Institution upon a proposed 'cupola ship.' This ship was to carry no less than nine turrets each with a pair of guns in them. Ericsson's idea was not made public till a year later.
Each has been accused of plagiarising the other, and Coles especially has been so attacked; but probably each was working ignorant of the other. A quite novel idea, it has been noticed, usually occurs to two or three different people about the same time. Not, however, that the turret, except qua turret, was an absolutely novel notion, because the 'swivel gun' and the 'pivot gun' were existing ideas; and so long ago as the sixteenth century something of the nature of a turret had been proposed. Coles and Ericsson were, however, the first to build turret ships. The American Civil War gave Ericsson the benefit of a battle test and the resulting advertisement.
The Monitor quickly developed into the double turret ship with four heavy guns and there—so far as America was concerned—progress ceased. Improvements in detail were effected, but no further advance was made in the direction of evolution of the original idea.
The British at the time of the Monitor were building broadside ironclads armed with medium guns of only 12½ tons, but large numbers of these guns in each ship. At the same time, however, there was evolved a vessel which in many ways was nearly forty years ahead of her time.