Tin Fish Is One-Man Submarine (Dec, 1938)

Tin Fish Is One-Man Submarine


SHAPED like a fish, a one-man, homemade submarine built by Barney Connett, of Chicago, Ill., is believed to be one of the world’s smallest underwater boats. Shorter than the average canoe, the craft measures twenty-three inches at its widest point and is thirty-seven inches high. Painted gills and eyes heighten the fishy look of the ship, which has a stabilizing tail fin surrounding its propeller. Fitted with conventional submarine equipment, including blowers, oxygen-supply apparatus, air pumps, and a respirator, the tiny submarine is powered by two sets of electric storage batteries. Connett has made over 300 trips in his queer craft, diving to depths of over thirty feet and navigating under water for as long as fourteen miles at a stretch. Normally, the boat runs about three feet below the surface as its one-man crew navigates by means of a four-foot telescoping periscope that sticks up out of the water.

  1. dich says: May 2, 20085:45 pm

    One other tidbit


  2. KHarn says: May 3, 20087:58 am

    Q-Branch is SOOOO jealous!

  3. Noel says: May 26, 20087:59 pm

    This was my great uncle’s craft and yes, he did navigate this across Lake Michigan from Chicago to Michigan. He also traveled with Ripley’s Believe it or Not. If anyone has other info on him I would appreciate anything . Thanks

  4. Cole says: July 19, 20081:53 am

    Very cool!

  5. Cory says: January 5, 200910:08 pm

    Barney was also my great uncle and I would love to know how you are related Noel.

  6. Debbie ( Smith) Dillon says: March 18, 200910:03 am

    Barney is my Grandmother’s brother ad I think this is so interesting..I love learning things about my ancestors I had no idea about…I see my cousin Noel has also seen this…HI Noel!! Debbie

  7. Debbie ( Smith) Dillon says: March 18, 200912:37 pm

    Patti Smith Siciliano also wants to add a “hello” to her cousins who posted comments

  8. Cory (Connett) Moss says: March 18, 20099:34 pm

    Debbie, your Grandmother would be Gladys or Ruth? Patti, how are you related? Noel, how are you related? I would love to be able to contact all of you. Is there any other way than put an email address in this message? Barney was my great-uncle, his brother Leo was my Grandfather. I don’t have any information on the sisters. I’m sure we each have information that the others would be interested in. I found a copy of this Popular Science magazine on ebay. Also found a website with old newsreel clips and there is one of Barney from 1940something (can’t find my notes) but it was rather pricey $250. Sure would be neat to see it.

  9. dENISE PRAITHER says: March 19, 20098:41 am


  10. Debbie ( Smith) Dillon says: March 19, 20099:49 am

    This message is for Cory..I am the grand daughter of Ruth and I have no idea how we could exchange stories either.. although it would be so interesting to do so. If you figure out a way…let me know. Denise, Patti and Noel are all my cousins..we are all from the same silly family tree! HA! My father was Ruth’s son. Patti and Denise are sisters and are daughters of another of Ruth’s sons and Noel is the son of yet another of Ruth’s sons….our family tree is a BIG tree! Hope to hear from you with a way we could chat…Debbie

  11. Denise Praither says: March 19, 20095:26 pm

    Cory it would be great to chat with you I am Denise Ruth Connetts granddaughter her son Gerald Smith is my father. Denise

  12. Cory (Connett) Moss says: March 19, 200911:08 pm

    Well cuzins this is so very exciting! I don’t want to jeopardize my regular email account by listing it here so I’m going to figure out how to create an alternate email address which I will post here so you can contact me and then I’ll share my regular email address with you directly and we can start “comparing notes” 🙂

  13. dENISE PRAITHER says: March 20, 200910:48 am

    Cory that would be great. This is very exciting for all of us. Looking forward to it. Denise

  14. Cory (Connett) Moss says: March 22, 20098:47 pm

    If you’re related to Barney Connett please contact me at [email protected]

  15. Noel says: March 23, 20091:30 am

    Well hello to all my wonderful cousins, In posting this last year I had no idea that this would reach all of you!! Sorry it took so long to reply but so happy that one message had such a response! Cory, it is nice to hear from you as well, thanks for posting this awesome photo. Here is an article that I found detailing the voyage across Lake Michigan under the “Rub a dub dub” section. http://www.greatlakes.o…
    Patty, Debbie, Denise, great to hear from you, I have a picture of Uncle Barney in his military uniform if you are interested. I would love to communicate with all of you, my email is [email protected]. Hope to hear from you soon! Noel

  16. Debbie ( Smith) Dillon says: March 23, 20097:39 am

    This is message for is Noel…I tried to write you a letter and send it to the e-mail address you have listed but it was sent back to me and said that I would have to be ” allowed” in by you…so the ball is in your court ..Debbie

  17. victoria smith lascalea says: April 26, 20094:39 pm

    hey guys its your cousin vicci geralds daughter and ruth connetts grandaughter nice to here about some of or other relatives

  18. Steve says: May 11, 20099:00 am

    This is what made america great. I am so glad he was successful with his sub.

  19. Alaina says: May 29, 20098:37 pm

    I’m Barney’s great-granddaughter. His only child, Mariel, is my grandmother. We’re trying to gather any information about him that we can, so if anyone has any more great info, let us know! We live in New Lenox, Il. Where are you all from?

  20. Firebrand38 says: May 29, 20098:44 pm

    I gotta hand it to you Charlie, if you aren’t bringing wife swappers together you’re keeping the Connett Family in touch. This Interweb thing just might catch on.

  21. Cory (Connett) Moss says: May 29, 200911:32 pm


    I would love to share info with you. Contact me at my home email [email protected] My grandfather Leo Wesley Connett was your great-grandpa Barney’s brother. I’ve also recently made contact with John who is the son of Barney’s sister Ruth. It’s been quite a few years ago that I spoke with Mariel on the phone. I live in Nebraska and look forward to hearing from you. Cory

  22. Cory (Connett) Moss says: May 30, 20099:49 pm

    Alaina, I mistyped my email address. It is [email protected]

  23. ALSON says: December 14, 200910:55 pm

    Don’t post your email in public ever again! You can create disposable email addresses on the fly. See http://www.spamgourmet…..

  24. Bob Moore says: January 29, 20104:03 pm

    As a Sea Scout I was one of the crew that took Barney and sub to Michigan City and escorted him back to Chicago. It’s quite a story if anyone is interested. We went over on the schooner Idler and accompanied him on the return while he was in the water.

  25. ray morey says: February 4, 201011:52 pm

    Hi folks, I am interested in Barny’s “Tin Fish” design. can any one give me more info please.I live in Australia and not far from where the WW2 “Z” force trained with their one-man submarines called “Sleeping Beautys” (British built) I would like also to be put in contact with Cory Moss

  26. Toronto says: February 5, 201012:46 am

    Bob Moore: I’d love to hear the story. Did you crew the schooner?

  27. Cory Moss says: February 6, 201011:46 pm

    I’m Barney’s great-niece and happy to share pictures and what information I know.

  28. ray morey says: February 7, 201011:38 pm

    Hello Cory, thanks for the reply. I have another addy–riverat10 at gmail dot com– if you would like to contact me on that please. regards Ray.Just fancy, a generation and half a world away.

  29. john seibell says: March 5, 20107:28 pm

    Hello Cory, Family, I am Ruth Connetts son John. I have a lot of pictures and info on the sub. I also have the original motor that powered it. Bob moore, I would love to here your story. You can reach me @ [email protected]

  30. Rob Vidler says: April 11, 20106:30 pm

    I am reading the comments I am the Grandson of Ruth Connett. She only has one son Named Johnny Siebel. Ruth also had daughters named Murial, Roberta, Eleze, Virginia & Jannet. I would love any info on my Uncles Sub. My Email is [email protected]

  31. Rob Vidler says: April 11, 20106:55 pm


    I am confused. My Grandmother Ruth Connet always told me that Mariel was her daughter and my Aunt Gladys raised her. I did not know my Uncle Barney had any kids. I would love to chat with everyone and get our family tree in order.

  32. Denise Heller Orcutt says: June 25, 20109:35 am

    Hi everyone! Great Uncle Barney’s submarie venture is quite unique and exciting! I believe this family has a lot in common. I am the granddaughter of Ruth Connett. Roberta (Bobbie) is my mother, one of her daughters. I can remember visting my great uncles’ in Palm Valley as a child. Currently I live in Virgina and I’m a teacher of gifted kids K-5…love what I do! Most of my family is in Jacksonville. We have a lot of info and pictures posted under Ruth Connett at ancestry.com. There is a wedding picture of my grandmother and grandfather (Clive Hampton Taylor). My brother Robby thinks Uncle Barney is seated to the right of her. It looks like Aunt Gladys to the left. If anyone has more info on the above mentioned names I can be reached at [email protected]. Hope to hear from family soon! Take care and God bless!!! ~Denise

  33. Tiko Luster says: September 3, 20108:06 pm

    Hello, I saw both articles about Barney Connett “Tin Fish” at Popular Science and Time magazine from 1938. I was wondering if Barney had create designs and/or plans of the Tin Fish. I’m a local guy here along the Chicago’s coastline. Here is my email: [email protected]

  34. Mary Houghton says: May 6, 20118:45 pm

    Hello ~ I was delighted to find this article while doing a Google search for “Barney one man-submarine.” My father, James Houghton, and Barney were good friends. My father on more than one occasion fondly recalled having helped Barney build this unique “fish” submarine. Thanks to whoever posted the article! If anyone remembers my father, please email me at [email protected]. Thanks, and many blessings to Barney’s family! (My father told me years ago that Barney joined the Navy and was killed in WWII.)

  35. John says: May 6, 20119:12 pm

    Charlie posts all of the articles.

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