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John Ericsson, Swedish engineer

John Ericsson, Swedish engineer


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John Ericsson (1803-90), Swedish marine engineer, oil portrait. Ericsson served in the Swedish army as an engineer for six years, then resigned to become an inventor. He moved to England in 1826, where he designed the first screw propeller for ships. This made steam propulsion possible for naval vessels, as the previous paddle wheels were a vulnerable target. In 1839 he moved to America, designing a screw propelled ship for the US Navy, the USS Princeton. In 1861 he built his first 'ironclad', the Monitor. In the US Civil War this was used to sink the Confederate wooden vessel, the Merrimac, in a famous engagement which signalled the end of the wooden battleship.

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