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Rare 19th Century Torpedo Discovered By Navy Dolphins

Posted 5/21/2013 6:00 am by
An elegant all-brass torpedo is like real-life steampunk.

An elegant all-brass torpedo is like real-life steampunk.

While on a training mission outside San Diego, California, two Navy dolphins made a very unusual discovery on the ocean floor.  No, it’s not a cache of pirate treasure, it’s something even more rare and valuable than a big box of gold doubloons.  One of the first underwater weapons crafted for the military has been found.  An incredibly rare brass torpedo was discovered by Navy dolphins off the coast of San Diego.

The 11-foot-long brass torpedo was one of only 50 built between 1870 and 1889 by Howell.  It was one of the first torpedoes developed that could follow a track and not leave a visible wake.  Amazingly, only one other Howell torpedo has ever been discovered, and it’s the one pictured above from the Naval Undersea Museum in Keyport, Washington.  That makes the discovery of a second torpedo a pretty awesome artifact to pull from the ocean floor.

“Considering it was made before electricity was provided to U.S. households, it was pretty sophisticated for its time,” Christian Harris, operations supervisor for the biosciences division at the Systems Center Pacific.

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