
66-cell Exide battery[3]
1 × screw[2]
Speed: 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) surfaced[2]
5 knots (9.3 km/h; 5.8 mph) submerged[2]
Complement: 6[2]
Armament: 1 × 18 in (460 mm) torpedo tube[2]
1 × 8.4 in (210 mm) dynamite gun[2]

USS Holland (SS-1) was the United States Navy's first commissioned submarine, named for her Irish-American inventor, John Philip Holland, although not the first submarine of the US Navy, which was the 1862 Alligator. The boat was originally laid down as Holland VI, and launched on 17 May 1897.

Design and construction

Rough sketch of Holland.

The work was done at (Ret.) Navy Lieutenant Lewis Nixon's Crescent Shipyard of Elizabeth, New Jersey for John Holland's company, then known as the Holland Torpedo Boat Company.[4] The craft was built under the supervision of John Holland, who designed the vessel and her details. The keel to this craft was laid at Nixon's Crescent Shipyard with both men present. The two men worked together using many of John Holland's proven concepts and patents to make the submarine a reality, each man complementing the other's contributions to the development of the modern submarine.

Holland VI included many features that submarines of the early 20th century would exhibit, albeit in later, more advanced forms. She had both an internal combustion engine for running on the surface, and an electric motor for submerged operation. She had a reloadable torpedo tube and a deck gun (a pneumatic dynamite gun). There was a conning tower from which the boat and her weapons could be directed. Finally, she had all the necessary ballast and trim tanks to make precise changes in depth and attitude underwater.


Holland VI eventually proved her validity and worthiness as a warship and was ultimately purchased by the U.S. government for the sum of $150,000 on 11 April 1900. She was considered to be the first truly successful craft of her type.[by whom?] The United States Government soon ordered more submarines from Holland's company, which were to be known as the Plunger class. These became America's first fleet of underwater naval vessels.

USS Holland (SS-1) from Scientific American 1898

Holland VI was modified after her christening, and was renamed USS Holland (SS-1) when she was commissioned by the US Navy on 12 October 1900, at Newport, Rhode Island, with Lieutenant Harry H. Caldwell in command.

Holland was the first commissioned submarine in the US Navy[5] and is the first of the unbroken line of submarines in the Navy. She was the third submarine to be owned by the Navy, however. (The first submarine was Propeller (also known as Alligator) and the second was Intelligent Whale.)

Holland under construction, 1900

On 16 October 1900, in order to be kept serviceable throughout the winter, Holland left Newport under tow of the tug Leyden for Annapolis, Maryland,[5] where she was used to train midshipmen of the United States Naval Academy, as well as officers and enlisted men ordered there to receive training vital in preparing for the operation of other submarines being built for the Fleet.[citation needed]

Holland proved valuable for experimental purposes in collecting data for submarines under construction or contemplation. Her 166 mi (267 km) surface run, from Annapolis to Norfolk, Virginia from 8–10 January 1901, provided useful data on her performance underway over an extended period.

Holland, along with six other Holland-type submarines, was based in New Suffolk, New York on the North Fork of Long Island from 1899–1905, prompting the hamlet to claim to be the First Submarine Base in the United States.[6]

Except for the period from 15 June to 1 October,[Clarification needed] which was passed training cadets at the Naval Torpedo Station, Newport, Rhode Island, Holland remained at Annapolis as a training submarine until 17 July 1905.

Holland finished her career at Norfolk, Virginia. Her name was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 21 November 1910. This revolutionary submarine was sold as scrap to Henry A. Hitner & Sons, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 18 June 1913 for $100. Her purchaser was required to put up $5,000 bond as assurance that the submarine would be broken up and not used as a ship.

The success of the submarine was instrumental in the founding of the Electric Boat Company, now known as the General Dynamics Electric Boat, a division of General Dynamics Corporation. This company, therefore, can trace its origins to the formation of John Philip Holland's original company and the revolutionary submarines that were developed at this shipyard.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Friedman, Norman (1995). U.S. Submarines Through 1945: An Illustrated Design History. Annapolis, Maryland: United States Naval Institute. pp. 285–304. ISBN 1-55750-263-3. 
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 Bauer, K. Jack; Roberts, Stephen S. (1991). Register of Ships of the U.S. Navy, 1775–1990: Major Combatants. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. pp. 253. ISBN 0-313-26202-0. 
  3. U.S. Submarines Through 1945 pp. 305–311
  4. "Crescent Shipyard". Retrieved 2012-09-21. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Morris, Richard Knowles (1998). John P. Holland, 1841–1914: Inventor of the Modern Submarine. University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 978-1-57003-236-3. Retrieved 2008-02-12. 
  6. "history". Retrieved 2007-11-04. [dead link]

Further reading

External links

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