The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Brennan, Louis
Brennan, Louis, C.B., the inventor of the torpedo which bears his name, is the son of Thomas Brennan by his marriage with Miss Bridget MacDonel, and was born in Ireland on Jan. 28th, 1852. He went to Melbourne with his parents when eleven years of age. A few years later he was articled to Mr. Alexander Kennedy Smith, the well-known civil and mechanical engineer, and quickly displayed great aptitude in his profession. Mr. Brennan may be said to have first conceived the idea of his now celebrated torpedo in May 1874, but the initiatory stages of perfecting the invention, proving it by trials, and bringing it into notice in the right quarters occupied several years, Mr. Brennan being ultimately aided by a grant of £700 from the Victorian Government. With a view to securing its adoption by the imperial authorities, Mr. Brennan formed a small company to exploit the invention, and himself went to England towards the end of 1880. The torpedo, through the kindly interposition of Sir Andrew Clarke, was favourably considered by the War Office, but it was not finally adopted by the British Government till 1887, when, after years of anxious thought and laborious experiment, Mr. Brennan brought the apparatus to its present perfection, and it was purchased by the Imperial Government for £110,000, Mr. Brennan being employed by the Government to superintend the manufacture and to aid in its practical utilisation for a period of five years. On the expiry of this engagement it was again renewed, in March 1892; and on May 25th following Mr. Brennan was gazetted to the distinction of C.B. He married in Dublin on Sept. 10th, 1891, his cousin, Miss Anna Quinn. An excellent description of the torpedo will be found in the recent issue of the "Encyclopædia Britannica."