The Man Who Made the Monitor: A Biography of John Ericsson, Naval Engineer

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McFarland, Jan 18, 2007 - History - 264 pages
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Mention Civil War naval confrontations and the Monitor instantly springs to mind. The first of the ironclads, the Monitor not only took part in a major battle, it forever changed the face of naval construction. But who was the man behind the ship? Born in Filipstad, Sweden, in 1803, the brilliant and somewhat eccentric engineer John Ericsson spent his childhood observing his father's work in mining and later learned his engineering skills at the North Atlantic-Baltic canal. As a young man Ericsson turned to a variety of projects. In England, he introduced the ship's propeller, built an Arctic expedition vessel and designed some of the first successful steam locomotives. Moving to New York in 1839, he soon teamed up with Harry Cornelius Delameter of the Phoenix foundry, a partnership which resulted in Ericsson's most famous work, the USS Monitor. Focusing on the man behind the inventions, this book tells the life story of John Ericsson. It details a number of Ericsson's inventions including a steam-powered fire engine, the first screw-propelled warship, a variety of "hot-air engines," and early experiments in solar power from the roof of his Manhattan home. The main focus is Ericsson's design and construction of the ironclad USS Monitor. One of the first viable armored warships, the Monitor revolutionized naval warfare the world over. The ship's battle with the CSS Virginia at Hampton Roads and its eventual fate off the coast of Cape Hatteras are covered. Ericsson's relationships with contemporaries such as Alfred Nobel and recent developments concerning the recovery of the wreck of the Monitor are also examined.
 

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Contents

Preface
1
Miner and Canal Boy
5
Soldier and Inventor John
11
To England
19
Locomotion
29
John Bull
37
Propulsion
42
The New World
49
Happy Experience
118
The Monitor Boys
126
Tragic End
133
Monitor Craze
139
The Destroyer
146
Solar Energy
151
Centennial Exhibition
160
Alfred Nobel
166

The Princeton Disaster
56
The Age of Caloric
67
Naval Blockade
81
The New Merrimack
87
Lincolns Raft
91
The Monitor
102
The Right Track
114
The Man
181
Family and Friends
196
Home Again
211
Lost and Found
227
Bibliography
249
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Olav Thulesius was professor at Indiana University, University of Trondheim, and Kuwait University. The author of Harriet Beecher Stowe in Florida, 1867 to 1884 (2001), he divides his time between the United States and Sweden.

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