Swedish inventor John Ericsson, creator of the ship propeller, was born July 31, 1803 in Långbanshyttan, Wermelandia, Sweden. He was a born artist, gifted at the drawing board, and his talent in this area eventually led him to explore engineering. He and his brother, Nils, were highly intelligent and were noticed by colleagues of their father, Olof, when they were teenagers. They were asked to assist in designing a canal, a project for which Olof served as a director of blastings. By age 14, John was a topographical surveyor.