Hippolyte Marié-Davy

Hippolyte Marié-Davy (1820-1893)

Edme Hippolyte Marié-Davy (28 April 1820 26 July 1893) was a French chemist and inventor of the 19th century. He was born in Clamecy, Nièvre.

In 1854, he invented the first naval periscope, consisting in a vertical tube with two small mirrors fixed at each end at 45°.[1][2][3][4] He also invented a mercury bisulfate battery that bears his name, "the Marie-Davy".[5]

In 1854, Marié-Davy invented an electromagnetic motor.[6][7] Based on it, he proposed a submarine with an electrically driven propeller.[8] McClintock and Watson once planned to use the device on the Hunley.[9] The engine was said to have the power of "a one-horse steam engine".[10]

In the 1860s, he was Deputy Director of the Paris Observatory, in charge of meteorology.[11] He devoted himself to the study of local thunderstorms, following the destructive storm of 14 November 1854, in the Crimean War.


  1. "In 1854 the inventor, Marie Davy, designed a sight tube for the submersible. Consisting of two small mirrors fixed at either end of a vertical tube at 45°" in United States Submarine Operations in World War II by Theodore Roscoe p.55
  2. "Essentially a tube holding two mirrors set at an angle of 45 degrees and facing in opposite directions, it was developed by EH Marie-Davy in 1854." in The Encyclopedia of Nineteenth-century Land Warfare: An Illustrated World View2001 by Byron Farwell p.642
  3. The Submarine Torpedo Boat, Its Characteristics and Modern Development by Allen Hoar p.93
  4. "The optical tube was invented by Marie Davy in 1854, and, as mentioned above, it was introduced in submarines already in the eighties." in Modern History of Warships page 316 by William Hovgaard 1920
  5. "The sulphate of mercury battery, subsequently known as the Marie-Davy" in Nature: International Journal of Science - Page 62 by Norman Lockyer 1882
  6. Manual of Electricity by Henry Minchin Noad, p. 677
  7. American Journal of Science edited by Benjamin Silliman, p.386
  8. "The plans for the Marie-Davy in 1854 called for an electrically driven propeller and auger" in Serpent of the Seas: The Submarine - Page 184, 1942 by Harley Francis Cope
  9. Steel Boats, Iron Men by Naval Submarine League p.34
  10. The American Journal of Science and Arts, p.391
  11. Storm Watchers By John Cox p.90

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