Alfred nobel

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Alfred nobel - Nobel-One of Strangest Figures ' OTOCKHOLM...
Nobel-One of Strangest Figures ' OTOCKHOLM When, on October 21, memo-rial speeches are pronounced in the Nobel Building here, and wreaths laid upon the grave in the old Storkyrka, In which He the ashes of Alfred Nobel, the centenary tribute will be paid to one of the most curious figures of tho nineteenth century. Nobel's memory will live. He made that certain by his will but it Is not yet clear whether the world best remembers him as the idealist who left $8,000,000 to reward those who most signally serve the cause of peace, literature and the sciences, or as the chemist who' gave almost the' whole of his life to the study and perfection of those deadly substances with, which men kill each other on battlefields. In each direction he was a pioneer. Big business men have given or bequeathed larger sums for educational, religious or social causes than Alfred Nobel ever possessed, but he was alone in thinking out as the beneficiaries of his posthumous millions individuals who had proved their claim to reward, rather than the anonymous masses whose only claim to help Is that they need It On the other side of his activities, the production of nitro-glycertne, dynamite, blasting gelatine, ballistite and smokeless powders, he was not only a pioneer but by common acknowledgment had no rival. The odd blend of practical inventive genius and romantic Idealism which marked Alfred Nobel appears in several members of the family. His father, Immanuel Nobel, was the inventor of submarine mines. The Russian government employed him as an engineer and it is said by the family that his mines kept the British fleet In the Baltic at bay during the Crimean War. He founded the first Nobel factory near St. Petersburg now Leningrad mainly for the manufacture of steam engines for the Russian Navy. Later in the hands of Wa sons, Robert and Ludwig, it flourished, but Immanuel Nobel never madi a business success of It and he returned to Sweden to dream of training seals to tow his submarine mines into the paths of worships and the construction of wooden pipe lines for the transport of corpses from cities to cemeteries. Sons Devoted to Mather ANDRIETTA Nobel, born Andriftta AhlselL the wife of Immanuel Nobel and the mother of Alfred and his brothers, probably gave to her successful sons that .soberness of outlook which made the difference between them and their over-imaginative father. She was a wise and devoted wifle and mother. Alfred, the first to become rich, pressed gifts upon her until her death. Alfred Nobel was born in 1833 in Stockholm in a poor quarter of the city. When he was eight years old his father moved the family to St Petersburg, and there Alfred and his brothers grew up. They had no formal school or university education, but received their instruction from private tutors. Alfred and his brothers were men of high culture and fine linguists, besides being accomplished specialists In their profession of engineering. Alfred in particular was a master of English, French, Russian and German, besides his nativs Swedish. Ragnar Sohlman, his friend, now head of the Nobel Foundation, says of him thai he wrote English better than Swedish. Among his literary remains Is a poem In English blank verse which shows not the slightest touch of a foreign hand. Of Alfred Nobel's early manhood little Is known. He travelled a great deal, spent much time In Paris, and is believed to have spent a year or perhaps two in the United States. Hie was in America In 1850, and in a letter mentions that he was associated there with his countryman, Captain John Ericsson, the designer of the "Monitor." In 1863, Nobel received his first patent for a nitro-glycerine explosive. He had devised a means by which nitro-glycerine in combination with other substances could be safely detonated in actual blasting operations. What he had not devUed was the means by which his new explosive could be safely handled or transported by inexperienced workers. The first, accidental explosion occurred In his own small factory In Stockholm in 1864. One of the victims was Eric, the youngest. of the Nobel brothers. There were numerous other accidents DYNAMITE REPLACES "5lL" THIS problem was solved by the substitution of a solid substance, dynamite as it cams to be called, for the fluid "oil." Dynamite was Nobel's own idea and he was richly rewarded. In a few years he had a dozen factories, manufacturing dynamite in Sweden, England, Germany, Russia, Switzerland, America and Italy. In the United States he had to Incur litigation concerning the validity of his patents and finally withdrew from production there. Meanwhile, fortune smiled on the whole family. His brothers Robert and Ludwig had obtained from tha Czar's government a concession for the exploitation of the snormoutly of Last Century rich petroleum fields of the Caucasus. This resulted In the formation of the famous Nobel Petroleum Company. It was highly successful from the beginning and Alfred Nobel, who had contributed a large share of the capital, earned fabulous profits. The flow of wealth from the Caucasian oil fields Into the coffers of the .Nobel family ceased only in 1917, when their concession and property were oonflscaetd by the Revolutionary government On the other side of his life, Alfred Nobel was a romanticist, an idealist, a spiritual child of the English poet Shelley. He wrote poems. He essayed his hand at a sentimental novel, which was never published. All day his Imagination worked in devices for destroying men. When he closed the door of his laboratory in the evening, he became a pacifist and a humanitarian. A LONELY MAN H E was a lonely man. He never married and, as far as is known, there were no women at all in his life, unless we count as ona an unnamed French girl who figures in the English poem already mentioned. If the poet Is to be trusted, it was an entirely spiritual and platonic affair. It is not clear how the idea of founding the Peace Prince first came into his mind. Bertha von Suttner, the Austrian pacifist, who was at one time his secretary, claimed the credit was due her. Judging from Nobel's correspondent this does not soem to be accurate. In one letter he says that his explosive factories will do more for peace than her conferences and congresses. In another he says that when two army corps can mutually annihilate each other the end of war will ba at hand. Bertha von Suttner. however, undoubtedly Influenced him. When Alfred Nobel died December 10, 198, the family fortunes stood so high that he could leave his money to strangers without qualms of conscience. His brother had become as rich as he was himself. He had every reason to believe ample provision would be made for his nephews and nieces. The family at the time took the same view, but all their fortune was swept away by the Russian Revolution. The Nobel Foundation did not suffer because Alfred's share In the company had been sold out 20 years before by his trustees. The survivors of the family, however, were left with nothing but such investments a they had made outside Russia, and their friends sow feel the Foundation should take care of Nobel's kin.

Clipped from
  1. The Winnipeg Tribune,
  2. 21 Oct 1933, Sat,
  3. Page 39

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