The Irish-born inventor of the submarine. In 1873 he came to the United States, settling in Paterson, New Jersey. John Philip Holland was a self-taught genius. The great grandchildren of his invention still stalk the depths to this very day. Unfortunately for Holland, his remarkable invention was exploited by U.S. corporate interests, and his personal legacy was undermined and forgotten… until now. With financial support from the Irish revolutionaries (who planned to use submarines against England), Holland built the Fenian Ram, a small sub that proved a limited success. He carried on with his invention making every necessary adjustment until he had a working concept. In 1895 John P. Holland’s Torpedo Boat Company received a contract from the U.S. Navy to build a submarine. In 1898 a successful submarine, the Holland, the very first submarine, was launched. Soon John P. Holland was receiving orders for submarines from all over including England, Japan and Russia. Inspired by the story of the Monitor and the Merrimack from the American Civil War, Holland did much of his breakthrough design of his submarine while recuperating from a broken leg. His first submarine was launched in 1897 after construction in Quincy, Massachusetts. Holland died in Newark, NJ in 1914, not living long enough to see the momentous change he alone brought to naval warfare later in the 20th century. The film goes deep into the archives of history to piece together John Philip Holland’s story of his remarkable invention, which literally changed the course of history. This is an astonishing story of perhaps the most significant inventor you have never heard of.
Airs 5/14 at 8 p.m. (repeats 5/18 at 5 p.m.)