Out of the Depths: The Submarine Telescope

Stephen R. Wilk

In the 1840s, Sarah P. Mather invented an impressive and unusual optical device that could be used to see underwater.

Period photo of Barnum museum

Barnum’s American Museum in New York City. [W. Jeffrey / Wikimedia Commons]

In early November 1842, something new was added to Phineas Taylor Barnum’s American Museum in New York City. The museum had opened on New Year’s Day with an array of novel stuffed animals, dioramas, performers and scientific instruments. The new addition fit into this last category. It was a tank of water four and a half feet deep, with a peculiar brass construction inside.

Log in or become a member to view the full text of this article.

This article may be available for purchase via the search at Optica Publishing Group.
Optica Members get the full text of Optics & Photonics News, plus a variety of other member benefits.

Add a Comment