Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Aether Salon: Submersibles

The Aether Salon met last Sunday for a two-headed presentation on Submersibles. Rather than being held in its usual location in the New Babbage Palisades, the Salon moved to the Auditorium on Artificial Isle.

As always, the Salon drew a large and appreciative crowd. Miss Trafalgar and Miss Puchkina did their excellent job of hostessing the event.

Mr. Kiergarten and Commodore O'Toole sit in front of a cutaway model of the USS Huntley

The presentation was divided into two parts. First, Mr. Jasper Kiergarten spoke of building his replica of the U.S. Civil War-era Huntley, which entailed the development of both a working ship and then a more detailed cutaway model to show the inner workings of the vessel.

Mr. Kiergarten expounds.

The Huntley's inner workings are exposed.

In the second part of the discussion, Commodore Hotspur O'Toole lectured on the development of the submersible, from the 15th-century through the U.S. Civil War.

The Commodore waits to speak.

I listen raptly.

During his presentation, Commodore O'Toole moved from the couch to a display board that, nearly magically, changed its image to suit the presentation. He used the board to show diagrams of early submersibles, dubbing the timeline "A History of Failure."

The Commodore (second from right) at his lecture board.

Although I had to leave shortly before the end, I found both gentlemen to be enormously informative and entertaining. My admiration increased for these brave men - and men they were; though Mr. O'Toole did not say this, one got the impression that no women were so foolhardy as to risk their lives in these deathtraps - who advanced the cause of naval warfare, even at the cost of their lives.

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