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New York in New York County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

John Ericsson Statue

Battery Park

 
 
John Ericsson Statue Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, November 5, 2008
1. John Ericsson Statue Marker
Inscription. This 1903 statue by Jonathan Scott Hartley (1845-1912) depicts the esteemed Swedish-American engineer and inventor John Ericsson (1803-1889), who helped to revolutionize military-maritime technology with his ironclad warship, the Monitor.

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 instruments, and gun carriages. However, a demonstration in 1844, in which a large gun accidentally exploded, killing the United States secretaries of the Navy and State, tarnished Ericsson’s
Marker in Battery Park image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, November 5, 2008
2. Marker in Battery Park
reputation. Despite this setback, his engineering career revived in 1861 with the design and construction of the Monitor iron-clad war ship.

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 April 26, 1893 in Battery Park. The pedestal was designed by architect Frank Wallis; Hartley and Wallis also collaborated on the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Memorial, unveiled in Van Cortlandt
John Ericsson Statue image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, November 5, 2008
3. John Ericsson Statue
Park in 1906. Ten years later the sculptor, dissatisfied with his first version, crafted a modified statue, cast at the local Roman Bronze Works, and dedicated on August 1, 1903, a day after the centennial of Ericsson’s birth. In 1939 a monument to Ericsson and the Monitor was unveiled in McGolrick Park, Brooklyn.

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.
 
Location. 40° 42.251′ N, 74° 0.96′ W. Marker is in New York, New York, in New York County. Marker can be reached from State Street, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is located in the northeast part of Battery Park. Marker is in this post office area: New York NY 10004, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers.
Closeup of John Ericsson Statue image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, November 5, 2008
4. Closeup of John Ericsson Statue
John Ericsson is seen here holding a model of the USS Monitor.
At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. John Ericsson (here, next to this marker); Salvation Army (a few steps from this marker); In Honor of Peter Caesar Alberti (within shouting distance of this marker); Walloon Settlers (within shouting distance of this marker); The Sphere (within shouting distance of this marker); Castle Clinton National Monument (within shouting distance of this marker); Castle Clinton (within shouting distance of this marker); New York Korean War Veterans Memorial (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New York.
 
Also see . . .
1. Biography of John Ericsson. John Ericsson Society, New York website. (Submitted on November 25, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 

2. The Battle of the Ironclads, 1862. EyeWitness to History.com website. (Submitted on November 25, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 

3. John Ericsson Society, New York. The Society was founded in 1907 and incorporated under the laws of State of New York in 1934. John Ericsson: From time to time an inventor comes along who transforms an entire industry, forever changing its principal product and stimulating the development of technology. Such a man was John Ericsson. His inventions, notably incorporated in the Civil War battleship USS Monitor, marked a turning
Front Relief image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, November 5, 2008
5. Front Relief
This relief depicts the Princeton sailing in the Potomac River.
point in shipbuilding and transformed the maritime industry. A Swedish engineer and inventor of the 19th century, his research and innovations in propeller design, hot air engines and solar energy are relevant to 21st century issues. (Submitted on July 18, 2009, by Leif Brisfjord of New York, New York.) 
 
Categories. Notable EventsNotable Persons
 
Right Relief image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, November 5, 2008
6. Right Relief
This relief shows the USS Monitor in Hampton Roads, Va.
Rear Relief image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, November 5, 2008
7. Rear Relief
Left Relief image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, November 5, 2008
8. Left Relief
John Ericsson Statue image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, March 27, 2010
9. John Ericsson Statue
John Ericsson Statue new location image. Click for full size.
By Larry Gertner, September 25, 2015
10. John Ericsson Statue new location
Due to the renovation of Battery Park, the statue has be relocated to State Street, near the intersection with Pearl Street.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 25, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 2,529 times since then and 32 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on November 25, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, 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.
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