Biographical entry Lake, Simon (1866 - 1945)

4 September 1866
Pleasantville, New Jersey, United States of America
23 June 1945
Milford, Connecticut, United States of America
Marine engineer and Naval architect


Simon Lake was an American engineer who designed submarines and their components and held over 200 patents in the field.

In response to a call for submissions by the U.S. Navy, he designed his first submarine, Argonaut Jnr. in 1894. Neither this model nor his following model Protector (1901) were purchased by the Navy, the commission instead being granted to John P. Holland's design.

In 1904, Lake sold Protector to the Russian Imperial Navy. Between 1904 and 1914 Lake designed submarines for the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

In 1912 he established the Lake Torpedo Boat Company in New Jersey which produced 24 submarines for the United States Navy during World War I. The Company's submarine USS G-1 (SS-19½) achieved a depth record in 1912, reaching 78 metres.



Career event - Began working at his father's foundry and machine shop, New Jersey
Career event - Built the experimental submarine The Argonaut, Jr.
Career event - Established the Lake Submarine Company of New Jersey
Career event - Established the The Lake Torpedo Boat Company in New Jersey
1901 - 1916
Career position - President and General Manager of The Lake Torpedo Boat Company
1916 - ?
Career position - Vice-president and consulting engineer at The Lake Torpedo Boat Company

Published resources


  • Poluhowich, John J., Argonaut: The Submarine Legacy of Simon Lake, Texas A&M University Press, 1999, 181 pp. Details

Journal Articles

  • 'The Lake Submarine Boat', The Engineer, vol. 88, 6 October 1899, p. 344. Details
  • Lake, S., 'Safe Submarine Vessels and the Future of the Art', Transactions of the Institution of Naval Architects, vol. 49, 1907, pp. 37-64. Details
  • Lake, S., 'Safe submarine vessels and the future of the art', Transactions of the Institution of Naval Architects, vol. 49, 1907, pp. 37-64 and plates XII-XV. Details

Letters Patents

  • Lake, S., Torpedo-boat, United States Patent Office, 2936. Details
  • Lake, S., Navigating-turret for submergible vessels, United States Patent Office, 3461. Details

Resource Sections

Sources used to compile this entry: Simon Lake, Wikipedia, 2012. Also available at

Prepared by: Rebecca Rigby