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British Industrial History

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Ludwig Nobel

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Ludwig Nobel ( -1888)

1888 Obituary [1]

The engineering profession has suffered a severe loss in the death of Mr. Ludwig Nobel at Cannes.

The son of a Swedish engineer, who invented and placed in the channels of Cronstadt the "infernal machines" which annoyed Sir Charles Napier so much, he received a practical training as engineer, and notwithstanding a temporary check experienced by the failure of his father, he managed by hard work and economy to recover in time the iron works his father had lost, and extended them to their present proportions at St. Petersburg.

But it was less in his own profession than outside it that he was destined to achieve distinction, although it was his engineering capacity that equipped him for the revolution he accomplished in the oil trade. In this respect his career was a striking illustration of the influence a modern engineer can exercise upon a purely commercial pursuit.

Quite by chance, in 1876, he was led by his brother, whom he had sent to the Caucasus in search of walnut wood for the stocks of the Berdan rifles he was manufacturing for the Government, to invest a few thousands in a small Baku oil refinery. This failing to yield much profit, owing to the difficulties of transport, Mr. Ludwig Nobel applied himself seriously to solve some of them, and by degrees was drawn completely into the petroleum business....[more]

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