A Brief History
On March 8, 1889, the anniversary date of the Battle of Hampton Roads, the clash of ironclad warships USS Monitor and CSS Virginia, the inventor of the Monitor died. John Ericsson, born in Sweden as Johan Ericsson, showed early brilliance in surveying and engineering, and moved to England in 1826 where he invented ways to improve steam engines.
Ericsson is best known for inventing America’s first screw propeller driven ship system, and of course, the USS Monitor, a revolutionary ironclad that boasted the first rotating gun turret, a design that has lasted through the years since. Ericsson also invented various hot air engines, naval propulsion systems and naval weapons, as well as train locomotive engines.
When Ericsson died in 1889, his passing was noteworthy, and 100,000 Americans attended the procession that took him to the US Navy squadron that would deliver his remains to Sweden. In his honor, all the ships flew the Swedish flag, a rare honor indeed.
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For more information, please see…
Paul, David Mel. John Ericsson and the Engines of Exile. Chandler Lake Books, 2016.
Thulesius. Olav. The Man Who Made the Monitor: A Biography of John Ericsson, Naval Engineer. McFarland, 2007.
The featured image in this article, a painting by Kurz & Allison of the battle between the Monitor and Merrimac–fought March 9th 1862 at Hampton Roads, near Norfolk, Va., is a faithful photographic reproduction of a two-dimensional, public domain work of art. The work of art itself is in the public domain for the following reason: is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 70 years or fewer.
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