On the 125th Anniversary of the launching of the Peral submarine, a stamp was put into circulation by the Spanish post. The stamp reproduces the portrait of Isaac Peral, inventor of the submarine that appears beside him.
Isaac Peral y Caballero (Cartagena, 1851 – Berlin, 1895) was a renowned scientist, soldier, and sailor of the Spanish Armada who invented the first electric propulsion submarine. Following family tradition, he joined the Armada very young, where he received technical training. In 1882, after serving in the marines for 20 years, he was named professor of mathematical physics in the Armada's Academy for Further Study.
Two years later, he began to develop the submarine navigation project which he kept secret until 1885 when, for loyalty to Spain and for better defence of the country, he informed his superiors of it before the conflict with Germany started over the invasion of the Caroline Islands.
With the support of the Marine Minister and the approval of the project by the Technical Committee, in 1887 the construction of the submarine began in the arsenal in Carranca (Cadiz) and on the 8th of September 1888 they proceeded to launch. The vessel measured 22 meters in length and 2.87 in the beam. It boasted accumulator batteries, three dynamos, and two 30 horsepower engines which allowed the 80 tonne prototype to move under water. The submarine incorporated new elements which were later introduced into all submarines, such as the electric propulsion, the torpedo tube, the periscope, and the compensated needle.
During 1889 and 1890, Isaac Peral and the crew carried out all of the necessary trials, and they were all successful. The Spanish and foreign press praised his invention.
However, despite the results achieved, a campaign started against it and the Marine Ministry released an unfavorable report to continue testing the submarine, for which its inventor left the Corps.
Now alone, Isaac Peral continued to develop other inventions. Thus, in Madrid he set up a factory of electrical accumulators of his own invention, he directed the installation of the electric streetlights in various cities and municipalities, and he set up the first electric power plants in Spain.
The Peral submarine has been restored and is on-show to the public in the Promenade of Cartagena (Murcia), the city where he was born, and buried.