Nautilus (Verne)

Nautilus (Verne)
The Nautilus under way.
The Nautilus, as pictured in The Mysterious Island.

The Nautilus is the fictional submarine featured in Jules Verne's novels Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870) and The Mysterious Island (1874). Verne named the Nautilus after Robert Fulton's real-life submarine Nautilus (1800)[citation needed]. Three years before writing his novel, Jules Verne also studied a model of the newly developed French Navy submarine Plongeur at the 1867 Exposition Universelle, which inspired him for his definition of the Nautilus.[1]



The Nautilus is described by Verne as "a masterpiece containing masterpieces." It is designed and commanded by Captain Nemo. Electricity provided by sodium/mercury batteries (with the sodium provided by extraction from seawater) is the craft's primary power source for propulsion and other services.

The Nautilus is double hulled, and is further separated into water-tight compartments. Its top speed is 50 knots. Its displacement is 1,356.48 French freight tons immerged (1,507 submerged). In Captain Nemo's own words:

Here, M. Aronnax, are the several dimensions of the boat you are in. It is an elongated cylinder with conical ends. It is very like a cigar in shape, a shape already adopted in London in several constructions of the same sort. The length of this cylinder, from stem to stern, is exactly 70 meters, and its maximum breadth is eight meters. It is not built on a ratio of ten to one like your long-voyage steamers, but its lines are sufficiently long, and its curves prolonged enough, to allow the water to slide off easily, and oppose no obstacle to its passage. These two dimensions enable you to obtain by a simple calculation the surface and cubic contents of the Nautilus. Its area measures 1011.45 square meters; and its contents 1,500.2 cubic meters; that is to say, when completely immersed it displaces 1500.2 cubic meters of water, or 1500.2 metric tons.

The 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 the 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.

The Nautilus supports a crew that gathers and farms food from the sea. The Nautilus includes a galley for preparing these foods, which includes a machine that makes drinking water from seawater through distillation. The Nautilus isn't able to refresh its air supply, so Captain Nemo designed to do it by surfacing and exchanging stale air for fresh, much like a whale. The Nautilus is capable of extended voyages without refueling or otherwise restocking supplies. Its maximum dive time is around five days.

Much of the ship is decorated to standards of luxury that are unequaled 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. The 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 the Abraham Lincoln is attacked and Ned Land strikes the metallic surface of the Nautilus with his harpoon.

Its parts are built to order in France, the United Kingdom, Prussia, Sweden, the United States and elsewhere. Then they are assembled by Nemo's men on a desert island. The Nautilus most likely returned to this island and later helped castaways in the novel "Mysterious Island". After Nemo dies on board, the volcanic island erupts, entombing the Captain and the Nautilus for eternity.


The Nautilus from the 1954 film.

Beside her original appearance in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and The Mysterious Island, the Nautilus also appears in numerous other works, including:

  • In the 1954 film, it is suggested that the Nautilus is powered by nuclear energy. This version also appears in the video game Epic Mickey, under the name of Notilus.
  • The comic book The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and its film adaptation feature a much larger version of the Nautilus; The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier states that it is a second, larger submarine built after the destruction of the first one from Verne's novels. This version features a design evoking a squid attacking a whale; the squid section, which has functional tentacles, can be detached as shown in the cross-section from Black Dossier. The version in the film adaptation has a more straightforward appearance of a long, thin silver submarine, equipped with a sharpened front end and missile launchers, narrow enough to comfortably travel through the canals of Venice.
  • The Nautilus can also be seen at Disneyland Paris and Tokyo Disneysea, the one in Paris being a walk-through, while the Disneysea version is a static prop in a lagoon that can't be accessed by the public.
  • In Kevin J. Anderson's Captain Nemo: The Fantastic History of a Dark Genius, the Nautilus appears as a real submarine, apparently cigar-shaped like the one from the novel, built by Nemo for the Ottoman Empire.
  • Warren Ellis's Planetary series, Elijah Snow hides himself aboard the Nautilus, which has been captured by villains The Four.
  • In the book Here, There Be Dragons by James A. Owen. Nemo and the Nautilus, which is also called the Yellow Dragon, both appear in the book.
  • In MapleStory, Nautilus is a submarine that looks like a whale with a skull attached to the front. In other words, it is also the town of pirates.
  • In Valhalla Rising, by Clive Cussler, Nemo and the Nautilus are discovered by a researcher and stored in a hidden cave as his private research lab.
  • In Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, an early 1990s Japanese anime television series based on Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and set in 1889, there is a submarine called the Nautilus, which is also captained by a Captain Nemo. In the series it is said to be approximately 150 metres in length and is filled with scientific marvels, including a particle annihilator as its power source. It is hinted that the Nautilus of this series is quite possibly actually 12,000 years old and was originally built by the Atlanteans.


Jules Verne's text in 20,000 Leagues under the Sea provides a great deal of information about the Nautilus as discussed on this page: Jules Verne's Nautilus. Many artists and ordinary folk have envisioned over the decades their own intrepretations of the Nautilus: A Catalog of Nautilus Designs

Other Verne submarines

Besides the Nautilus, other submarines do feature in Jules Verne novels. In the 1896 novel Facing the Flag the pirate Ker Karraje uses an unnamed submarine that acts both as a tug to his schooner The 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, which is called the Terror, is a strange flying machine that has a submarine mode, as well as an automobile and speedboat mode. It briefly eludes naval forces on the Great Lakes by diving.



  1. ^ Notice at the Musée de la Marine, Rochefort

See also

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Nautilus (Jules Verne) — 67° 48′ 00″ N 12° 50′ 00″ E / 67.8, 12.8333 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Nautilus (disambiguation) — Contents 1 Computing 2 Ships and submarines 3 Other 4 See …   Wikipedia

  • Nautilus (U-Boot) — Nautilus Nachbau der Nautilus p1 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Nautilus — es: ● el nombre vulgar de las Nautilidae, una familia de cefalópodos dotados de concha externa; ● el nombre científico de Nautilus, uno de los dos géneros que la componen; ● en honor a estos, el nombre del submarino Nautilus, la ficticia… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Nautilus (desambiguación) — Nautilus puede designar: a la familia Nautilidae, donde se engloban los cefalópodos con concha modernos; al género Nautilus, dentro de la familia Nautilidae; en honor a estos, al Nautilus, la ficticia embarcación del capitán Nemo, un personaje… …   Wikipedia Español

  • VERNE (J.) — Traduit dans le monde entier et popularisé par le cinéma, la télévision et le livre de poche, Jules Verne reste un des écrivains les moins connus de la littérature française. Il s’est en effet imposé dans deux secteurs traditionnellement… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Nautilus (secure telephone) — Nautilus is a program which allows two parties to securely communicate using modems or TCP/IP. It runs from a command line and is available for the Linux and Windows operating systems. The name was based upon Jules Verne s Nautilus and its… …   Wikipedia

  • Nautilus Head — (67°38′S 67°7′W / 67.633°S 67.117°W / 67.633; 67.117) is a prominent headland rising to 975 m near the northeast extremity of Pourquoi Pas Island, off the west coast of …   Wikipedia

  • Nautilus (Jules Verne) — Unterseetauchboot Nautilus Schiffsdaten Bauwerft: einsame Insel im Pazifischen Ozean Besatzung: unklar, möglicherweise 20 Mann Stamm; bis zu 5 Gäste Baukosten: 5.000.000 alte französische Francs Technische Daten Wasserverdrängung: 1.506 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Nautilus (Julio Verne) — Este artículo o sección necesita referencias que aparezcan en una publicación acreditada, como revistas especializadas, monografías, prensa diaria o páginas de Internet fidedignas. Puedes añadirlas así o avisar …   Wikipedia Español

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”