Cheerios & Alvin

alvinfront_large.jpgYou may be asking yourself how these two fit together. I would like to say something like “every box of Cheerios contains a model Alvin in it.” That would be great but totally fictional. The connection is actually more interesting and involves Bud Froehlich.

bud_large.jpgYou may have heard of a little submersible called Trieste that set a depth record in 1960.  The mechanical arm on it was built by Harold “Bud” Froehlich an engineer at General Mills who sadly passed away this week.  Bud after the Trieste dive started circulating plans for a replacement, the Seapup.  Meanwhile on the east coast talk was circulating about a possible submersible, the Aluminaut to be in part built by Reynolds thus the name, for naval and scientific use.  A cold reception at Scripps for the idea contrasted to welcome received from Allyn Vine and WHOI Director Dr. Paul Fye.  Eventually questions about the design bad name and who would ultimately own the Aluminaut halted the project.  Vine and Fye still wanting to develop a submersible finally received funds to design and build a new submersible.  Ironically the specifications were a match to the Seapup


Seven companies were sent the request for bid: General Mills, Lockheed, General Dynamic’s, General Motors, North American Aviation, Philco, and Pratt Whitney Aircraft. Only two submitted bids, General Mills and North American Aviation.  Froehlich and General Mills began work on the Alvin, named after Allyn Vine, in the late 1950s at the research facility in Minneapolis.  But why a cereal producer?  General Mills’ experience with making precision equipment for their own manufacturing processes had lead to several contracts for equipment during World War II, including high altitude balloons.  Some of Froehlich’s innovations to protect the submarine under the high pressures included covering the propeller, immersing the batteries in petroleum, and shaping the hull like a dirigible, which reduces drag on low-speed vehicles.

More information and the information of this post can be viewed here. 

Dr. M (1801 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Executive Director of the Lousiana University Marine Consortium. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Additionally, Craig is obsessed with the size of things. Sometimes this translated into actually scientific research. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (, a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.

2 Replies to “Cheerios & Alvin”

Comments are closed.