The cigar ships were designed and built by the Winans family, successful railway engineers from Baltimore, Maryland who moved into marine engineering with enthusiasm and great expenditures of their family wealth, but less success. Their radical marine design concept included an ultra-streamlined spindle-shaped hull with minimum superstructure.
Inventors Ross Winans Thos. Winans - Patent signaturesThe Winans constructed at least four ships between 1858 and 1866. Two of these attracted considerable public attention as well as skepticism and outright criticism from the technical establishment. Ross Winans and his sons were, first and foremost, engineers experimenting with innovative concepts. The innovative technology would certainly have attracted Jules Verne's attention. He may well have seen one of the boats sailing or berthed in England. Some of their innovations were adopted for surface ships in the twentieth century, and many of the pioneer submarines built in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century resembled them.
"Surging through the waves, plowing in and out of liquid breakers, pushing ever further with each stroke of its mighty piston" ... I have a very bad brain