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Swedish history: 1720-1905 (the s.c.nordic FAQ)
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The home pages for the Usenet newsgroup soc.culture.nordic
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Swedish history: 1720-1905


7.3.5 toward democracy

1718-72   the so called Age of Freedom

Political power shifts from the king to the Estates. (With the new constitution the incorporation of Scania and other conquered provinces is completed.) A two-party system develops and Arvid Horn, a Finnish noble man and one of King Karl XII's best militaries and administrators, became the most well-known Prime Minister, totally outshining the King Fredrik I who actually came on the throne as the consort of the abdicated queen.

During the period 1720-1738 Arvid Horn pilots Sweden between Russian and French conflicts, but resigns finally accused for weakness and exaggerated fear for wars. His party gets the nickname the "Nightcaps" opposed by the pride "Hats."

In the country the parish meetings are now established as deciding authority, electing priests, organizing common work and poor relief, and stating moral and juridical sentences (the latter without formal right). In 1742 the Estates confirm the democratic forms for decisions at the village meeting. The reason is unclear. The institution had worked well for many hundreds of years. Maybe the lords in the new more feudal southern provinces made problems, maybe the increase of crofters and impecunious caused tension.

1741-43   the War of the Hats

The French-minded "Hat Party" advocating aggressive foreign politics became a majority in the Riksdag and declares war on Russia. The war goes miserably and Finland is occupied by Russia.

In connection with the "War of the Hats" Dalecarlian distrust for the heavily bribed politicians erupted in a minor mutiny of the Dalecarlian regiment (Lilla Daldansen) and in a more serious uprising when a large armed deputation marched to Stockholm (Stora Daldansen) requesting the responsible for the war to be strictly prosecuted, the king's power to be restored, a Danish prince to be elected king, and thereby, in effect, the Nordic Union to be restored, which subsequently would restore the trade over the Dalecarlian border to Norway. The government fled in fear from Stockholm, some military troops refused to shoot on the Dalecarlians, but other troops attacked harshly.

In the peace treaty of Turku, Russia despite her military success agrees to gaining only fairly minor territories in eastern Finland under the condition the Swedish Estates elect the Russian-approved Prince-bishop Adolf Fredrik of Lübeck to heir to the Swedish throne.

Liberty of Press

Adolf Fredrik, who became king in 1751, was said to be relatively content with his limited power, but his wife Queen Lovisa Ulrika was not. In 1756 she initiated a failed coup d'etat. This leads instead to the king's signature on decrees is declared to be replaceable by a stamp - in practice it ment the abolishment of the king's right to veto governmental decisions.

Year 1766 the censure of printed matters is abolished. The campaign is led by the priest Anders Chydenius from Finland, and had at the diet 1761 gained support in all circles opposing the governing Hat Party, including the Court Party which wished to make the king's protests in the State Council publically known.

The censor of the last twenty years of governmental censure, mr Oelreich, had made himself impopular in all parties, including the governing Hat Party, known to be intelligent, stubborn and parsimonious. The salary of the censor was dependent of him approving works, and so he did, tired of orders and contra orders from the leading Hat politicians.

After the Caps having gained the majority in the Riksdag, the Liberty of Press was enacted and declared as constitution. An important part was making documents of the state administration (with few exceptions) publicly available, the "offentlighetsprincipen".

The proud principles are however successively violated. After one year the king's right of expressions over political questions is withdrawn. At the shift of majority from Caps to Hats again in 1769 it's the Hats who advocate the Liberty of Expression, but at power also they violate the letters of the constitution.

Scientific inventions and discoveries

(Most of the text in this section is quoted from the Swedish Institute's Fact Sheets.) With the Frihetstiden Sweden experienced not only a surge of political debate and curiosity, but also a surge of scientific curiosity.

Christopher Polhem (1661-1751) lived in an age when it was still possible for one individual to learn and to master a large proportion of human knowledge. Without question, he was among those who strived to be universalists. He designed lathes, clocks, tools and a wide variety of machines. During his 90-year life, Polhem turned out numerous inventions and ingenious designs. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he built his own machines and carried out many of his own projects.

Anders Celsius (1701-44), astronomer and mathematician, is best known today for the centigrade thermometer that bears his name and is now used in much of the world. But Celsius initially designated the boiling point of water as zero degrees and the melting point of ice at 100°. Later, Linnaeus (see below) is said to have turned this scale upside down. Celsius carried out a number of highly important astronomical measurements as well.

Carl von Linné (1707-78), born Linnaeus and known in English by the latter name, is mainly famous for the systematic classification of plants, animals and minerals presented in the work Systema naturae. Linnaeus made his first scientific journeys in Sweden, resulting in lengthy, many-faceted reports: he traveled to the province of Lapland in 1732, to Dalarna in 1734 and finally to Skåne in 1749.

He also sent his disciples to all corners of the world to collect specimens and report their observations: Anders Sparrman and Carl Peter Thunberg traveled to China; Sparrman and David Solander participated in James Cook's round-the-world expedition; Thunberg visited Japan; Johan Peter Falck explored the interior of Asia; Pehr Kalm traveled to North America; Anton Martin to the Arctic Ocean, Daniel Rolander and Pehr Löfling to South America, Fredrik Hasselqvist to Palestine and Peter Forsskål to Arabia.

Only in recent years has it been possible fully to appreciate Linnaeus's greatness as a scientist, especially as a botanist, and as a physician. His insistence on empirical evidence for all conclusions furthered the cause of the inductive method in the natural sciences.

Pehr Wilhelm Wargentin (1717-83) combined scientific talent with good organizational skills in leading the Royal Academy of Sciences to a position of stability and renown. He laid the groundwork for modern Swedish population statistics on the basis of a 1686 law requiring the Church of Sweden to keep records of births, deaths and people who moved into or out of each parish. In 1749 Tabellverket, a government agency for statistics headed by Wargentin, was established to compile this Church-collected material. As a result, Sweden (along with Finland, then part of the country) has the world's oldest official population statistics. Wargentin's agency was the forerunner of Statistics Sweden (Statistiska centralbyrån, SCB).

Carl Wilhelm Scheele (1742-86) began as an apprentice to an apothecary. Working on his own, he gained a broad knowledge of chemistry surpassing that of most internationally famous chemists of his era. Scheele devised many outstanding analytic techniques and was the first to verify that the same metal may go through different stages of oxidation. He discovered several chemical elements, among them chlorine and molybdenum, and isolated many other substances.

The split of the realm in two parts

The events leading forward to the split of Sweden in one Grand Duchy under the Russian emperor and one rest-kingdom under a French general is an often returning topic in the newsgroup. A relatively minute account of the circumstances will therefore be given.

1772-1809   the "Gustavian era"

Gustav III performs a coup 1772 (and restores absolute monarchy in 1789). The coup was planned as joint actions simultaneously in Stockholm, Finland and Scania. Despite failures of the plan Gustav has luck in Stockholm with support of the royal guard, and a changed constitution is approved by the Estates. Gustav's coup was very popular. People had become tired of the disadvantages of parliamentarism.

Gustav's rule is authoritarian and freedom of speech is step by step limited, but in the spirit of "enlightened autocracy" he pushes through many important reforms that the Estates had been unable to decide on during the Age of Freedom. Swedish economy strengthens, laws are made more humane, new towns and roads are built, the navy is reformed and arts are favored.

The attitudes at the royal court had been markedly discontent with the royal powerlessness after 1756, which was balanced by intense intriguing (and tries to influence the foreign powers which by bribes to the parliamentarians tried to control the Swedish politics). After Gustav's coup d'etat much of this intriguing atmosphere remained reinforced by disappointed nobles and courtiers (and the king's mother and brother) who had hoped for greater favors and advantages.

The Queen-widow Lovisa Ulrika also accused her son for the cold relations between King Gustav and Queen Sofia Magdalena from Denmark (married 1766) and his limited interest in the continuance of the dynasty. Surprisingly the birth of an heir, Crown-Prince Gustav Adolf, led to undisguised hostility between the king and his mother who didn't believe the child to be his. The king's choice of bed-mates were not much of a problem for his contemporaries. However quite another importance had endangering the legitimacy of the royal dynasty.

The conflicts at the court increased after Gustav Mauritz Armfelt from Turku /Åbo 1781 had been appointed Gentleman to the king. Armfelt had according to the noble critics far too much influence over the king.

The death of the queen-widow in 1782 did lead to slightly improved relations between the king and the nobility, but at the diet 1786 the nobility and the peasantry found each others as allied against the king's unrealistic plans for war. Concessions for demands from this opposition became necessary (for instance the State monopoly for distillation of spirits was revoked), and the king perceived the unusual cooperation between the lowest and the highest Estates as a personal betrayal. From 1787 it's again death punishment on critic of governmental actions.

1788-90   Gustav's war against Russia

Sweden attacks Russia hoping to reconquer eastern parts of Finland and Ingria ("Ingermanland"). The troops are poorly motivated, the war goes badly, a rebellion known as the Anjala-alliance rises among the officers in Finland and Gustav has to stop the Russian campaign. Meanwhile, Denmark attacks Sweden, but finds England and Prussia opposing all military actions in the Danish straits, and is forced to accept a truce. In June 1789 the war at the eastern front is continued, but with no significant advance on land and several defeats on sea. However, on July 9th 1790 in Svensksund on the Finnish coast, the Swedish navy achieves a glorious victory in the largest naval battle ever fought on the Baltic sea. After this Russia accepts a peace offered by Sweden. At the peace negotiations in Värälä Sweden's head representative Gustav Mauritz Armfelt manages to establish good relations with the Russians, on a personal level, and achieved a peace without ceding of territories.

Absolute monarchy

After the failed Anjala revolt the support for King Gustav had increased among the commoners. At a diet 1789 this was used to crush the noble opposition and (partly by illegal means) give the king absolute power. The conflict with the nobility is thereby reinforced. (As one of the consequences of this conflict the protocol from the noble Estate of the diet is printed in Russia's capital St Petersburg - while Sweden was in war with Russia.) Plans to overthrow the dictator seems to be approved also by Duke Karl, the king's brother, who was prepared to take up the crown.

Year 1792 Gustav attends a masquerade ball in Stockholm's opera despite several warnings about conspirators planning an assassination. Around midnight, he is mortally wounded by a certain J. J. Anckarström, and dies a couple of weeks later. During his illness he plans for the time after his death. Armfelt is entrusted the guardianship of Prince Gustav Adolf and made head of the council of regency.

Since the king doesn't die immediately it's not suitable to appoint Duke Karl to king. His supporters manage however to replace the dead king's arrangements. Duke Karl becomes a sole regent while the young Crown Prince Gustav Adolf is underage and Armfelt is sent far away to Naples as ambassador, and 1794 in his absence sentenced as traitor to lose name, citizenship and possessions. Until 1799, when the king had come to age and Armfelt was pardoned, he lived in Russia.

Russia was the grand and growing power of the 18th century. Adornment for Russia was common among the societal elites in the Nordic states. During the Age of Freedom both Russia and France spent huge amounts to bribe the parliamentarians of the Swedish Riksdag. After the French revolution only one big power remained for ambitious officers discontent with the options in the diminishing Swedish realm - Russia.


Russia had agreed in the treaty of Tilsit, July 5th 1807, to pressure Sweden to join the Napoleonic anti-British trade blockade. The new Russian capital would also need more of security, for instance by chasing the enemy from all of the coast around the Gulf of St Petersburg. But Sweden refuses to listen to the Russian ultimatums and scare-tactics and remains opposed to Napoleon. Eventually, when all diplomatic means have failed, Russia attacks Finland February 21st 1808. Due to intelligence reports the army in Finland was mobilized since three weeks, and initially the war goes according to the Swedish plans. But then the fortress Suomenlinna /Sveaborg surrenders bafflingly May 3rd 1808, after less than two months of siege.

When Russia on March 28th 1808 proclaimed Finland to have become "eternally incorporated in Russia" the educated class in Finland (i.e. clergy, landowners and administrators - all Swedish speaking) seems to have greeted this with satisfaction. The peasantry, however, dreaded to become enserfed as their Estonian neighbors had been. (The mother tongue of the peasantry was dominantly Finnish.) The abyss of distrust widened between the Swedish speaking upper classes and the peasantry in Finland (Finnish and Swedish speaking).

The state officials, formally still serving the Swedish Crown, had a hard time trying to convert the hostile farmers to supply the Russian military with hay and food after four years of crop failures, often also to hinder the peasants from attacks on the occupants, and even more troubles to convince about the advantages in swearing an oat to the Russian emperor Alexander, which was decreed after the surrender of Suomenlinna.

Instead the peasantry organized guerilla units, sometimes cooperating with the Swedish fleet and army. Two proclamations by high Russian officials in April and June, followed by the emperor's declaration June 17th 1808, promising not to change any laws or privileges, came not to be believed at once. At the same time the Russian army had been instructed to carry out public executions in case peasants were found with weapons. A peculiar method to try to make friends with hunters.

On Åland, for example, a rebellion starts May 6th with a capturing of the Russians guarding the main island, a few hundreds of men, and hinders thereby probably a planned invasion north of Stockholm. May 10th another 600 Russians are trapped by 450 peasants and the rottening ice. On other islands of Åland smaller troops were captured by the peasantry and delivered to Sweden.

Grand Duchy 1809

But with the winter the guerilla warfare stopped.
By the spring of 1809 the Finnish troops had surrendered, the main army had retreated half-way through Sweden and in the peace treaty of Hamina /Fredrikshamn September 1809 the whole of Finland was joined to Russia. The peace was anticipated by the diet in Porvoo /Borgå end of March 1809, where the Estates of Finland declared their will to come under Russian rule. The revolution in Stockholm, a few weeks before, must have made the decision even easier.

Armfelt is said to have been among the most eager advocates of the association with Russia - the modern and advantageous empire of this time. But he still also played a roll in Stockholm. After the creation of the Grand Duchy his influence grew, and after having been expelled from Sweden 1811 (i.e. for the second time) he became favorite and councillor for Alexander I whom he had met in Porvoo 1809 - if not before. According to Encyclopedia Britannica Armfelt contributed more than anyone else to the erection of the grand duchy as an autonomous state and to the improved relations between Russia and Sweden after the conference 1812 between Alexander and Crown Prince Karl Johan.

Revolution 1809

Sweden's losses 1660-1814
Territories lost 1660-1814 are marked by gray shades above

For the defense of Sweden's territories an extra conscription for an extra army had been made among males below the age of 26 years. Unfortunately their training was far too brief, and then at the fronts in the south and the west they were left with deficient support, why many died from hunger and freezing. Because of the disastrous war Gustav IV Adolf loses power in a coup d'etat March 13th 1809, and a new constitution is written that puts an end to Gustavian autocracy.

With the loss of Finland it is made evident that the strength of the Swedish army was far more depending on soldiers from Finland than her 27% share of the population would suggest. After 1809 Sweden has had no belief in its capacity as a military aggressor.

The constitution was signed June 6th 1809 by Duke Karl, again regent after the king had been dethroned. Duke Karl is elected king (Armfelt led the opposition advocating the Crown-Prince as the legal heir), and the Danish Prince Christian August, who led the Norwegian government and army, was elected to Crown Prince of Sweden - obviously with a Nordic union planned, but the Danish King Frederik VI opposed this idea, unless he himself was elected.

May 1810 the Swedish Crown Prince dies unexpectedly; his big brother accepts to succeed him, but suddenly a French Marshall Jean Baptiste Bernadotte announces his candidacy, and in solely ten days the state council, the king and the Estates change their minds. The election in August is unanimous.

In 1812 new wordings are settled for the constitutional Liberty of Expression and Publicity of Official Documents ("offentlighetsprincipen") - in a more liberal version than 1766. Theological censure is abolished, but newspapers have to be licensed by the government for another 40 years, and finally a contradiction gets hidden in a late compromise version: "Printed matters with expression causing misunderstanding with foreign power can be confiscated without judicial trial." Until 1939 this was never used, but then over 300 times to please the Nazi Germany.

Before that Sweden had experienced the last peasant uprising. In 1811 a thousand peasants had arrived at Klågerup's castle in western Scania to protest against the cruel noble master and against the calling up of new troops for the attack on Norway (with the failed wars of 1808/1809 in fresh memory, when the hastily summoned and barely trained soldiers died from hunger and freezing due to bad supply of food and tents). The threatening mob was driven away from the manor by military troops, and thereby 29 peasants were killed ( - this is the official figure, rumors say that most corpses had been taken care of by friends and relatives before the rest was counted by the military).

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King Carl XIV Johan
Carl XIV Johan
(formerly Jean Babtiste Bernadotte)

1814-1905 - Union with Norway

In return for its anti-Napoleonic stance, Sweden receives Norway in the treaty of Vienna, and the two countries are united in a personal union, with Sweden occupying a leading position.

During this period Sweden develops from a poor agrarian country, to a less poor agrarian country - and then industrialism begins. The old villages are divided, each farm get its fields collected; the democratic village meeting loses its function when each farm has its own fences. New methods and crops (potatoes!) are introduced by farmers now independent of the conservative neighbors' opinion. The life expectancy rise - as does the number of crofters and vagrants.

In the beginning of the 19th century the vodka consumption is the highest ever, estimated to 24 liters 100% pure alcohol per inhabitant. Paradoxally the slightly improved living conditions, as indicated by longer life expectancy, led to a new kind of misery with a growing number of peasants without property. The crofters, farm-hands etc form a rural proletariat which grows fast while becoming relatively all more impoverished. As a reaction Social-purity ideas grow, leading among other things to reforms of the mandatory schools, of the political representation and of the municipal responsibilities for poor. In 1860 it becomes again prohibited for ordinary citizens to make their own vodka.

In 1831 the newspaper Aftonbladet is founded, important because of its struggle to increase the freedom of the press. The king, King Karl XIV Johan at the time, had the right to retract permissions to publish newspapers. When Aftonbladet criticized the king, he retracted the publish rights - but the paper immediately reappeared as "The Second Aftonbladet", "The Third Aftonbladet" and all the way to the "28th Aftonbladet". 1838 the civil service officer responsible for revocal of the governmental license declares this method unfit and useless, and 1844 it's also formally abolished.

The revolutions in Europe 1848 were mirrored by disturbances in Stockholm. The mob engaged in window-smashing and throwing stones at the military. About 30 craftsmen, journeymen and apprentices were shot to death.


About one million Swedes moved to America during the years 1850-90, but the emigration slowed after 1900 because of improved conditions of living and increased industrialization. Norway, industrialized before Sweden, was an enticement on poor Swedes who couldn't afford the fare to America.


1845-1923   Women get equal rights in society


The Scandinavian democratic traditions develop in the working class - initially in the free Churches, the temperance movement (IOGT was established 1879) and the worker's unions which all grow to strong democratic forces. Education extension was an important part of their work. Debates and proclamations are made, from the 1870s public parades are organized to express the will of the people. In the end of the 1880s the Liberty of Press is modified to complicate revolutionary propaganda, which contributed to the conflicts between proletarians and the educated class.

The Social Democratic Party is founded 1889.

The question of free trade vs. protectionism (tullfrågan) was the big political issue of the 1880s, leading to radically increased participation in the elections. The issue developed to a Left-Right dispute where the free trade proponents were associated with demands for equal suffrage, social reforms and Liberalism in general. The Protectionists championed the Crown and the Army, being the base for the surge of Nationalism in the 1890s.

The free trade dispute was also connected with a political "scandal" given a lot attention: One of the Liberal candidates in the parliamentary elections 1887 turned out to have a minor tax debt. This led to lots of votes being declared unguilty, and the protectionists to gain the majority in the parliament. The Prime-Minister and his Cabinet resigned and was succeeded by Gillis Bildt, the grand-grand-grand-grandfather of Carl Bildt, Prime Minister 1991-94.

Industrial Inventions

(Most of the text in this section is quoted from the Swedish Institute's Fact Sheets.)

During the 19th century quite a few inventions were made and put in industrial production. Initially it had very little influence on the ordinary people's miserable conditions, but it is commonly believed that these inventions were the foundation on which the wealth of the 20th century was built.

In the 1870s, the Swedish engineering industry entered a period of expansion unparalleled before or since. The next few decades witnessed the creation of a number of companies that would gain a dominant role in Swedish industry. For the most part, they manufactured mechanical products, some so successfully that the engineers that invented them became the heroes of their era. Many of their names remain familiar in Sweden and internationally. Below a few of them are listed.

Jöns Jacob Berzelius (1779-1848) was among the first scientists to embrace Dalton's atomic theory. Using this as well as Gay-Lussac's gas law and other theories, he pursued the daunting task of working out the earliest table of atomic weights, which he published in 1818. With the aid of precise calculations, he determined atomic weights for 45 of 49 then-known chemical elements. He also introduced the simplified system of denoting the elements by one or two letters from their Latin names. In 1817 Berzelius discovered the element selenium, in 1823 silicon, and in 1828 thorium.

The pioneering work of Anders Jonas Ångström (1814-74) in spectral analysis forms the basis for this entire modern discipline. He analyzed the sun's chemical elements, and in 1868 he published a map of the spectral lines of nearly 100 elements. Ångström was also the first to measure wavelengths in absolute terms. For this purpose he introduced a basic unit, one ten-millionth of a millimeter, later (1905) named after him.

Alfred Nobel (1833-96) was only 29 years old when he patented a detonating cap for nitroglycerine and nitric acid, but nitroglycerine was still likely to explode on the slightest impact. In 1866 Nobel discovered that nitroglycerine flowing out of a broken bottle was absorbed by kieselguhr [a porous diatomite] which protected the container from blows. He noticed that the mixture was very stable and easy to handle, but retained its explosive characteristics. This marked the birth of dynamite, patented 1867.

Earlier explosives were dangerous to handle, and many people were killed or hurt in accidents. The revenues from Nobel dynamite factories in 20 countries rendered the inventor, who remained a bachelor, an enormous fortune. Alfred Nobel's will created the Nobel Prizes in physics, chemistry, medicine/physiology, literature and peace, to be given to those who had "conferred the greatest benefit on mankind" the preceding year. The Nobel Prizes were awarded for the first time in 1901.

After engineering studies in Göteborg and Zurich, Nils Gustav Dalén (1869-1937) became interested in acetylene for lightning. Appointed chief engineer of AB Gasaccumulator (AGA) in 1906, he was responsible for a series of important inventions: agamassa (a substance that absorbs acetylene, reducing the risk of explosions in the same way as dynamite works); a switch for maritime beacons; and the sun valve, which automatically turned on the beacon at nightfall and turned it off at dawn. The AGA beacon meant major savings in personnel and materials and made shipping safer along Sweden's long coastlines. In 1912 Dalén was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics.

In 1872, after jobs and studies in Sweden and Germany, Gustaf de Laval (1845-1913) began to concentrate on what would be one of his most important inventions, the cream separator. The first model was patented in 1878. In 1883 a company called AB Separator (later Alfa-Laval) was established to manufacture and export the separator. Laval also designed a milking machine, but his other great invention was a steam turbine with a resilient axle, which he completed in 1892.

John Ericsson (1803-89) showed great engineering talents from an early age. In 1826 he moved to England, where he designed the locomotive "Novelty" which competed with George Stephenson's "Rocket." He also developed caloric (hot air) engines, solar collectors and other mechanical devices, but his most important invention was the screw propeller for ships. Ericsson gained widespread fame by designing an ironclad vessel, the Monitor, which defeated the Confederate armored steamer Merrimac in 1862, during the American Civil War.

In 1876 Lars Magnus Ericsson (1846-1926) and a partner started the company that evolved into Telefonaktiebolaget L.M. Ericsson, today abbreviated Ericsson. It began manufacturing telephones in 1878 but soon ran into competition from the American-owned Bell company. Lars Magnus Ericsson was chiefly an outstanding entrepreneur, but he also made various improvements to early telephone equipment, designed switchboards and set up telephone networks. As early as the 1890s he established subsidiaries abroad, and Ericsson's products attracted international attention.

Carl Edvard Johansson (1864-1943) worked at the government-owned Small Arms Factory in Eskilstuna, where he discovered that the gage blocks being used there did not allow sufficiently precise measurements. So he designed sets of gage blocks of greater accuracy. His gage blocks from 1901 had a tolerance of one thousandth of a millimeter, and in 1907 he patented a gage block set with even finer tolerances. C.E. Johansson's gage blocks eventually played an important role in the Swedish and international engineering industry, particularly in the American automotive industry.

Johan Petter Johansson (1853-1943) discovered while working as a mechanic in an industrial plant that he and his assistants often had to carry around numerous wrenches for different nuts and bolts. So he came up with the concept of the universal pipe wrench (1888), and in 1892 he designed and patented the adjustable wrench (monkey wrench or universal screw spanner). He established a company that later became Bahco. More than 100 million monkey wrenches have now been manufactured by the company, now called Sandvik Bahco, and production continues. Throughout the world, about 40 million monkey wrenches of J.P. Johansson's model are produced annually. Johansson made a total of 118 inventions, several of them world-famous and still in production.

While only 16 years old, Birger Ljungström (1872-1948) invented and designed a bicycle that had a free wheel and a rear-wheel brake (still the most common type in Sweden). His first prototype, completed in 1892, was later mass-produced under the name Svea. He and his brother Fredrik Ljungström (1875-1964) invented high-pressure steam boilers and a new type of steam turbine, the Ljungström turbine (patented in 1894). Other important inventions were the turbine-powered locomotive and the air preheater.

Gustaf Erik Pasch (1788-1862), Johan Edvard Lundström (1815-88) and Alexander Lagerman (1836-1904) laid the groundwork for the Swedish match industry. In 1844 Pasch received a patent for the safety match. He replaced the hazardous yellow phosphorus found in the matches of that period with red phosphorus and put it on the striking surface instead of the match head. In 1845 Lundström and his brother started a match factory which adopted and improved Pasch's invention. In 1864 Lagerman designed the first automatic match fabricating machine, thereby opening the way to mass production of matches. His "full-service machine" produced both matches and match boxes, turning out filled match boxes that were ready for sale.

Together with a brother, Frans Wilhelm Lindqvist (1862-1931) developed the kerosene stove, which was patented in the late 1880s. In partnership with a factory owner, he began to manufacture the new stove, dubbed the Primus. About 50 million Primus stoves were made. A clever marketing specialist named B.A. Hjort was instrumental in the success of the Primus stove to which he enjoyed worldwide exclusive sales rights.

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- Is the text above really reliable?
- See the discussion in section 1.2.2!
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© Copyright 1994-2001 by Antti Lahelma and Johan Olofsson.
You are free to quote this page as long as you mention the URL.
The line of flags is modified after a picture at det Åländska skoldatanätet.
This page was last updated June the 14th in the year of 1998.

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