John Ericsson

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

Living in Europe

He joined at the age of 17 years in the Swedish army, where he rose to lieutenant in 1822. He left the army in 1829 and went to England. Here he built together with the Englishman John Braithwaite steam locomotive The Novelty, who took part in the legendary race of Rainhill. In his subsequent work he dealt with propellers of ships ( the Ericsson propeller was named after him ) and hot air engines. He created the first propeller-driven trading ship, the Novelty.

Life in America

In 1839, Ericsson was at the instigation of Captain Robert Field Stockton in the USA and built several ships, including the warship USS Princeton and the first battleship of the U.S. Navy USS Monitor, which was used in the American Civil War.

With Princeton for the first time a propeller was used under water, which caused a new line of development in shipbuilding. Ericsson also contributed to the improvement of torpedoes, at that time called the Destroyer.

He also built a ship with hot air motor drive, which, however, has not proven. His later inventions include the solar machine that was designed to collect the sunlight in a special concave mirror and to make as a heat source directly usable.

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. The older brother of John Ericsson, Nils, was also an engineer.


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