The National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum
The Guppy Comes Home

Coatesville, PA – February 21, 2018

The National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum (NISHM) has added to its collection the iconic steel submersible “The Guppy”. Built with Lukens steel by Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in Chester, Pa., the Guppy is a two-person electric-powered sub which had been on exhibit at the Independence Seaport Museum for a number of years.

The Guppy was built in 1970 with a 6-inch HY-100 steel pressure hull and was first sent to Alaska to explore the continental shelf. At that time it completed an unmanned dive of 1,100 feet and a manned dive of 625 feet. The sub has three view ports, a cruising speed of 1 knot with a top speed of 3 knots and a range of 12 nautical miles, according to a report in the June 10, 1970, issue of the Delaware County Daily Times.

The deep-sea submersible was designed to inspect oil rigs and aid divers making repairs to drilling equipment. It launched off the deck of a ship connected with an umbilical tether that supplied electric power and air for the two-person crew.

Unfortunately the umbilical made maneuvering difficult, according to Don Bline in the book, “Submersibles and Their Use in Oceanography and Ocean Engineering.”  “We’d been in contact with the Independence Seaport Museum about our interest in the sub beginning in November 2016,” said James Ziegler, National Iron and Steel Heritage Museum executive director.   Lukens also manufactured the steel used in building other famous submersibles; “The Alvin,” a submersible owned by the U.S. Navy and made 12 dives to search the Titanic wreckage, and “The Beaver”, a submersible that could go to a depth of 2,000 feet.

The museum has set up a Gofundme page to raise the $4,000 cost of shipping.  The submersible will arrive in Coatesville Feb. 23, transported by Diversified Mechanic.  City Construction Co. will unload and place it inside the newly opened motor house building at the museum, joining the museum’s antique fire equipment and ambulance in that building.

Also exhibited at NISHM are other well-known steel products including the World Trade Tridents and a submarine sonar sphere.

The National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum is located on the campus of the Lukens National Historic District, at 50 S. 1st Avenue in Coatesville, PA. Easily accessible in the heart of Coatesville NISHM is open six days a week for tours, lectures and educational programs. It draws international crowds to its facility, which educates the public on the people, places, products, and processes of steel making, as well as the importance of educating children in the STEAM discipline (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math).

For more information, please contact The National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum at 610-384-9282 or visit


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