While working on ship propeller designs, Ericsson made contact with the American captain Robert Stockton, who assured the inventor that his work would be better appreciated in the United States. Limited funds were allocated for Ericsson’s work, and his completed project—featuring a loading gun on a revolving pedestal—was perhaps the most advanced warship of its time. Toward the ship’s completion, Stockton and Ericsson’s relationship began to fail, and Stockton attempted to take undue credit for his partner’s innovations. Stockton even made another gun similar to Ericsson’s, but he had little mechanical knowledge and during the ship’s unveiling, the second gun broke, killing the U.S. Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Navy, and six others. The blame was placed unfairly upon Ericsson, and Stockton later blocked the Navy from paying him for his work, leading to the latter’s resentment for the U.S. Navy.
Ericsson went on to invent the world’s first monitor, used during the Civil War, as well as to advance torpedo technology and hoop gun construction. He also created both the hot air engine and the solar engine. Although none of his inventions were highly financially successful, he is regarded as one of the most influential mechanical engineers in history. He passed away in 1889, and his body returned to his native Sweden.
|Joined the Swedish Army.|
|Raced a steam engine in a competition arranged by the Liverpool and Manchester railway.|
|Married Amelia Byam, who soon separated from him.|
|Moved to New York.|
|Invented the first monitor, the USS Monitor, for the Civil War.|
|Invented the hot air engine.|
|Death of close friend and advocate Cornelius H. DeLamater.|
|Died one month after DeLamater.|
|John Ericsson in||Heroes of Progress in America by Charles Morris|
|American Naval hero of the Civil War. At the Battle of Mobile Bay, he famously said 'Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!"|
|President of the United States during the American Civil War.|
|American inventor of the sewing machine. His great innovation was the "lock stitch".|
|Inventor of Morse code, a system telegraph transmission widely used before the telephone.|