Lamb's biographical dictionary of the United States- PDF book by John Howard Brown

Lamb's biographical dictionary of the United States Volume 3

Begins with E and ends with H

Lamb's biographical dictionary

This dictionary illustrates the lives of famous American people 

ERICSSON, John, engineer, was born in Langbaushyttan, Sweden, July 31, 1803; son of Olaf Ericsson, a mine owner, and a direct descendant from Leif Ericsson, son of Eric the Red, the Norse discoverer of America. He was educated at home, first by a governess, and afterwards by a German engineer.

 From his infancy, he was an interested observer of the operation of machinery in his father's coal mines. Before 1814 he had invented and built a miniature sawmill, and soon after a novel pumping engine which when shown to Platen, the noted mechanical engineer, secured for young Ericsson an appointment as cadet of mechanical engineers. After six months' study, he was employed in the
construction of the Gotha ship canal in which he laid out the work of a section, employing six hundred soldiers, when only fourteen years old, and spent his leisure in making drawings of the various tools and engines used in the work. He entered the Swedish army in 1820 as an ensign, and his skill in map drawing won for him a lieutenant's commission. 

He entered a competitive examination for appointment on a government survey gained the appointment and served in Northern Sweden for some years. His time when off duty was employed in preparing the manuscript and maps for work on "Canals." He invented the machine to engrave the plates, with which he completed eighteen large copper plates in one year and the work was pronounced by experts superior to hand engraving. In 1835 he constructed a coal-burning condensing engine and the next year sought unsuccessfully to introduce it into England. He resigned from the army in 1827, having meanwhile reached the rank of captain. 

He competed with George Stephen- son for the prize offered in 1829 by the Liverpool and Manchester railway for a steam locomotive engine, and his steam carriage " Novelty " was planned and completed m seven weeks, and in the field trial was pronounced to excel in several important points, the speed reaching thirty miles per hour, but Stephenson's "Rocket" won the prize, being built of heavy material which afforded it superior traction. 

The " Novelty," however, introduced new principles, four of which were used in all successful locomotives in Europe and America. In 1829 he also built a practical steam fire-engine which he exhibited in London that year and in New York City in 1840. In 1838 he perfected the caloric engine with which, in 1853, the caloric ship Ericsson of 2000 tons was propelled. More than 7000 of these engines were in use at the time of his death. For this invention he received the gold and silver Rumford medals from the American academy of arts and sciences in 1862, the second person in the United States to be so honoured. He invented and patented the screw propeller in 1836, and in 1837 successfully used twin screw propellers in a boat operated on the River Thames. In 1838 he constructed the iron screw steamer Bobert F. Stockton, which after crossing the Atlantic under sail, was used on the Delaware river for twenty-five years as a towboat. In 1840 he was induced by Robert F. Stock- ton, U.S.N., to continue his experiments in the United States, and in November of that year, he reached America. In 1841 he designed and superintended in Philadelphia the construction for the U.S. navy of the screw steamer Princeton with its machinery below the water-line, with the direct-acting semi-cylindrical engine, telescope 

ERICSSON ERNST smoke-stack, independent centrifugal blowers, wrought iron gun carriages with a mechanism for dispensing with breeching and taking up the re-coil, a self-acting gun-lock by which the guns of the decks could be discharged at any elevation even in a rolling sea, a telescope to determine the distance of the enemy's ship, and numerous other novel applications to facilitate the handling of ordnance and the ship. His inventions and improvements as introduced on the Princeton made that ship the model for the world and the beginning of a new era in the steam marine. During his first three years' residence in the United States, he had placed engines and screw propellers in numerous vessels used for river and inland water navigation, and in 1851 he exhibited at the World's Fair in London his numerous appliances for use in steam navigation and was awarded the prize medal. In 1854 he presented to Napoleon III. plans for a partially submerged armoured warship with a revolving shot-proof cupola, which the Emperor put to practical use.

 In 1861 through private enterprise, and within the space of 100 days, he planned, built, launched and equipped the Monitor at a cost of §875,000, which was to be paid by the government only after the boat had proved effective in actual battle with the Merrimac, 
The book details :

  • Author: John Howard Brown
  • Publication date" 1900
  • Company: Boston, Mass.: James H. Lamb Co.

  • Download volume 3 - 46.8 MB

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