Biography of Narcis Monturiol i Estarriol (1819-1885)

Famous Spanish inventor, born in Figueras (Gerona) on September 29, 1819 and died in San Martín de Provensals (today within the city centre of Barcelona) on September 6, 1885, was the Builder of the Ictineo, self-propelled underwater ship.

He was born into a family of craftsmen who had to make great efforts to provide you with a university education. He/She studied law at the universities of Cervera, Barcelona and Madrid, but never practiced his career; on the contrary, he/she felt a growing fondness for physical and natural sciences. Adept to the Communist doctrines of Esteban Cabet, founded the weekly parent next to some fellow; the newspaper was the subject of numerous fines and Monturiol was pursued. He/She directed also the Mentor and fraternity, to end up exiled in France for a few years. Social concerns led him to publish, in 1844, titled works an inmate's death, the executions and the spectators and advice of a father to his son, where it leaves to betray their Socialist ideas. Established later in Cadaqués, there conceived the idea (1855) of underwater navigation, initially as a means of help to the risky operation of the collection of coral. From the initial conception and measurement that was maturing the idea, Monturiol, which apparently was unaware of the previous initiatives in this field, was to expand the scope of applications expected for his invention. In this way, it raised that man knows only one-third of the Earth's crust, has no response on scientific problems posed by the large pressures of the depths, sea currents, underwater plants feed and many other varied issues; and that unknown the undoubted wealth of seabed minerals, beads, etc. over time and with the desire to be of interest to the authorities he/she wrote about the possibilities of the submarine as a weapon of war. With a modest initial capital provided by friends, was the construction of the first prototype of the "Ictineo". This was launched in 1859 and carried out in Barcelona experiences and shows during that year and the next; as a prototype, had the ship constraints, including the need for human-powered navigation immersion. The authorities welcomed the invention with indifference and had to mediate a favourable report from the Commission of Sciences, physical and of the natural's Ateneo Barcelonés, presided over by José de Letamendi, until the Minister of the Navy decided to see the evidence. In 1861 took place in Alicante and woke up more popular than the official echo, so that even a national subscription in support of Monturiol was opened. The Government became promising materials and workers, but before his delay there was formed a private company, which came to build a second "Ictineo", notably improved. However, the constant need of new investments and the uncertainty of a commercial return, gave to the fret with society and finally the company constructora de wit was it; It was subsequently scrapped. In desperation, Monturiol wrote his essay on art to navigate under water, so that their experiences were not lost, but found no official support for editing. It was published six years after his death, together with a study by Juan Mañé and Flaquer and an introduction by engineer Juan Pascual and Deop, son-in-law of the inventor. In the work, divided into three parts, the underwater navigation and their main problems is considered and a thorough description of the "Ictineo". Obviously, the invention of Monturiol had not resolved but some problems of underwater navigation and must be inserted in the series of attempts initiated at the end of the 18th century and, above all, in which simultaneously took place in the middle of the 19th century, without reaching one full success none of them. Putting aside the large similarities between many of those prototypes, you should perhaps point out as maximum originality of the second "Ictineo" use, to operate the steam engine in immersion of a solid fuel consisting of a mixture of metal oxides and metals in powder, using zinc powder as bait.



Report on the underwater navigation. Barcelona: Narciso Ramírez, 1860. Essay on the art of navigating underwater. Barcelona: Henrich, 1891. (Reissue of S. Riera, with introduction of J. Senent-Josa, Barcelona, high Fulla, 1982.)PALAU DULCET, A. Manual Hispanic bookseller. 28 vols. Barcelona-Madrid; J.M. Viader, 1948-1977.


ESTRANY, Jerome: Narciso Monturiol and underwater navigation. Barcelona: G. Gili, 1915. CASTILLO, a., M. Riu: Narciso Monturiol. Barcelona: 1963.PERMAY RIU, José: C anniversary of the submarine Ictineo, San Jorge (Barcelona), 35 (1959), 16-232.RODEJA GALTER, Eduardo: "on the centenary of the underwater navigation system", Revista de Girona, 5 (1959), 9-13. Universal illustrated encyclopedia, vol. XXXVI, pp. 815-817.

Eugenio PORTELA framework