Department of Chemistry


Date of this Version



NACE International, Vol. 49, No. 10


The Sub Marine Explorer was designed and built by Julius H. Kroehl, who was born in Prussia in 1820. After migrating to the United States in 1838 and becoming a citizen, he served in the Union Navy (United States Navy during the Civil War) as an underwater demolitions expert. He left the Navy in 1863 and began designing a “sub-marine” that would facilitate Union forces’ mine removal and obstruction clearance. At the end of the Civil War, he became an engineer for the Pacific Pearl Co., an organization interested in using the craft to recover pearls from deep sea oyster beds in the Bay of Panama. Decompression sickness (the bends), unknown at the time, began to affect the crew in 1869, which led to the abandonment of Explorer in the tidal zone of St. Elmo’s Island (Isla San Telmo) in the Archipielago de las Perlas, Panama.