From Pleasantville New Jersey, Simon Lake was an inventor at a young age, having invented a windlass for use as an oyster dredge. When the U.S. Navy announced a submarine design competition, he decided to enter. His submarine designs were designed around use for marine salvage, and included wheels to crawl the ocean floor, a conning tower, a periscope, an escape hatch, and compressed air to drive the screw propeller and wheels underwater. When surfaced, the submarine would operate using a steam engine. Lakes submarine would not move forward when rising or sinking in the water. A Lake submarine prototype was built and used to salvage wrecks in Chesapeake Bay, then was taken on an open ocean trial. When the sub was hit by a storm on the open ocean, it submerged and sat on the bottom till the storm passed. Lake used his submarines to salvage wrecks along the Long Island coast.
More information about Simon Lake is at The Submarine Heritage of Simon Lake, by Edward G. Whitman. Lake was a contemporary of Joseph Holland, and in competition with Holland for Navy contracts. A collection of watercraft technology is in the Watercraft Category of this blog.