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Richard Akerman

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Professor Richard Akerman (1837-1922)


1922 Obituary [1]

RICHARD AKERMAN, Honorary Member, died on February 23, 1922.

He was born in 1837 in Stockholm, where his father, Joachim Akerman, was professor at the Technical University.

In 1851 he entered the high school in Vesteras, and in 1855 the University of Upsala, from which he graduated as a mining engineer in 1860.

He then entered the service of the Department of Commerce and graduated from the mining academy at Falun in 1862. The next year he was accepted as a student in the metallurgical section of "Jernkontoret," and in 1864 he was made an assistant in the same section. Thus began the co-operation with the Jernkontoret which was to continue for so many years. He rendered valuable assistance to Professor V. Eggertz in the preliminary work of preparing a handbook on blast- furnace practice, and also prepared a complete index to the Jernkontoret Annaler, covering the period 1817-1864.

In 1865 he began a series of lectures on the metallurgy of iron at the mining academy at Falun, and in 1869 he was appointed instructor of mining and metallurgy at the Technical University, to which institution the higher education in mining engineering was transferred at that time. His career as a teacher of mining and metallurgy lasted until 1891.

In 1877 he was appointed assistant professor, in 1883 acting professor, and in the same year dean of the mining college. In 1874 he was instructed by the Government to inspect the mining schools in Filipstad and Falun. During 1866-1867 he studied the iron industries of this country, United States, France, and Austria. In 1868 he visited the steelworks in Upper Silesia, the Rhine Province, and Westphalia. In the same year he was appointed editor of the metallurgical section of the Jernkontorets Annaler, and from that time he was a constant contributor to the proceedings of that Society.

In 1872 he served as a member of the Swedish Committee at the exhibition at Copenhagen, and also acted as judge. He received similar commissions in connection with the world expositions at Vienna in 1873, Philadelphia in 1876, and Paris in 1878.

In 1891 he accepted the position of general manager and chief of the Bureau of Commerce, a position which he held until 1905. During that time he carried out many important public missions. He was appointed chairman of the committee for Sweden's participation in the World's Fair it Chicago, 1893; chairman or member of several committees connected with the Fairs in Stockholm in 1897, Paris 1900, and St. Louis 1904.

In 1899 he was appointed chairman of the conference for international investigation of hydrography and biology of the waters around Norway, the North Sea, and the Baltic. On the termination of his services to the Bureau of Commerce he was appointed chairman of the Committee of Industrial Protection, and served in that capacity until 1909. He continued to serve the Technical University as a member of the Board from 1890 to 1908. In spite of his other activities he found time to act as librarian of the Technical University from 1869 to 1874, and as a director of the Stora Kopperbergs Bergslag from 1874 to 1876.

In 1901 he became a director of the Stora Kopperbergs Bergslags Aktiebolag; in 1911 its vice-chairman; and in 1915 chairman of the Board of Directors, which office he held until 1917.

He was also chairman of the Board of Directors of the Stockholm-Vasteras Bergslagens Railway from 1899 to 1917. He was one of the trustees of the Nobel Institute from 1902 and its vice-chairman from 1908 until his death.

From 1894 to 1897 he was vice-chairman of the Board of the Technical University in Stockholm. He was the recipient of numerous foreign orders and was an honorary member of a number of leading technical societies in Sweden, United States and Russia.

He was elected an honorary member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1875, and in 1885 he was awarded the Bessemer Gold Medal for his services in connection with the development of the metallurgy of iron and steel. He took great interest in the activities of the Institute and acted for a number of years in the capacity of Foreign Contributor. In 1898, when the Institute visited Stockholm, he served on the Reception Committee, and was largely responsible for the excellence of the arrangements made whereby the success of the meeting was assured. He contributed the following papers to the proceedings, of the Institute:

"The Generation of Heat during the Bessemer Process," 1872. "The most Recent Advances in the Manufacture of Iron and Steel as Illustrated by the Paris Exhibition," 1878. "Hardening Iron and Steer, its Causes and Effects," 1879. "Caspersson's Converter-Ladle," 1880. "The Development of the Swedish Iron Industry," 1898.


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