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British Industrial History

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Thomas Stawford

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Based on Google translation of Wikipedia entry (link to Swedish source given below):-

Thomas Stawford was born on December 15, 1766 in Durham, England, died February 20, 1831 in Höganäs. He was a Swedish industrial pioneer who led the effort to build up mining operations in Höganäs.

Thomas Stawford was a respected mining engineer, with experience in machinery, building and transport, when at the age of 29 he emigrated with his family to Höganäs 1796. He was a versatile technician and specialist in coal mining and glass manufacturing, and was encouraged to emigrate by Swedish industrial spies in England, because Sweden wanted to launch their own coal mining industry, to fuel the steam engines that had started to become increasingly common in Sweden.

In 1797 he established the Höganäs Coke Works, now known as Höganäs AB . He was responsible for everything that belonged to the mining and transport. Under his leadership, in 1798 one of Sweden's first railways above ground was constructed (horse-driven). [The Google translation gives 'Thomas Stawford also established a city plan map of Höganäs 1813' but it appears that what Stawford did was to plan the town and its houses, Höganäs having previously been little more than a small village].

Thomas Stawford has left detailed diaries of 961 pages from the years 1795-1831, which is an important source for historical research. In them, it is clear that Thomas Stawford's life in Höganäs was one of extremely hard work, disappointments and personal tragedies. The company was constantly making a loss, and he did not get the appreciation and promotion to senior manager that he considered he deserved, and his close relatives passed away prematurely.

His wife Margaret died in 1819, his son John died in 1820, and his nephew Robert Stawford 1822.

Thomas died on 20 February 1831, and was buried in Väsby cemetery.

Stawfordska Sällskapet has commissioned the publication of Thomas Stawford's diaries, which are available on the Society's website. Available online (in Swedish) [2].

Swedish Wikipedia entry.

In 1802, as technical head (since 1797) of the Höganäs coal-mines, he took the bold step of entrusting the construction of a large steam engine with a 74-inch cylinder to two Swedish ironworks and foundries, Åkers Styckebruk and Söderfors Bruk, neither of which had any experience of this sort of work, rather than buying the engine from experienced makers.[1]


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. [1] STATIONARY STEAM ENGINES IN SWEDEN 1725-1806 by Torsten Althin