John Ericsson

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John Ericsson
The Novelty - Locomotive , Braithwaite and Ericsson's contribution to the Rainhill Trials . Engraving in Mechanics' Magazine of 1829

John Ericsson (born July 31, 1803 in Långbanshyttan , † March 8, 1889 in New York ), actually Johan Ericsson , was a Swedish engineer and inventor .

Life in Europe

John Ericsson Monument in Battery Park , New York City
John Ericsson statue on Nybroplan in Stockholm

He joined the Swedish army at the age of 17, where he was promoted to lieutenant in 1822 . He left the army in 1829 and went to England . Here, together with the Englishman John Braithwaite, he built the steam locomotive The Novelty , which took part in the legendary Rainhill race. In his other work he dealt with propellers for ships (the Ericsson propeller was named after him) and with hot air engines . He created the first propeller-driven merchant ship , the Novelty . In 1828, the first steam syringe he developed, which revolutionized fire fighting, is also documented.

Life in america

In 1839, at the instigation of Captain Robert Field Stockton , Ericsson went to the United States and built several ships there, including the warship USS Princeton and the first ironclad in the US Navy, the USS Monitor , which was used in the American Civil War .

With the Princeton, a propeller was used underwater for the first time , which triggered a new line of development in shipbuilding. Ericsson also contributed to the improvement of torpedoes , then called Destroyer .

Drawing of a steam locomotive named after Wilhelm IV.

He also built a hot-air motor-propelled ship, but it did not work. One of his later inventions was the solar machine , which was designed to collect sunlight in a special burning mirror and make it directly usable as a heat source .

John Ericsson died on March 8, 1889 in New York. His body was transferred to Sweden in 1890 and buried in a specially built mausoleum in Filipstad .

Ericsson's older brother Nils was also an engineer.


  • Solar investigations . New York (1875) with its solar machine demolished
  • Contributions to the Centennial Exhibition . New York (1877)

Web links

Commons : John Ericsson  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. "Watt is a steam engine? . . . " On fire department history article accessed on August 15, 2019