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Swedish inventors

Is an inventor a special kind of person? We believe that everyone can be creative. On this page we tell the stories of some of the many swedish inventors. Certain inventors are world-famous, others are less known to the general public. You might be using a few of their inventions every day...

  • Christopher Polhem, 1661-1751. Painting by J.H. Scheffel.

    Christopher Polhem

    Christopher Polhem was an industrialist and inventor in a country that during his lifetime went from world power to scientific nation. In 1716, he was ennobled by King Charles XII of Sweden for his contributions to Sweden´s technological development. Christopher Polhem
  • Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772). Photo: Archives of National Museum of Science and Technology.

    Emanuel Swedenborg

    Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) was one of the greatest scientists of his time. He published many scientific writings and sketches for several groundbreaking inventions, including an early aircraft. In the mid-1740s, Emanuel Swedenborg became interested in spiritual matters and his reputation as a scientist suffered as a result. His scientific contributions did not begin to be rediscovered until the 20th century. Emanuel Swedenborg
  • Anders Celsius (1701-1744). Image: Wikimedia Commons.

    Anders Celsius

    Anders Celsius is perhaps best known for his Celsius temperature scale, which is used in thermometers throughout the world and for establishing Sweden´s first astronomical observatory in Uppsala in 1741. Anders Celsius
  • Samuel Owen (1774-1854). Photo: Museum of Science and Technology archive.

    Samuel Owen

    The “Founder of the Swedish mechanical industry" and  Swedish steamboat pioneer Samuel Owen was born in Norton-in-Hales in Shropshire, England, in 1774. He established a foundry and mechanical factory on Kungsholmen in Stockholm in 1809, where he developed several inventions, manufactured small and large steam engines and other products of cast iron, educated several pupils and started the first Swedish steamboat enterprise. Samuel Owen
  • John Ericsson (1803-1889).Image: Archive of National Museum of Science and Technology.

    John Ericsson

    The pioneer of the propeller and the armoured ship was a national hero in the US, but he was born in Värmland, Sweden and his first work experience was on the construction of the Göta Canal. John Ericsson
  • Göran Fredrik Göransson (1819-1900). Image: Wikipedia.

    Göran Fredrik Göransson

    Göran Fredrik Göransson founded the Swedish steel industry. He developed and improved Henry Bessemer´s method for making steel, increasing supplies of the metal so that it became part of everyday life. Göran Fredrik Göransson
  • Carl Frans Lundström (1823-1917). Image: Wikimedia Commons.

    The Lundström Brothers

    The Lundström brothers created the world-famous safety match and established Jönköping's safety match factory, which was a huge success. Matches are still referred to as Swedish matches in a lot of countries to this day. The Lundström Brothers
  • Alfred Nobel (1832-1898). Photo: Archives of National Museum of Science and Technology.

    Alfred Nobel

    Alfred Nobel invented dynamite and held the patent for 355 inventions during his lifetime. Alfred Nobel's will instituted the Nobel Prize, the most famous prize in the world. Alfred Nobel
  • Carl Daniel Ekman (1845-1904). Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

    Carl Daniel Ekman

    Carl Daniel Ekman was a Swedish civil engineer and inventor. He invented the sulphite process, a cheap way of producing paper from wood pulp. Thanks to his efforts, paper could now be produced on a massive scale. Carl Daniel Ekman
  • Wilgodt Theophil Odhner (1845-1905). Photo: Archive of National Museum of Science and Technology.

    Wilgodt Theophil Odhner

    Willgodt Theophil Odhner was an inventor and engineer. He invented a calculator and founded a factory in St. Petersburg in 1880. After the Russian Revolution in 1917, the company moved to Sweden. The calculator was a huge success and was manufactured until the 1970s. Wilgodt Theophil Odhner
  • Gustaf de Laval (1845-1913). Photo: Archives of National Museum of Science and Technology.

    Gustaf de Laval

    Gustaf de Laval was a productive inventor with vision. The steam turbine, the milk-cream separator and the milk-skimming machine were his most famous inventions. Gustaf was not quite as good at handling his finances, however, and died in extreme poverty. Gustaf de Laval
  • Lars Magnus Ericsson (1846-1926). Photo: Archive of National Museum of Science and Technology.

    Lars Magnus Ericsson

    Lars Magnus Ericsson was born into a farming family and had to work hard to survive. Later in life he was to become world famous for his major contributions to the development of the telephone. Telephone company, Ericsson, currently has thousands of employees around the world. Lars Magnus Ericsson
  • Johan Petter Johansson (1853-1943). Photo: Archive of National Museum of Science and Technology

    Johan Petter Johansson

    During his long life, Johan Petter Johansson held no less than 110 patents. Two of the inventions, the pipe wrench and the adjustable spanner, brought him world fame, and are still sold all over the world today. Johan Petter Johansson
  • Carl Edvard Johansson (1864-1943). Photo: Archives of National Museum of Science and Technology.

    Carl Edvard Johansson

    Carl Edvard Johansson´s invention was a set of steel pieces. This may not sound particularly exciting, but these small pieces of steel created modern industry. Carl Edvard Johansson
  • Waldemar Jungner (1869-1924).Image: Archive of National Museum of Science and Technology.

    Waldemar Jungner

    Waldemar Jungner dreamed of becoming an inventor and worked extremely hard despite his bad health. In 1899, he patented a battery that could run under extreme conditions. The company founded by Waldemar Jungner is still operating today. Waldemar Jungner
  • Gustaf Dalén (1869-1937). Photo: Archives of National Museum of Science and Technology.

    Gustaf Dalén

    Gustaf Dalén registered a total of 99 patents during his lifetime. He invented revolutionary systems for beacon lighting, founded Swedish industrial gas company AGA and continued to work even after a serious accident left him blind. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1912. Gustaf Dalén
  • Sven Wingquist (1876-1953). Photo: Archive of National Museum of Science and Technology.

    Sven Wingquist

    Sven Wingquist founded a whole industry. Spherical ball bearings, on which he took out a patent in 1907, conquered the world. Today Svenska Kullagerfabriken, SKF, is still a leading international company. Sven Wingquist

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Tekniska museet   |   Museivägen 7, SE 115 93 Stockholm   |   Tel + 46 8 450 56 00   |   Fax +46 8 450 56 01   |   info@tekniskamuseet.se