Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Barber pole periscopes and erratic cubist patriots

Dazzle-painted US ship (c1918). Digital coloring.
BARBER POLE PERISCOPES: Submarine Invisibility Plan Tested at Navy Yard, in New York Tribune, July 17, 1915, p. 2—

A new method of making a submarine periscope invisible is being experimented with in the Brooklyn navy yard by Lieutenant Joseph O. Fisher, of K-6, commanding officer of the 4th Division submarine flotilla of the Atlantic fleet. Lieutenant Fisher’s plan is to paint every color of the spectrum on the periscope in parallel stripes.

Based on the theory that a white ray of light, when refracted, is broken into primary colors, it is presumed that the inverse will be true, and thus when the primary colors are refracted the result will be a white ray, which would be invisible.


in Railway and Marine News (1917), p. 29—

In 1902 a patent was granted two Americans, Gerome Brush and Abbott H. Thayer, who started out with the idea of reserving the coloring of the light and shaded portion of a vessel to decrease her visibility. Naval officers who have given much thought to this idea are Lieutenant Commander Joseph O. Fisher and Lieutenant Kenneth Whiting. Both of them started their studies in connection with the operation of submarines, but more recently, Lieutenant Whiting has continued his experiments in the field of aviation. Commander Fisher probably is responsible for the variegated color schemes which have led inhabitants of coastal cities to believe that a large proportion of recent navy recruits was composed of patriotic but irresponsible cubists.