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First propeller raised from Atlantic depths

Jan 1, 2003

Up from the deep after 135 years, the propeller of the legendaryironclad steamship U.S.S. Monitor was recovered from the waters off Cape Hatteras in June.

The nine-foot-diameter, four-bladed iron prop was one of the world's first successful propeller designs and one of the many unique innovations on the 172-foot warship designed by Swedish-American inventor John Ericsson. The three-ton chunk of iron, partially corroded and encrusted in barnacles, was raised by Navy salvage divers from the wreck that lies in 230 feet of water.

Monitor, the Yankee ironclad that faced off with the Confederate ironclad C.S.S. Virginia (originally U.S.S. Merrimack) in March 1862, sank in a storm 16 miles off the coast of North Carolina later that year with the loss of 16 lives.

The propeller will be delivered to the Mariner's Museum in Newport News, Va., where other, smaller Monitor artifacts, including the vessel's unique four-fluke anchor, are on display.


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