Some would argue that the Soviet submarine K-278 Komsomolets deserves the title for the deepest depth a submarine can achieve at 1,300 meters below sea level. Some of you would say a US Los Angeles-class submarine deserves that feat, at which it can dive about 900 meters. But most have never heard of the Trieste, a US Navy bathyscaphe that reached the bottom of the Sea.

Technically, a bathyscaphe is different from a submarine in many ways. Nevertheless, here’s the story of the historic dive of the Trieste to a world unknown in the 1960s!

The Beginnings of the Trieste

The Trieste was the brainchild of a Swiss scientist, Auguste Piccard, which Acciaierie Terni then built in collaboration with Cantieri Riuniti dell Adriatico in the short-lived Free Territory of Trieste. This is actually where the naval vessel gets its name!

Jacques Piccard, co-designer of the bathyscaphe, and his assistants make final checks aboard her, prior to Trieste's first deep dive in the Marianas Trench. On 15 November 1959 (Wikimedia Commons). Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bathyscaphe_Trieste_beforedive.jpg
Jacques Piccard, co-designer of the bathyscaphe, and his assistants make final checks aboard her prior to Trieste’s first deep dive in the Marianas Trench. On 15 November 1959 (Wikimedia Commons). Source:

You might have guessed by now that the Trieste wasn’t really made for the US Navy. It was made for the French Navy in 1953 for research purposes. Later on, the French would sell it to the US Navy for $2.2 million at today’s rates.