History & Culture

Photo portrait of John Ericsson

When one mentions the name John Ericsson, the general reaction of the listener is a blank stare. This circumstance is unfortunate, for Captain John Ericsson possessed one of the greater engineering minds that ever existed. His inventions are legion, and affect us to this day. His creations reinforce the notion that anyone can come to this great nation and bring to fruition their dreams, large or small. His story testifies to the opportunity afforded by a free society, and the personal drive to succeed, which if acted upon, can produce great things. Ericsson, an immigrant from Sweden, revolutionized the very concept of naval propulsion, with his development of the screw propeller. His love for the republican values of the United States manifested itself throughout the American Civil War. Ericsson's ship, the USS Monitor, helped to preserve the blockade effort of the United States Navy and ensured Yankee naval supremacy. Despite his revolutionary accomplishments, the memory of John Ericsson is obscure in comparison with other giants from the period.

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