Invention The Sims-Edison Torpedo (c. 1883 - )
- c. 1883
The Sims-Edison torpedo was the invention of Mr. W. Scott Sims.
This torpedo had been patented in England in 1883 and was in use in the United States of America, however, until 1891 it had attracted little attention in both England and the Continent. In May 1891 Sims brought one of his torpedoes from America to the Continent and arranged a demonstration at Havre of how thoroughly it was under control from a shore station. Sims claimed that his torpedo had: (1) An effective range of two miles at 20 knots; (2) instant control from a distance by electricity for starting, stopping, steering, and exploding; (3) invulnerability to the shot or shell of the enemy, all but the float being under water; (4) absolute trustworthiness in operation; (5) the power to dive under or cut through obstructions; capacity to carry a charge of 500 lb. or more of the highest explosive, sufficient to disable, if not destroy, the largest warship, even if exploded 30ft. distant, which was about the limit of netting defence.
The torpedo consisted of two parts. The upper was merely a float from which was suspended the torpedo; this contained the explosive, the controlling cable, a 40 horse-power motor working the 30-inch screw, and a polarised relay that worked the steering apparatus.
However, one of the main objections to the use of controlled torpedoes such as the Sims-Edison and Brennan torpedoes in naval warfare was the presence of trailing wire or wires that could interfere with the freedom of movement of the controlling vessel.
- Gray, Edwyn, Nineteenth Century Torpedoes and Their Inventors, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland, 2004. Details
- Eardley-Wilmot, S M, 'Torpedo', in The Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11 edn, vol. 27, The Encyclopaedia Britannica Company, New York, 1911, pp. 53-58. Details
- 'The Sims-Edison Torpedo', Engineering, vol. 51, 1 May 1891, p. 536. Details
- 'The Sims-Edison Electrical Torpedo', The Engineer, vol. 72, 18 December 1891, p. 519. Details
- 'The Sims-Edisson Electrical Torpedo', The Engineer, vol. 73, 19 February 1892, p. 150. Details
- 'The Sims-Edison Electrical Torpedo', The Engineer, vol. 73, 12 February 1892, pp. 123-124. Details
- 'The Sims-Edison Electrical Torpedo', The Engineer, vol. 73, 29 January 1892, p. 91. Details
- 'Controlled Torpedoes', The Engineer, vol. 73, 15 April 1892, pp. 323-324. Details
- Sims, W. S., Torpedo-boat propelled and steered by electricity, United States Patent Office, 9 June 1885. Details
- Sims, W. S., Electrically propelled and steered torpedo, United States Patent Office, 21 April 1891. Details
- 'The Gun or the Torpedo', The New York Times, 27 September 1890, p. 9. Details
- 'A Speedy Torpedo Boat', The New York Times, 16 June 1890, p. 8. Details
- 'A Mighty Engine of War', The New York Times, 3 May 1890, p. 5. Details
- 'Interesting Torpedo Trial', The New York Times, 12 August 1891, p. 8. Details
Sources used to compile this entry: Eardley-Wilmot, S M, 'Torpedo', in The Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11 edn, vol. 27, The Encyclopaedia Britannica Company, New York, 1911, pp. 53-58; Gray, Edwyn, Nineteenth Century Torpedoes and Their Inventors, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland, 2004.
Prepared by: Rebecca Rigby