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Giovanni Luppis

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Giovanni Ivan Biagio Luppis von Rammer 27 August 1813 – 11 January 1875, sometimes also known by the Croatian name of Vukić, was an officer of the Austro-Hungarian Navy who developed the first prototypes of the self-propelled torpedo

Contents

  • 1 Early years
  • 2 The "Salvacoste" Coastsaver
  • 3 The meeting with Robert Whitehead
  • 4 Further reading
  • 5 See also
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links

Early yearsedit

Giovanni Luppis in his early years

Giovanni Luppis or Ivan Lupis was born in the city of Rijeka then Fiume in 1813, which was at the time part of the Illyrian Provinces, but soon passed back to Austria His parents were Ferdinando Carlo, nobleman of Poreč and Vis, and Giovanna Parich Parić, Perić, noble of Republic of Dubrovnik Because of his mixed Italian-Croatian ancestry, his family was at different times also known as Vukić, a Croatianized variant of the name Lupis both meaning "wolf", and he himself is occasionally referred to as Ivan Vukić, especially by Croatians1

In the city of Rijeka, Giovanni Luppis's family has been powerful shipowners2 Lupis attended a gymnasium in Rijeka and the Collegio di marina, the Austrian naval academy in Venice Then he married a noblewoman, the Baroness Elisa de Zotti

He served in the Venezianisch-Österreichische Kriegsmarine after 1849 KuK Kriegsmarine3 and rose up the ranks to the position of Frigate Captain Fregattenkapitan In 1848/1849 he was an officer on the ships that blocked Venice4

The "Salvacoste" Coastsaveredit

About the middle in the 18th century, an officer of the Austrian Marine Artillery conceived the idea of employing a small boat carrying a large charge of explosives, powered by a steam or an air engine and remotely steered by cable to be used against enemy ships Upon his death, before he had perfected his invention or made it public, the papers of this anonymous officer came into the possession of Capt Giovanni Luppis5

Bust of the Baron Captain Giovanni Luppis von Rammer in the Family Palace in Italy

He envisioned a floating device for destroying ships that would be unmanned and controlled from land, while the explosive charges would detonate at the moment of impact His first prototype was one metre long, had glass wings, and was controlled via long ropes from the coast It didn't succeed due to primitive implementation

The second model was built with a clock mechanism as the engine for the propeller The explosives were in the stern and were ignited through a pistol-like control, which in turn was activated through the bow, the sides or the mast It had two rudders: one turned to the right, the other to the left, that were moved by ropes/wires from land After numerous experiments, this design, marked '6 m', finally performed well enough He nicknamed it 'Salvacoste', Italian for "Coastsaver"6

In 1860, after Luppis had retired from the Navy, he managed to demonstrate the '6 m' design to the emperor Franz Joseph, and it was a success, but the naval commission refused to accept it without better propulsion and control systems

The meeting with Robert Whiteheadedit

In 1864 Rijeka the future mayor Giovanni de Ciotta introduced Luppis to the British machine engineer Robert Whitehead, manager of the local factory 'Stabilimento Tecnico Fiumano', with whom he signed a contract to develop the 'salvacoste' further

Whitehead built a model but decided that the idea was not viable He did however start to think about the problem of setting off explosive charges remotely below a ship's waterline, this being far more effective than above-water bombardment Whitehead made a device running under water and installed an engine running on compressed air, as well as automatic guidances for the depth and direction

Whitehead had significantly altered the original design, but always credited Lupis with the invention

On 21 December 1866 the first automobile torpedo, now named Minenschiff, was officially demonstrated in front of the Austro-Hungarian state commission for evaluation This model was 355 mm in diameter and 335 m in length, weighing 136 kg with 8 kg of explosives The naval commission accepted it, and subsequently on 6 March 1867 the government contracted the inventors for a test production and agreed to pay all the production costs

Whitehead retained the copyrights and even negotiated a new contract with Luppis which gave Whitehead full control of all future sales

On 27 May 1867, the navy paid 200,000 forints in royalties to the inventor The invention was generally regarded as a promising one, but in the first years of production there were not enough orders, so 'Stabilimento' went through a crisis and went bankrupt in 1873 R Whitehead took it over and at the beginning of 1875 transformed it into a private company called 'Torpedo-Fabrik von Robert Whitehead'

Giovanni Luppis was given the noble title of Baron von Rammer 'the sinker' on 1 August 1869 He died in the borough frazione of Torriggia, in the municipality of Laglio, near Como on 11 January 1875

Further readingedit

  • Gray, Edwin The Devil's Device: Robert Whitehead and the History of the Torpedo, Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1991 310pp, ISBN 0-87021-245-1
  • Wilson, H W Ironclads in action;: A sketch of naval warfare from 1855 to 1895, London: Sampson Low, Marston and Company, 1895, Fourth Edition 1896 Two Volumes, pre ISBN

See alsoedit

  • Croats of Italy

Referencesedit

  1. ^ Luppis was descended from a branch of the Italian noble family of Lupis, which migrated into Dalmatia from Giovinazzo, in Apulia This branch moved first to the Republic of Dubrovnik and then to the peninsula of Pelješac in Croatia, where it Slavicized the name into Vuk, Vukić, or Vukašinovic another adaptation of lupus, meaning "wolf" When, in the 17th century, one of his ancestors moved to Rijeka, a city in Istria which at that time had a mostly Italian population, he Italianized his name back into Luppis See: Giovanni Luppis family in the Libro d'Oro della Nobiltà Italiana scanned version here; also: History of the de Lupis Family in Italian and Giovanni Luppis genealogy
  2. ^ Giovanni Luppis genealogy
  3. ^ http://wwwwebcitationorg/queryurl=http://wwwgeocitiescom/kukmarine/offizierehtml&date=2009-10-26+01:33:25
  4. ^ La Voce del Popolo Fiume, Sabato 3 marzo 2007: Storia del silurificio di Fiume e biografia di Giovanni Luppis pp6-7
  5. ^ "Origin of the Whitehead torpedo, p 6" Torpedo History - Part 1 - Historical Background Naval Undersea Museum 28 June 2010 Retrieved 30 June 2013 About the middle of the nineteenth century, an officer of the Austrian Marine Artillery conceived the idea of employing a small boat carrying a large charge of explosives, powered by a steam or an air engine and remotely steered by cables to be used against enemy ships Upon his death, before he had perfected his invention or made it public, the papers of this anonymous officer came into the possession of Capt Giovanni Luppis 
  6. ^ 1st international Conference on the occasion of 150th anniversary of torpedo factory in Rijeka and preservation of industrial heritage

External linksedit

  • Giovanni Luppis genealogy
  • Giovanni Luppis in the Libro d'Oro della Nobiltà Italiana
  • History of Rijeka torpedo factory
  • History of the Whithead Factory part one
  • Evolution of the submarine weapons in 19th century in Italian
  • History of R Whitehead site about Royal Navy
  • History of the torpedo: the early days Journal of the Royal Navy Scientific Service Vol 27 No 1
  • Torpedo History Naval Undersea Museum of US Navy
  • La Voce del Popolo Fiume, Sabato 3 marzo 2007: Storia del silurificio di Fiume e biografia di Giovanni Luppis pp 6–7

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