Glossary Term The Spar Torpedo (c. 1861 - )
- c. 1861
The spar was an early category of torpedo developed and used with success during the American Civil War (1861-1865). Its invention is sometimes credited to American engineer E.C. Singer.
Spar torpedoes were suspended from a pole around 10 feet long at the bow of the vessel. The explosive unit was attached by a steel line to a trigger mechanism. The attacking vessel would ram its target and lodge the torpedo, in the hull of the boat. On retreating to the extent of the steel line's length, the trigger would detonate the torpedo. The apparatus was often fitted to existing steam launches or other vessels.
- Gray, Edwyn, Nineteenth Century Torpedoes and Their Inventors, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland, 2004. Details
- 'An American torpedo boat', Engineering, vol. 17, 29 May 1874, p. 400. Details
- 'On spar torpedo warfare', The Engineer, vol. 39, 7 May 1875, pp. 316-317. Details
- 'Offensive torpedo warfare', The Engineer, vol. 42, 7 July 1876, p. 11. Details
- 'French torpedo experiments', Engineering, vol. 24, 20 July 1877, p. 44 and 50. Details
- 'Russian torpedoes and Turkish iron-clads', The Engineer, vol. 43, 8 June 1877, p. 387. Details
- 'Torpedo vessel Fulminate, for the Portuguese Government', The Engineer, vol. 50, 30 July 1880, p. 82. Details
- Sleeman, C. W. S., 'Torpedoes in the late war', Engineering, vol. 26, 1878. Details
Sources used to compile this entry: Gray, Edwyn, Nineteenth Century Torpedoes and Their Inventors, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland, 2004.
Prepared by: Rebecca Rigby