Saturday, March 27
At: Paterson, New Jersey
Length: 31 feet
Beam: 6 feet
Displacement: 19 tons
Crew: 3 men
Present Location: Paterson Museum
2 Market Street
Fenian Ram is the second experimental submarine built by Irish-born inventor and educator John P. Holland. It was financed by the Fenian Brotherhood, an Irish revolutionary movement in the United States that sought Ireland's independence from British rule.
Two years of experimentation that began with a dockside submergence test in June 1881. By mid-1883, he was conducting regular experimental trials as far south as the Narrows of New York Harbor and along the Brooklyn shore, achieving a surface speed of nine knots and submerging as deep as 50 feet. Holland also staged several successful demonstrations of the pneumatic gun, projecting a dummy warhead both underwater and through the air to distances of several hundred yards. In parallel, he continued tinkering with his design, incrementally improving maneuverability, speed, and range. It led Holland to perfect four other experimental craft that eventually resulted in his Holland submarine of 1898, which was adopted by the U.S. Navy and commissioned as SS-1.
Fenian Ram was placed in Paterson's West Side Park in 1928 as a monument to the inventor. In 1980, it was moved inside the Paterson Museum where today it serves as a reminder of the ingenuity of the "father of the modern submarine."
Photo of Fenian Ram submarine on shore, 1920's"