Nautilus (fictional submarine)

Nautilus is the fictional submarine captained by Nemo featured in Jules Verne's novels Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and The Mysterious Island. Verne named the Nautilus after Robert Fulton's real-life submarine Nautilus. For the design of the Nautilus Verne was inspired by the French Navy submarine Plongeur, a model of which he had seen at the 1867 Exposition Universelle, three years before writing his novel.


Nautilus is described by Verne as "a masterpiece containing masterpieces". It is designed and commanded by Captain Nemo. Electricity provided by sodium/mercury batteries is the craft's primary power source for propulsion and other services.
Nautilus is double-hulled, and is further separated into water-tight compartments. Its top speed is. Its displacement is submerged. In Captain Nemo's own words:
Nautilus uses floodable tanks in order to adjust buoyancy and so control its depth. The pumps that evacuate these tanks of water are so powerful that they produce large jets of water when the vessel emerges rapidly from the surface of the water. This leads many early observers of Nautilus to believe that the vessel is some species of whale, or perhaps a sea monster not yet known to science. To submerge deeply in a short time, Nautilus uses a technique called "hydroplaning", in which the vessel dives down at a steep angle.
Nautilus supports a crew that gathers and farms food from the sea. Nautilus includes a galley for preparing these foods, which includes a machine that makes drinking water from seawater through distillation. Nautilus is not able to refresh its air supply, so Captain Nemo designed it to do this by surfacing and exchanging stale air for fresh, much like a whale. Nautilus is capable of extended voyages without refuelling or otherwise restocking supplies. Its maximum dive time is around five days.
Much of the ship is decorated to standards of luxury that are unequalled in a seagoing vessel of the time. These include a library with boxed collections of valuable oceanic specimens that are unknown to science at the time, expensive paintings, and several collections of jewels. Nautilus also features a lavish dining room and even an organ that Captain Nemo uses to entertain himself in the evening. By comparison, Nemo's personal quarters are very sparsely furnished, but do feature duplicates of the bridge instruments, so that the captain can keep track of the vessel without being present on the bridge. These amenities however, are only available to Nemo, Professor Aronnax, and his companions.
From her attacks on ships, using a ramming prow to puncture target vessels below the waterline, the world thinks it a sea monster, but later identifies it as an underwater vessel capable of great destructive power, after Abraham Lincoln is attacked and Ned Land strikes the metallic surface of Nautilus with his harpoon.
Its parts are built to order in France, the United Kingdom, Krupp of Prussia, Sweden, the United States, and elsewhere. Then they are assembled by Nemo's men on a desert island. Nautilus most likely returned to this island and later helped castaways in the novel The Mysterious Island. After Nemo dies on board, the volcanic island erupts, entombing the Captain and Nautilus for eternity.


Beside her original appearance in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and The Mysterious Island, Nautilus and Captain Nemo have appeared in numerous other works.
Submarines feature in some other of Verne's works. In the 1896 novel Facing the Flag, the pirate Ker Karraje uses an unnamed submarine that acts both as a tug to his schooner Ebba and for ramming and destroying ships which are the targets of his piracy. The same book also features HMS Sword, a small Royal Navy experimental submarine which is sunk after a valiant but unequal struggle with the pirate submarine. In the book The Master of the World, Robur's secondary vehicle, Terror, is a strange flying machine with submarine, automobile and speedboat capabilities. It briefly eludes naval forces on the Great Lakes by diving.