John Ericsson Designer of the Ironclad USS Monitor Framed Oil on Canvas Painted Portrait Artist Signed and Dated
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1911-Dated, Oil on Canvas Original Painting of John Ericsson, Designer of the Civil War Union Ironclad Warship USS Monitor, Artist Signed and Dated by “O. Thorvaldsen - 1911”, Framed, Extremely Fine.
John Ericsson (1803-1889), Swedish-born American Engineer and Inventor, perfected the Screw propeller and constructed radically designed Warships, notably the Civil War Union Ironclad "Monitor." This original Painting measures about 18.5” x 23.25”, gold gilt wooden framed to 24.5” x 29.5”. It depicts a handsome Portrait in Oil of John Ericsson who was one of the most influential mechanical engineers of the mid-19th century. He was best known for designing the Ironclad USS Monitor, but was also the inventor of the underwater propeller among other noted innovations and historic inventions of note. Signed and dated, “O. Thorvaldsen, 1911” at lower right. This original American portrait oil painting is created on stretched canvas. It depicts John Ericsson, his portrait above a sprig of oak leaves and a branch with berries. Below the branches is a depiction of the American Flag together with the Swedish Naval Flag in tribute to Ericsson’s native heritage. This vivid canvas painting is held in a gold gilt painted & linen wooden frame with some wear to the surface gilt, and is in original, un-restored condition. A similar historic photographic image of John Ericsson is held within the collection of the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.. This Painting has nice overall eye appeal and is ready for display. John Ericsson (born July 31, 1803, Långbanshyttan, Swed.—died March 8, 1889, New York, N.Y.), Swedish-born American Naval Engineer and Inventor who built the first armoured turret warship, and developed the screw propeller.
After serving in the Swedish army as a topographical surveyor, Ericsson went to London in 1826 and constructed a steam locomotive, the Novelty, for a railway competition at Rainhill, Lancashire, in 1829. The prize was won by George Stephenson’s Rocket.
Ericsson also devised a plan for placing warship engines below the waterline to protect them against shell fire. In 1833 he exhibited his caloric engine, on which he worked the rest of his life, and in 1836 he patented a screw propeller, first used in 1837 on the Francis B. Ogden, built in London. Capt. Robert F. Stockton, of the U.S. Navy, ordered a small iron vessel, the Robert F. Stockton, to be fitted by Ericsson with engines and screw; it reached New York City in May 1839.
A few months later, Ericsson immigrated to the United States, and he lived the rest of his life in New York City, becoming a naturalized citizen in 1848. During the American Civil War, Ericsson’s proposal to the Navy Department for a novel warship was accepted, and the Monitor was launched on Jan. 30, 1862. Wholly steam-powered and with a screw propeller, the vessel, with its armoured revolving turret, set a revolutionary pattern for warships that continued into the 20th century.
On March 9 the Monitor fought the Confederate Ironclad Virginia (formerly Merrimack), leading the federal government to place an order with Ericsson for many more Monitor-type vessels; these ships played an important role in the blockade of the Confederacy. (See Battle of Monitor and Merrimack.) In later years he developed a torpedo and investigated solar-powered motors