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BOY INVENTORS' DIVING TORPEDO BOAT ***




Produced by Roger Frank, Les Galloway and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net







[Illustration: “Why, the _White Shark_ surely is a wonderful craft!”
exclaimed Jack.—_Page 24._]




THE
BOY INVENTORS’
DIVING TORPEDO
BOAT

BY

RICHARD BONNER

AUTHOR OF “THE BOY INVENTORS’ WIRELESS TRIUMPH,” “THE
BOY INVENTORS’ VANISHING GUN,” ETC.


_ILLUSTRATED BY
CHARLES L. WRENN_


NEW YORK
HURST & COMPANY
PUBLISHERS




Copyright, 1912,
BY
HURST & COMPANY




CONTENTS


CHAPTER PAGE

I. THE RUNAWAY CAR 5

II. THE “WHITE SHARK” 16

III. A WONDERFUL CRAFT 23

IV. MORE STRANGE DISCOVERIES 35

V. A WILD CHASE 44

VI. JACK MAKES A PROMISE 54

VII. THE LAUNCHING OF THE MODEL 61

VIII. JUPE BATTLES WITH A WATER MONSTER 71

IX. OFF ON THE STRANGEST CRAFT ON RECORD 85

X. IN DIRE DANGER 92

XI. TOM’S PLAN FOR RESCUE 103

XII. A BRITISH SKIPPER 113

XIII. AN IMPORTANT TELEGRAM 119

XIV. THE VOICE IN THE DARK 132

XV. THE MAN BEHIND THE MYSTERY 142

XVI. ADAM DUKE’S METHODS 150

XVII. THE TABLES ARE TURNED 159

XVIII. HEAVEN’S INTERVENTION 166

XIX. AN INSUFFICIENT DISGUISE 174

XX. A NAVAL ENCOUNTER 183

XXI. A FRESH DANGER 196

XXII. A NARROW ESCAPE 204

XXIII. THE “WHITE SHARK” AND THE SQUADRON 211

XXIV. A MYSTERY ADRIFT 222

XXV. LOST IN THE FOG 236

XXVI. “A PHANTOM OF LIGHT” 243

XXVII. LAND IS SIGHTED 250

XXVIII. A SINGLE CHANCE 260

XXIX. A FORTUNATE FIND 269

XXX. A FISH STORY 277

XXXI. FACING A SERIOUS SITUATION 286

XXXII. THE “WHITE SHARK” TO THE RESCUE 299




The Boy Inventors’ Diving Torpedo Boat




CHAPTER I.

THE RUNAWAY CAR.


“What’s the trouble?”

“I don’t know. Seems to me that the car is running away.”

“It surely does. Gracious! Feel it lurch then?”

As he spoke Jack Chadwick, a good-looking, clean-cut lad of about
seventeen, sprang to his feet. His example was followed by his cousin,
Tom Jesson, a youth of his own age.

But the trolley car, at the same instant, gave a bound and a side jump
that hurled the boys against each other.

Simultaneously the motorman turned his head and gave a frightened shout:

“She’s got away from me! We’d all better jump!”

The car was on a steep down grade. Its speed was momentarily
increasing, and it leaped and swayed wildly as it dashed down the hill.
The motorman had hardly spoken before he made a leap from the front
platform. The two boys saw his form sprawling on the road as he landed
staggeringly. He was followed by the conductor of the car, who, more
fortunate, managed to keep his feet after his jump.

All this happened with the rapidity of a swiftly moving motion picture
film. The two boys found themselves alone.

When they had left Boston for High Towers, the suburban estate of
Professor Chadwick, Jack’s famous father, the car had for some
reason been almost empty. The last passenger, with the exception of
themselves, had vacated it some moments before the brakes had failed to
work and the vehicle had started on its mad career down the steep hill.

In a flash the runaway car had passed the two operatives who had
deserted it in terror, and was dashing forward faster than ever toward
the foot of the hill.

Jack and his chum started for the front platform. Jack had a vague idea
that perhaps he could control the runaway car. Before them they could
see, at the foot of the hill, a sharp curve of the tracks, and beyond
the flashing water of Bluewater Cove, a small but deep inlet.

All this they had but a minute to realize. Hardly had the details
of the scene impressed themselves on their minds—scarcely had Jack
grasped the brake handle and twisted it desperately, before the car
appeared to leap into the air like a thing instinct with life. There
was an alarmed shout from both boys, which was echoed by a gray-haired
man, who rushed from an odd-looking building, abutting on the water, at
the same instant that the car left the tracks at the curve.

The lads had just time to glimpse his overalled figure and to note his
alarm, when everything was blotted out as the car dashed into a clump
of trees and was utterly demolished.

It was an hour or so later when Jack and his chum came back to their
senses. Their eyes opened on a scene so strange to them that they were
completely at a loss to account for their surroundings. Jack lay on a
sort of cot-bed, while his returning senses showed him Tom reclining
on a similar contrivance almost opposite him.

The room in which they were was an unceiled, unpapered apartment. The
walls were of rough pine wood, and above them the naked rafters showed.
In one corner was a stove, and in another a well-furnished set of book
shelves. A library table which was littered with papers supported a
reading lamp as well as what appeared to be models of different bits
of machinery. Taken as a whole, the room appeared to be a section of
a large wooden shed, paneled or partitioned off to serve as a living
place.

To Jack’s eyes, trained as they were to comprehend the details of
machinery, it was perfectly plain that whoever occupied the place was
engaged on some difficult, or at least abstruse, problems connected
with a mechanical device; although, of course, as to what the nature of
this might be, the lad could not hazard a guess.

“Where in the world are we, Tom?” he asked, as he saw by Tom’s opened
eyes—one of which was badly blackened—that his cousin was in full
possession of his senses.

“I don’t know. It’s a funny-looking place. Say, Jack, are you hurt?”

“No; that is, I don’t think so.”

Jack stretched his limbs carefully. Apparently the result of his
self-inspection was satisfactory, for the next moment he said:

“No; I’m sound as a new dollar. How about you, Tom?”

“All right, except that my eye feels as if it was as big as the State
House dome. Jiminy, what an almighty smash!”

“Yes; we were lucky to get out of it alive. But where on earth are we?
That’s what I want to know.”

At this juncture a door at one end of the room opened and the same
figure that had rushed from the waterside shed as the car left the
curve appeared. It was that of a kindly-faced man of about sixty. His
tall figure was bent and stooped, but fire and energy still twinkled
in a pair of piercing black eyes. Although the possessor of these
attributes wore overalls, it was evident that he was not a laboring
man. His face was rather that of a dreamer, of a man accustomed to deal
with mental problems. In one hand he carried a pitcher of water, while
in the other he had a stout volume bound in yellow calfskin.

“Ah! So my young patients are better already,” he remarked as his
glance rested on the two wide-eyed lads. “You had a miraculous escape,”
he continued. “I saw you on the front platform of the car as it left
the rails and headed for a clump of trees. I did not think that there
was a possible chance of your surviving, but it appears that you did.”

He blinked his odd, dark eyes and smiled at Jack, who was sitting up on
his couch. His coat and vest had been removed, and his head throbbed
rather wildly.

“What happened, sir?” he asked. “I remember the car running away,
and then I made for the brakes—that was after the conductor and the
motorman jumped—but after that it’s all confused.”

“No wonder,” was the reply. “I dragged you and this other lad out of
a mass of débris. Had it not been that a heavy beam protected you from
being crushed, you would have undoubtedly been killed.”

“The car was smashed, then?”

“It is a complete wreck. The conductor and the motorman were but
slightly injured so that you all came safely out of it by a miracle, as
it were.”

“We don’t know your name, but we are deeply grateful to you for all
that you have done for us,” declared Jack. “My name is Chadwick, and
this is my cousin and chum, Tom Jesson.”

“Chadwick?” repeated the man, with the manner of one who recalls a
familiar name. “Are you any relation of the famous Professor Chadwick,
the inventor?”

“I am his son,” rejoined Jack, not without a ring of pride in his
voice.

“Then you must be one of the lads who went through those extraordinary
adventures in connection with the wonderful vanishing gun which you
helped Mr. Pythias Peregrine perfect?”

“We are the same boys,” replied Jack smilingly, “but so far as helping
Mr. Peregrine was concerned, I’m afraid we got him into more trouble
than anything else.”

“Not from what I have heard,” rejoined the gray-haired man with
conviction; “had it not been for you the vanishing-gun device would
have been stolen, and possibly Mr. Peregrine’s life sacrificed. But
now, perhaps, it is time that I made myself known to you. My name is
Daniel Dancer.”

“_The_ Daniel Dancer?” exclaimed Jack, astonishment appearing in his
eyes. Tom’s round and rubicund countenance was alight with the same
eager surprise as they awaited the answer.

“I believe that I have been referred to as _The_ Daniel Dancer,” was
the quiet rejoinder. “You appear to have heard of me before.”




CHAPTER II.

THE “WHITE SHARK.”


“Who hasn’t heard of Daniel Dancer?” cried Tom enthusiastically. “Why,
as dad used to say, your name is almost a household word in the field
of invention.”

The gray-haired man regarded him quizzically.

“Possibly it is,” he rejoined, “but at the present moment I am as much
at sea regarding a mechanical problem as any tyro.”

He nodded his head in the direction of the model-bestrewn table.

“What I meant to make the crowning achievement of my career, my diving
torpedo boat, the _White Shark_, is at present at a dead standstill.”

The two boys regarded him wonderingly.

“You mean that work on it is at a standstill?” inquired Jack presently.

“Precisely so. I have to face certain mechanical problems that have—I
am free to admit it—fairly stumped me.”

“You see,” he continued briefly, “the _White Shark_ is to be a
combination diving and ‘skimming’ boat.”

The boys merely nodded and waited for Mr. Dancer to continue. Plainly,
developments of possibly startling interest were at hand.

“But it is impossible for me to explain to you just what the _White
Shark_ is, and what I hope to accomplish with her, without affording
you a view of the craft,” resumed Mr. Dancer; “if you feel strong
enough I will show her to you.”

“But it seems to me that I read in a Boston paper some time ago that
your work here was of the most secret sort,” said Jack.

“So far as the outside public is concerned such is the case,” was the
reply, “but to my fellow laborers in the same field, as it were, I am
glad to be of service and to provide them with an interesting sight;
for I am vain enough to believe that the _White Shark_ is one of the
most remarkable craft in the world at the present time.”

“I should like to see it above all things,” cried Jack eagerly.

“The same here,” responded Tom, with expectant eyes, “I feel quite
recovered from my shaking up.”

“That is good. Now if you will get up and follow me, I think I can show
you something that will surprise you.”

So saying the inventor crossed the room to another door than the one by
which he had entered. The boys, following him, found themselves in a
big shed from which “ways” sloped down to the water’s edge. An extended
view of the ocean was not possible, for two doors of stout construction
barred the gaze of any curious person who might have tried to obtain a
view of the _White Shark_ from the sea.

But for these details the boys had no eyes. Their gaze was riveted
on what, in outside appearance, at any rate, fully justified its
designer’s appellation: “One of the most remarkable craft in the world.”

The _White Shark_ was secured at the top of the ways, presumably ready
to take a plunge into the element for which she was designed. She was
about seventy feet in length, and shaped like a rather stout barrel
with pointed, conical ends.

At one end was a propeller of bronze, and at the other a long tube,
like a snout, or nose. This puzzled the boys greatly, but for the time
they refrained from asking questions. The material of which the _White
Shark_ was constructed was a mystery also. It glistened like polished
nickel and was as smooth and bright as a mirror.

“The _White Shark_ is built throughout of Monel metal, a material that
will not tarnish or corrode, but always remains bright,” explained Mr.
Dancer.

Jack nodded his head.

“It’s something quite new, isn’t it?” he asked.

“Yes. It’s the invention of a friend of mine in New Jersey. It is
almost as light and far stronger than aluminum.”

There was a ladder leaning against the side of the odd craft and Mr.
Dancer, beckoning to the boys, signed them to follow him. He ascended
the rungs with remarkable agility for a man of his apparent age and
reached the top of the cylindrical craft long before the boys did.

The rounded top of the diving craft was as smooth and bright as
its sides. A low rail ran round the “upper deck,” if such it could
be called, and at first sight it appeared that there was no way of
penetrating to the interior of the _White Shark_.

Mr. Dancer bent, however, and pressed a button, at first hardly
discernible. A panel slid back noiselessly, revealing the first steps
of a flight of steep stairs.

“One moment till I light your way,” said the inventor, “I don’t want
you to fall down stairs and get into trouble twice in one day.”

He gave an odd, dry little laugh as he said this and reaching within,
he pressed another button. There came a sharp click, and below them
the fascinated boys saw the interior of the unique vessel illuminated
by a soft white light of intense radiance.

“I invite you on board the _White Shark_,” said Mr. Dancer with a bow
and a wave of his hand toward the entrance; “you will be the first
outsiders to visit it.”

With hearts that beat a little faster than usual at the idea of the
novel experience before them the two lads stepped within the opening
and began the descent of the stairs.




CHAPTER III.

A WONDERFUL CRAFT.


At the foot of the stairs they found themselves within a room, narrow
and high ceiled by the curved deck above, from each side of which three
doors opened. In the center, suspended from the ceiling so as to be out
of the way when not in use, a table swung, which could be lowered when
wanted. Along the walls were folding chairs and lounges of the same
description. At one end were bookshelves containing what appeared to be
scientific works. A soft carpet was on the floor and the decorations of
the chamber were handsome, but plain and solid looking.

The light which flooded the place came from a ground-glass dome in
the ceiling. At the end of the room opposite to that occupied by the
bookshelves was a table with glittering, metallic apparatus on it. Jack
and Tom instantly recognized this as constituting an unusually complete
wireless outfit.

“Why, the _White Shark_ surely is a wonderful craft!” exclaimed Jack
delightedly, gazing about him.

Tom echoed his enthusiasm; but Mr. Dancer merely said:

“Wait; I have more, much more, to show you.”

He opened one of the doors that led off the main chamber which they had
just been examining. It disclosed a small cabin, furnished with two
Pullman bunks, one above the other.

“There are three cabins like this,” said Mr. Dancer. “Those other two
doors open into a bathroom and kitchen respectively. The last door
leads to my private cabin.”

In turn these rooms were shown. Mr. Dancer’s cabin was similar to
the others, but slightly larger. A writing desk and some scientific
instruments were within it. The kitchen proved to be a perfectly
equipped “ship’s galley,” clean and compact, and the bath room fixtures
were of the whitest porcelain, and included a fine shower bath.

“Now for the engine room,” said Mr. Dancer, when the boys had expressed
their delight over the features of the _White Shark_ they had already
seen.

He opened a metal door in the after bulkhead of the main cabin and
ushered the partially bewildered lads through it. The engine room
of the _White Shark_ was an odd looking place. Instead of pipes and
valves, wires and switches were everywhere. In the center of the metal
floor were two powerful electric motors, and at the side of each
was a dynamo which, Mr. Dancer explained, connected with the storage
batteries in which electricity was stored for practically every purpose
on the diving craft.

“I light, cook, and drive my engines by electricity,” explained their
guide; “in fact, everything on board is done by it. Even my steering
devices and aluminum diving apparatus is electrically controlled. It is
simple, takes up but little room and is always efficient.”

“Those must be very powerful engines,” ventured Tom, who had been
examining them with interest.

“They can develop more than 1500 horsepower each,” was the reply, “and
weigh but very little in comparison with their efficiency. They will
drive, or so I figure, the _White Shark_ at twenty-five miles an hour
on the surface, and might be made to develop thirty and even more miles
per hour if pushed hard.”

“But you can’t go so fast under water,” said Jack.

“No; the resistance is, of course, much greater, but I hope to do
twenty miles under the surface of the sea.”

“That will be faster than any submarine has ever gone?”

The question came from Tom.

“Yes, much faster, but then, in constructing the _White Shark_, I have
got far away from the ordinary types of diving craft.”

“What is that long snout at the bow for?” asked Jack.

“That takes the place of a conning tower. It is a sort of telescope
through which I can look out while running far under water. Near its
end are concealed two small, but very powerful, searchlights that
transform the perpetual darkness under the water to almost the light of
day.”

“But on the surface,” asked Jack, who had seen submarines before at
naval maneuvers, “don’t you use a conning tower?”

“No; we spy out our surroundings by an improved periscope, with the
general principles of which I suppose you are familiar.”

“Yes; it’s a tube that can be raised above the surface and then
reflects that surface upon a sort of desk, where the operator of the
craft can see every detail plainly.”

“That describes it roughly. And now let us visit the steering room and
the torpedo chamber. I also want to show you the submarine gun with
which the _White Shark_ is fitted.”

“This surely is a wonder ship,” gasped Tom; “a submarine gun! I suppose
we’ll be introduced to a submarine lawn-mower next.”

Passing back through the main chamber, they reached the bow. At the
front end of the conical-shaped room was what appeared to be the
mouth of a steel tube. This, the boys knew, was the lookout tube. The
inventor switched on the lights and showed the wondering lads just how
a ray of light, powerful enough to pierce the gloomy ocean depths,
could be shot out from it. He then exhibited to them the periscope
device and worked it for their benefit. By manipulating a crank the
long tube of the periscope rose from the deck above, and upon the
ground glass beneath its lower end the boys soon made out the details
of the shed outside.

Behind the periscope attachment, and so situated that it commanded
a full view from the lookout tube, was the steering apparatus. But
instead of the customary wheel all that appeared was a row of buttons
and a switch board of polished wood.

The whole contrivance was not unlike the desk of a telephone “central,”
which most of you boys must have seen. In fact, both Jack and Tom
thought it was a telephone switch board, and said so.

Mr. Dancer smiled.

“There is communication with all parts of the boat from the steersman’s
seat,” he said, “but it is by speaking tubes. I also have an automatic
annunciator which signals the engine room if I want to go fast, slow,
or to back up.”

“I noticed it when we were in the machinery section,” said Jack. “You
have the entire boat under your control from here?”

“Yes; I could, in an emergency, stop the engines from here. But what
I am most anxious to show you is my submarine gun and compressed-air
devices for sending torpedoes on their deadly missions.”

He turned to what appeared to be a steel box affixed in the bow portion
of the craft alongside the sighting tube. At one side of the box were
levers, and a chute led down to it from above.

“The torpedoes are stored overhead,” explained the inventor; “when
wanted this lever is pulled and one slides down and enters this box.
From there it is launched by compressed air, which is piped here from
the engine room. In my type of torpedo each missile carries its own
miniature engine, also propelled by compressed air. When it leaves the
side of the _White Shark_ a catch within that ‘launching box’ engages a
projection on the side of the torpedo which starts the miniature engine
in the latter.”

“And the submarine gun?” asked Jack.

“Right here. Doesn’t look much like a gun, does it?”

He indicated a cylindrical object of blued, glistening steel. To be
sure, its “breech” was like that of the accepted type of modern guns
built to handle high explosives, but its barrel was almost square and
apparently projected through the skin of the _White Shark_.

This impression was confirmed by Mr. Dancer.

“The barrel of my gun, at least that part of it which projects outside
the submarine, is composed of flexible rungs of metal, much as a
high-pressure hose is constructed; but, of course, it is many times
stronger.”

He went on to explain that this gun was capable of propelling an
explosive bullet half a mile under water, and that it could be aimed
in any direction by means of a system of levers and guiding ropes
controlled from the interior of the _White Shark_.

“But you cannot use gunpowder or dynamite in the gun,” objected Jack,
who, as we know, under the tuition of Mr. Pythias Peregrine, had become
an expert on modern gunnery.

“No; but I have substituted another force; what it is you will hardly
guess. I flatter myself that the idea is entirely original.”

“If it’s like everything else on this wonderful craft it must be,”
assented Jack warmly.

“The force that I use is nothing more nor less than steam,” responded


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