Born July 31: John Ericsson
By Michael Baadke
The stamp, designed by Clair Aubrey Huston, was issued May 29, 1926, the very day that the statue was dedicated by President Calvin Coolidge and Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden.
The statue and the stamp honor Ericsson, who was born July 31, 1803, in the Langban region of Varmland, Sweden.
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While living and working in England, Ericsson perfected the screw propeller. He moved to the United States in 1839 and designed a screw-propelled warship for the U.S. Navy in association with Capt. Robert Stockton. Ericsson became a U.S. citizen in 1848.
Ericsson’s fame in the United States stems from his designing the USS Monitor for the Union forces during the American Civil War. The ironclad ship with rotating turret successfully engaged the Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia (formerly the Merrimac) on March 9, 1862, in the Battle of Hampton Roads.
The Monitor and the Virginia are depicted in battle on a 32¢ stamp issued June 29, 1995, as part of the Civil War set of 20 stamps (Scott 2975a).
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