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Who Invented the Periscope

A periscope is a device used for covert observation, usually associated with submarines. A simple periscope is made of a tube with parallel mirrors at each end on a 45 degree angle, although modern periscopes use prisms and magnification to provide a better image. The design of this device allows a person to look into a viewfinder and get an image from the other end of the device. This is particularly useful for observing potential threats from a safe position. Let’s find out who invented the periscope.

Who invented the periscope?
The first device that resembled a modern periscope was designed in the 1430’s by Johannes Gutenberg to allow people to see over the crowd at a religious festival. In 1647 astronomer Johannes Hevelius also designed a early form of the device with lenses and intended it to be used in the military.

The first naval periscope was invented in 1854 by Hippolyte Marié-Davy. This periscope used a vertical tube with two mirrors at a 45 degree angle. This device was improved for use in submarines by Simon Lake and further by Sir Howard Grubb for use in World War I. Periscope design has come a long way since this time and they were used extensively on submarines and tanks during both world wars. Today the periscope is still used in submarines, but is commonly being replaced by a photonics mast. This device is similar to a periscope, but uses digital equipment, including digital cameras, to observe above the water.

Did you know?
During World War I Australian troops fixed periscopes to rifles, along with a string for the trigger, so that they could be aimed and then fired from the relative safety of the trench. These modified guns were known as periscope rifles and became very popular among Australian and New Zealand troops.

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