The Greenpoint Monitor Museum

John Ericsson Junior High School

January 31, 2006



John Ericsson was born in Varmland, Sweden on July 31, 1803.
Olaf, his father, worked as a mine inspector. When
John visited his father at the mine John would make drawings
of the macinery. Later John's father was appointed Chief
Blasting Engineer for the construction of the Gota Canal in
Sweden which connects the North Sea with the Baltic Sea.
Count Platen was in charge of this project.
John and his family moved to the job site.
There were no schools where the canal was being built.
He was taught by his father and the other engineers.
They taught him drawing, mathematics, English
and chemistry. John attracted the attention of Count Platen
who had heard of his efforts. After examining John's various
plans and drawings, Count Platen said to John "Continue as
you have commenced, and you will one day produce something
extraordinary." Count Platen appointed John as a cadet
in the corps of engineers. When he was 13 years old, John was put in
charge of 600 men. There were many important works on the
canal constructed after drawings made by Ericsson at this early age.

His love of machinery and how they worked led him to become
one of the world's most famous and important inventors.


John Ericsson joined the Swedish Navy and
in 1820 he joined the Swedish Army. He was promoted to Captain.
He later moved to London, England.

John Ericsson's steam fire engine the "Conqueror".

In 1829, while working in London, England, John Ericsson
designed a new steam fire engine called the "Conqueror". Steam
heated in its boiler powered the fire engine's water pump. Horses were
used to pull the engine. This new fire engine was used for the first time in
London to stop a fire at the "Argyll", a famous London concert hall.
This fire threatened to destroy the City. The City's old hand operated
fire pumps froze in the cold during the fire while the "Conqueror's"
steam engine continued to operate for five hours. Also the water from
the "Conqueror's" hose reached much higher heights than that
of the old hand operated fire pumps. The "Conqueror"
did not save the "Argyll" but it did save the City.

John Ericsson sailed into New York harbor in 1839.

The old hand operated fire pumps.

Over the years the steam fire engines improved no longer
requiring horses to move.

George demonstrates the power of steam in the class by using
a model steam fire engine. The boiler of the "Road Show" fire engine
not only activates the water pump but also makes the fire engine move.

The "Road Show" fire engine is a
model of a German fire engine built in 1903.

Click on the pictures below.

Teacher Ann Kandratino introduces Museum members to the class. (114kb) This is a copy of the plaque on West Street in Greenpoint near where the USS Monitor was built. (110kb) George remembers his days at John Ericsson Junior High School when he wore this shirt. (117kb) This fire engine runs by steam.  Water is heated in its boiler.  While in England, John Ericsson invented a steam fire engine.  It was pulled by horses and the steam gave another force to the pump that the water  could reach the top of the buildings. (90kb)
During the beginning of the Civil War the US Navy depended on wooden sailing ships. (100kb) John Ericsson convinced Abraham Lincoln to let him build an ironclad ship to help save the Union.  He invented the USS Monitor which has a turret with two cannons.  The turret turns allowing the cannons to shoot in any direction without turning the ship. (117kb) jhs126y0506g.jpg (110kb) The USS Monitor sank in a storm on December 31, 1862.  In 1973 she was discovered.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been sending scooba divers down to save parts of the USS Monitor for history.  In 2001 they brought up her engine.  In 2002 they brought up her turret.  They wore this shirt in 2001 when her engine was recovered.  See the scooba diver on the shirt carrying the USS Monitor. (97kb)
This flag was on the barge that pulled up the USS Monitor's turret. (90kb) This was the top of a Civil War flag pole.  It was in many battles with Ellsworth's fire zouaves. (113kb) Janice is wearing the uniform of a Vivandiere.  Vivandieres would often accompany their husbands to battle.  They acted as nurses and often carried a pistol for protection. (91kb) Old Abe was a mascot for the Eight Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry.  He was in 37 battles.  After the Civil War he went to parades with the Civil War Veterans to collect money for the orphan children whose fathers died during the War. (107kb)
Johnny Clem joined the Civil War when he was only nine years old.  He was a drummer boy.  He served in the army until he died at the age of 63 years old. (112kb) John Ericsson's first recruit. (97kb) We found a confederate soldier in the class with his gray uniform. (126kb) jhs126y0506p.jpg (125kb)
jhs126y0506q.jpg (93kb) jhs126y0506r.jpg (99kb) A zouave hat. (96kb) Two new sailors for a new ironclad ship. (106kb)
jhs126y0506u.jpg (104kb) This recruit is ready to go. (107kb) Arthur's and his piccolo recorder playing a marching tune.  (108kb) Arthur introduces his Great Grandfather that fought during the Civil War. (138kb)
jhs126y0506y.jpg (112kb)      


P.S. 110 - Learn About the USS Monitor
P.S. 161M - Learn About General Ulysses S. Grant
St. Stanislaus Kostka School - Learn About Gen. Wladimir Krzyzanowski (a Polish immigrant)
John Ericsson Junior High School - Learn About John Ericsson (a Swedish immigrant)
P.S. 34 - Learn About the Discovery of the USS Monitor
St. Cecilia School - Learn about Civil War Mascots
P.S. 31 - Learn about the Vivandiere, French Mary (a French immigrant)
St. Anthony of Padua School - Learn about Zouaves
P.S. 84 - Learn about Johnny Clem, children in the Civil War
P.S. 196 - Learn about the 54th Massachusetts & the Black soldiers of the Civil War

The Museum is not-for-profit with 501(c)(3) status.
FUNDING FOR THE 2004-2005, 2005-2006, 2006-2007 "Road Shows" WAS PROVIDED BY THE
Through a $50,000 Grant obtained by Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez


P.O. Box 220378
Brooklyn, New York 11222-0378

Janice Lauletta-Weinmann, President, Webmaster
George J. Weinmann, Webmaster

Copyright © 2002-2006 Janice & George J. Weinmann
All Rights Reserved.