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JOHN ERICSSON - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 12/06/1859 - HFSID 265837

The Swedish warship designer and engineer signs his name on this letter from 1859 Autograph letter signed: "J. Ericsson", 1½ page, 7¾x9¾. No place, 1859 December 6. In part: "I was shocked to learn a few days ago that a heater had been burned out at Carharts.…"

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JOHN ERICSSON
The Swedish warship designer and engineer signs his name on this letter from 1859
Autograph letter signed:
"J. Ericsson", 1½ page, 7¾x9¾. No place, 1859 December 6. In part: "I was shocked to learn a few days ago that a heater had been burned out at Carharts. Now as it is a physical and mechanical impossibility to burn a heater whilst the engine is in motion, such an accident must not be permitted again to take place-I have seen Orr this morning and told him to give imperative orders to Carharts engine driver and to stop the engine during dinner time nor to wait in the morning until the fire is strong enough to change against full pressure in the tank but to start the engine as soon as it will move slipping in the weight on the safety valve lever of the tank and only move it out as the fire gains strength...Our friend Roberts destroyed his heater by leaving the engine standing from time to time with a strong fire in the furnace. The slightest wind entering the engine room on board ship converts the fire place of a caloric engine into an air furnace...If instructions painted on the engine should prove insufficient-I will introduce mechanical expedients to effect what is required...." Swedish-born engineer JOHN ERICSSON (1803-1889) was called in to design an iron-clad warship for the Union after Northern leaders heard that the South was attempting to raise the Merrimac from the Norfolk harbor and convert the ship into an armor-clad vessel. Ericsson had designed the U.S.S. Princeton, the first warship driven by a screw propeller. It carried a 12-inch gun -- the largest forged for the U.S. Navy at the time. Ericsson did not design that gun, but on February 28, 1844 President Tyler and a party of 200 were cruising aboard the ship. The gun, fired in a demonstration, exploded, killing amongst others Secretary of State Upshur and Secretary of the Navy Gilmer. Ericsson had worked on designs for iron-clad vessels as early as 1854 and built the Monitor with several distinct features. The Monitor, which was built of iron rather than wood, featured a circular revolving turret, relied solely on steam power and utilized a screw propeller for power rather than a paddle-wheel. The battle between the Monitor and the Merrimac took place on March 9, 1862 at Hampton Roads, Virginia. The Monitor's victory ushered in a new era in naval warship design and construction The success of the Monitor encouraged Ericsson to modify and refine his ironclad designs. Creased. Torn edge. Upper margin shows 1-inch vertical separations, all intact. Folds. Lightly soiled.

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