John Ericsson bigraphy, stories - United States engineer

John Ericsson : biography

July 31, 1803 - March 8, 1889

John Ericsson (July 31, 1803 – March 8, 1889) was a Swedish-American inventor and mechanical engineer, as was his brother Nils Ericson. He was born at Långbanshyttan in Värmland, Sweden, but primarily came to be active in England and the United States. He is remembered best for designing the steam locomotive Novelty (in partnership with engineer John Braithwaite) and the ironclad ship USS Monitor.

Monuments and memorials

Monuments in honor of John Ericsson have been erected at:

  • John Ericsson National Memorial on The Mall in Washington, D.C.
  • The John Ericsson Room at the American Swedish Historical Museum in Chicago
  • Battery Park, in New York City
  • Nybroplan in Stockholm
  • Kungsportsavenyn in Gothenburg.
  • John Ericsson Street, in Lund, Sweden
  • John Ericsson fountain, Fairmount Park, Philadelphia
  • Neighborhood of Ericsson, Minneapolis

For ships named in his honor, see:

  • USS Ericsson

Organizations:

  • is a Swedish-American partisan organization.

Friendship with Cornelius H. DeLamater

When Ericsson arrived from England and settled in New York, he was persuaded by Samuel Risley of Greenwich Village to give his work to the Phoenix Foundry. There he met Cornelius H. DeLamater and soon a mutual attachment developed between the two, and rarely thereafter did Ericsson or DeLamater enter upon a business venture without first consulting the other." Personally, their friendship never faltered, though strained by the pressures of business and Ericsson's quick temper, DeLamater called Ericsson "John" and Ericsson called DeLamater by his middle nickname "Harry", intimacies almost unknown in Ericsson's other relationships. In time, the DeLamater Iron Works became known as the Asylum where Capt Ericsson had free rein to experiment and attempt new feats. The Iron Witch was next constructed, the first iron steamboat. The first hot-air invention of Capt Ericsson was first introduced in the ship Ericsson, built entirely by DeLamater. The DeLamater Iron Works also launched the first submarine boat, first self-propelled torpedo, and first torpedo boat. When DeLamater died on February 2, 1889, Ericsson could not be consoled. Ericsson's death one month later was not surprising to his close friends and acquaintances."

Early career

John's and Nils's father Olaf Ericsson who worked as the supervisor for a mine in Värmland had lost money in speculations and had to move his family from Värmland to Forsvik in 1810. There he worked as a director of blastings' during the excavation of the Swedish Göta Canal. The extraordinary skills of the two brothers were discovered by Baltzar von Platen, the architect of the Göta Canal. The two brothers were dubbed cadets of mechanics of the Swedish Royal Navy and engaged as trainees at the canal enterprise. At the age of fourteen, John was already working independently as a surveyor. His assistant had to carry a footstool for him to reach the instruments during surveying work.

At the age of seventeen he joined the Swedish army in Jämtland, serving in the Jämtland Field Ranger Regiment, as a Second Lieutenant, but was soon promoted to Lieutenant. He was sent to northern Sweden to do surveying, and in his spare time he constructed a heat engine which used the fumes from the fire instead of steam as a propellant. His skill and interest in mechanics made him resign from the army and move to England in 1826. However his heat engine was not a success, as his prototype was designed to burn birchwood and would not work well with coal (the main fuel used in England).

Shortly after the American Civil War broke out in 1861, the Confederacy began constructing an ironclad ram upon the hull of USS Merrimack which had been partially burned by Federal troops before it was captured by forces loyal to the Commonwealth of Virginia. Nearly concurrently, the United States Congress had recommended in August 1861 that armored ships be built for the American Navy. Ericsson still had a dislike for the U.S. Navy, but he was nevertheless convinced by Cornelius Scranton Bushnell to submit an ironclad ship design to them. Ericsson later presented drawings of USS Monitor, a novel design of armored ship which included a rotating turret housing a pair of large cannons. Despite controversy over the unique design, the keel was eventually laid down and the ironclad was launched on March 6, 1862. The ship went from plans to launch in approximately 100 days, an amazing achievement.

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Living octopus

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