New York in New York County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
John Ericsson Statue
Ericsson was born in Langbanshyttan, Sweden to a mining proprietor father, observing and developing an interest in the operations of mining machinery as a child. Ericsson displayed an early talent for engineering, building a miniature sawmill before he was 11. His precocious ability caught the attention of the well-known engineer Count Platen, who appointed Ericsson a cadet in the corps of mechanical engineers at age 12. By age 14, he was placed in charge of 600 soldier operatives, while he himself made mechanical drawings for the canal project.
In 1836 Ericsson invented and patented the screw propeller, a device that vastly improved steam vessel travel. Approached by the United States Navy, Ericsson came to the United States in 1839, and designed a frigate, the Princeton, which united many of his technological inventions, including state-of-the-art screw propellers, smokestacks, ventilators, optical
The Monitor was Ericsson’s response to the Confederacy’s intent in early 1861 to ironclad its warship, the Merrimac. Ericsson built the Monitor at the Continental Iron Works foundry in Greenpoint, Brooklyn; its engine and machinery were fabricated in Greenwich Village at the Delamater Iron Works. The keel was laid on October 15, 1861, and within an astounding 100 days, the Monitor was launched. Ericsson’s newfangled ship was put to the test in a famous battle against the Merrimac off of Hampton Roads, Virginia on March 9, 1862, where the Union forces averted defeat. He dedicated his later years to diverse scientific investigations, including experiments with solar power and its practical applications. For his efforts he had many honors bestowed upon him in the United States, Sweden, and other European nations. He died on March 8, 1889, in New York City.
Less than four years after his death, the distinguished sculptor Jonathan Scott Hartley was commissioned by the state to create a larger-than-life bronze portrait of Ericsson, which was dedicated
The sculpture in Battery Park depicts the bearded Ericsson holding a boat model in his hand. The pedestal features inset bronze bas-reliefs, which illustrate significant naval battles involving the Monitor and Princeton, as well as an array of Ericsson’s mechanical inventions. Over time the monument suffered extensive damage, the result of weathering, vandalism, and even a fire. In 1996 the sculpture was conserved by Parks’ monuments crew, and as part of overall improvements to Battery Park, the sculpture is slated to be moved from its present location to a more prominent site near a perimeter entrance.
Erected 2001 by City of New York Parks & Recreation.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce • War, US Civil • Waterways & Vessels. A significant historical month for this entry is March 1847.
Location. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: New York NY 10004, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. John Ericsson (here, next to this marker); This Ancient Cannon (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort George (within shouting distance of this marker); Wireless Operators Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Netherlands Monument (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Netherlands Memorial (about 300 feet away); Historic Battery Park & Castle Clinton (about 300 feet away); American Merchant Marine (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New York.
Also see . . .
1. The Battle of the Ironclads, 1862. EyeWitness to History.com website. (Submitted on November 25, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.)
2. The Battery: John Ericsson. The official Parks Department description of the monument. (Submitted on December 12, 2018, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.)
3. John Ericsson. Wikipedia biography. (Submitted on April 11, 2020, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.)
Credits. This page was last revised on January 23, 2021. It was originally submitted on November 25, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 2,725 times since then and 37 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on November 25, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. 9. submitted on April 3, 2010, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. 10. submitted on May 10, 2016, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. 11. submitted on April 11, 2020, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.