John Ericson, inventor and marine engineer, 1845.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Oil painting by C L Elliot, New York, of Captain Ericson (1803-1889). Born in Sweden, Ericson moved to England in 1826 and set up as an engineering consultant. In 1829 he built an engine to rival George Stephenson's steam engine 'Rocket' (which had triumphed in the Rainhill Trials contest that year). On moving to the USA in 1839 Ericson designed many warships including the 'Monitor' (1861), the first warship with an armoured turret, and 'The Destroyer' (1878), which could launch submarine torpedoes.