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Encyclopedia > Christopher Polhem
Christopher Polhem
Christopher Polhem, Johan Henrik Scheffel, 1741.
Christopher Polhem, Johan Henrik Scheffel, 1741.
Born December 18, 1661
Visby, Gotland, Sweden
Died August 30, 1751
Stockholm, Sweden
Residence Sweden
Nationality Swedish
Field Physics, Mechanics
Alma Mater Uppsala University
University of Harderwijk
Known for Göta Canal
Various inventions
Christopher Polhem on the Swedish 500 kronor bank note.
Christopher Polhem on the Swedish 500 kronor bank note.

Christopher Polhammar (December 18, 1661 - August 30, 1751), better known as Christopher Polhem , which he took after his ennoblement, was a Swedish scientist, inventor and industrialist. He made significant contributions to the economic and industrial development of Sweden, particularly mining. Image File history File links Christopher_Polhem_painted_by_Johan_Henrik_Scheffel_1741. ... In the Gregorian Calendar, December 18 is the 352nd day of the year (353rd in leap years), at which point there will be 13 days remaining to the end of the year. ... Events January 6 - The fifth monarchy men unsuccessfully attempt to seize control of London. ... Visby is the largest city on the Swedish island of Gotland;it is arguably the best-preserved medieval town in Scandinavia, and has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. ...   is a county and province of Sweden and the largest island in the Baltic Sea. ... August 30 is the 242nd day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (243rd in leap years), with 123 days remaining. ... Events Adam Smith is appointed professor of logic at the University of Glasgow March 25 - For the last time, New Years Day is legally on March 25 in England and Wales. ...   (IPA: ; UN/LOCODE: SE STO) is the capital of Sweden, and consequently the site of its Government and Parliament as well as the residence of the Swedish head of state, King Carl XVI Gustaf. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Sweden. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Sweden. ... The first few hydrogen atom electron orbitals shown as cross-sections with color-coded probability density. ... Mechanics (Greek ) is the branch of physics concerned with the behaviour of physical bodies when subjected to forces or displacements, and the subsequent effect of the bodies on their environment. ... Uppsala University (Swedish Uppsala universitet) is a public university in Uppsala, Sweden. ... The University of Harderwijk (1648-1811), also named the Guelders Academy, was located in the town of Harderwijk, in the Republic of the United Provinces (now: the Netherlands). ... Bergs slussar (locks) at Berg near Linköping, descending to lake Roxen Göta Kanal is a Swedish canal constructed in the early 19th century. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Polhem_on_the_swedish_500_kronor_note. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Polhem_on_the_swedish_500_kronor_note. ... ISO 4217 Code SEK User(s) Sweden Inflation 1. ... In the Gregorian Calendar, December 18 is the 352nd day of the year (353rd in leap years), at which point there will be 13 days remaining to the end of the year. ... Events January 6 - The fifth monarchy men unsuccessfully attempt to seize control of London. ... August 30 is the 242nd day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (243rd in leap years), with 123 days remaining. ... Events Adam Smith is appointed professor of logic at the University of Glasgow March 25 - For the last time, New Years Day is legally on March 25 in England and Wales. ... Image File history File links Sv-christopher_polhem. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... The physicist Albert Einstein is probably the most famous scientist of our time. ... An inventor is a person who creates new inventions, typically technical devices such as mechanical, electrical or software devices or methods. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Business magnate. ...

Contents

Biography

Polhem was born on the island of Gotland. His birth is not found in any official records such as church records, so the exact place of birth is unknown, but assumed to be Visby. Gotlandia, or Gotland, a historical Province or landskap, of Sweden. ... Visby is the largest city on the Swedish island of Gotland;it is arguably the best-preserved medieval town in Scandinavia, and has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. ...


Originally the Polheim family came from Austria to Pomerania, Germany, from whence his father, Wolf Christoph Polhammer traded with Visby, where he would eventually settle down to become a skipper. When Polhem was 8, his father died and his mother, Christina Eriksdotter Schening from Vadstena, Östergötland remarried. As a result of conflicts with his stepfather, his private tuition was no longer paid for and Polhem was sent to live with his uncle in Stockholm. In Stockholm he attended a German school until the age of 12 when his uncle died; once again Polhem was left without the possibility of education. Coat of arms of the Duchy of Pommerania Historic Pomerania (outlined in yellow) on the background of modern country borders. ... Visby is the largest city on the Swedish island of Gotland;it is arguably the best-preserved medieval town in Scandinavia, and has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. ... Skipper can be: A person who has command of a boat or ship: see Skipper (boating). ... Vadstena Castle Vadstena is a Municipality in Östergötland County, in southeast Sweden. ... (help· info) is a historical Province (landskap) in the south of Sweden. ...   (IPA: ; UN/LOCODE: SE STO) is the capital of Sweden, and consequently the site of its Government and Parliament as well as the residence of the Swedish head of state, King Carl XVI Gustaf. ...


He took a job as a farmhand on Vansta, a property in Södertörn, Stockholm. He quickly rose to the position of supervisor, being responsible for supervision and accounting, for which he was well suited by his affinity for mathematics. He worked at Vansta for ten years, during which period he constructed a workshop where he made tools, repaired and constructed simple machinery to earn money. Södertörn Södertörn is a roughly triangular peninsula in eastern Södermanland, Sweden, which is bordered by: Lake Mälaren and the Saltsjön Sea to the north, Himmerfjärden and Hallsfjärden to the west and The Baltic Sea to the east and the south. ...   (IPA: ; UN/LOCODE: SE STO) is the capital of Sweden, and consequently the site of its Government and Parliament as well as the residence of the Swedish head of state, King Carl XVI Gustaf. ...


Hungering for knowledge within his fields of interest, mathematics and mechanics, he soon realized that he would get no further without learning Latin. Self-studies were attempted, but given up; Polhem realized he needed a tutor. In exchange for constructing a complex clock, he was given Latin lessons by a local vicar. In the broadest sense, a vicar (from the Latin vicarius) is anyone acting as a substitute or agent for a superior (compare vicarious). In this sense, the title is comparable to lieutenant. ...


Word of Polhem's mechanical skill spread quickly and a member of the clergy wrote the professor of mathematics at Uppsala University, Anders Spole to recommend Polhem. Spole presented two broken clocks to Polhem and offered to let him study under him if he could repair them, Polhem repaired the clocks with no difficulty and began recovering years of lost education in 1687, at the age of 26. Uppsala University (Swedish Uppsala universitet) is a public university in Uppsala, Sweden. ...


He married Maria Hoffman in 1691, together they had two children, Gabriel and Emerentia. Events March 5 - French troops under Marshal Louis-Francois de Boufflers besiege the Spanish-held town of Mons March 20 - Leislers Rebellion - New governor arrives in New York - Jacob Leisler surrenders after standoff of several hours March 29 - Siege of Mons ends to the city’s surrender May 6...


In 1716 he was ennobled in gratitude of his services to the nation by the king and changed his name from Polhammar to Polheim, which he later changed to Polhem. // Events August 5 - In the Battle of Peterwardein 40. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ...


Polhem died of natural causes in 1751 in Stockholm. Events Adam Smith is appointed professor of logic at the University of Glasgow March 25 - For the last time, New Years Day is legally on March 25 in England and Wales. ...


Career

Industrial

16th century woodcut from the History of Olaus Magnus, purportedly depicting the astronomical clock in Uppsala Cathedral.
16th century woodcut from the History of Olaus Magnus, purportedly depicting the astronomical clock in Uppsala Cathedral.

According to Polhem's autobiography, the event that marked the beginning of his career was the successful repairs of the unfinished medieval (1500s) astronomical clock by Petrus Astronomus at Uppsala Cathedral, which had remained unfinished and broken for more than a century. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (858x402, 184 KB) Woodcut from the 16th century History of the Nordic peoples, by Olaus Magnus, supposedly depicting the astronomical clock in Uppsala Cathedral, which was later destryed in a fire. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (858x402, 184 KB) Woodcut from the 16th century History of the Nordic peoples, by Olaus Magnus, supposedly depicting the astronomical clock in Uppsala Cathedral, which was later destryed in a fire. ... Olaus Magnus, or Magni (Magnus, Latin for the Swedish Stora -- great -- is the family name, and not a personal epithet), reported as born in October 1490 in Linköping, and died on August 1, 1557, was a Swedish ecclesiastic and writer, who did pioneering work for the interest of Nordic... The Cathedral of Uppsala. ... ---- Events and Trends Leonardo da Vinci paints the Mona Lisa Spanish arrive in present-day Gulf of Mexico External links 1500-1524 Events 1500-1509 Events Categories: 1500s ... Prague astronomical clock Astronomical clock in Lund Cathedral An astronomical clock is a clock with special mechanisms and dials to display the relative positions of the sun, moon, zodiacal constellations, and sometimes major planets. ... 16th century woodcut from the History of Olaus Magnus, purportedly depicting the astronomical clock in Uppsala Cathedral. ... The Cathedral of Uppsala. ...


In 1690 Polhem was appointed to improve upon the current mining operations of Sweden. His contribution was a construction for lifting and transporting ore from mines, a process that was rather risky and inefficient at the time. The construction consisted of a track system for lifting the ore, as opposed to wires; the construction was powered entirely by a water wheel. Human labor needed was limited to loading the containers. Being new and revolutionary, word of Polhem's work reached the reigning king, Karl XI who was so impressed with the work that he assigned him to improve Sweden's main mining operation; the Falun Copper mine. Iron ore (Banded iron formation) Manganese ore Lead ore Gold ore An ore is a volume of rock containing components or minerals in a mode of occurrence which renders it valuable for mining. ... Charles XI (Karl XI) (November 24, 1655 – April 5, 1697) was King of Sweden from 1660 until his death. ... For the spiritual practise, see Falun Gong Falun is a city in central Sweden, in the province of Dalarna at 60°36´N 15°37´E. The town has about 35,000 inhabitants. ...

Enlarge
Falun copper mine as it looks today.

Funded by the Swedish mining authority, Polhem traveled throughout Europe, studying mechanical development, he returned to Sweden in 1697 to establish laboratorium mechanicum in Stockholm, a facility for training of engineers, as well as a laboratory for testing and exhibiting his designs, it is considered to be the predecessor of The Royal Institute of Technology. The laboratory was later moved from Stockholm to Falun and from there to Stjärnsund. In 1748 the collection of models used in the laboratory was returned to Stockholm. Image File history File linksMetadata Stora_stöten. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Stora_stöten. ... Events September 11 - Battle of Zenta, Prince Eugene of Savoy crushed Ottoman army of Mustafa II September 20 - The Treaty of Ryswick December 2 – St Pauls Cathedral opened in London Peter the Great travels in Europe officially incognito as artilleryman Pjotr Mikhailov Use of palanquins increases in Europe Christopher...   (IPA: ; UN/LOCODE: SE STO) is the capital of Sweden, and consequently the site of its Government and Parliament as well as the residence of the Swedish head of state, King Carl XVI Gustaf. ... The Royal Institute of Technology or Kungliga tekniska högskolan (KTH) is a university in Stockholm, Sweden. ...   (IPA: ; UN/LOCODE: SE STO) is the capital of Sweden, and consequently the site of its Government and Parliament as well as the residence of the Swedish head of state, King Carl XVI Gustaf. ... For the spiritual practise, see Falun Gong Falun is a city in central Sweden, in the province of Dalarna at 60°36´N 15°37´E. The town has about 35,000 inhabitants. ... Hedemora is a Municipality in Dalarna County, in central Sweden. ... Events April 24 - A congress assembles at Aix-la-Chapelle with the intent to conclude the struggle known as the War of Austrian Succession - at October 18 - The Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle is signed to end the war Adam Smith begins to deliver public lectures in Edinburgh Building of...


His greatest achievement was an automated factory powered entirely by water; automation was very unusual at the time. Built in 1699 in Stjärnsund, the factory produced a number of products, deriving from the idea that Sweden should export fewer raw materials and process them within their own borders instead. The factory was a failure; it met large resistance among workers who feared they would be replaced by machinery. Eventually most of the factory was destroyed in a fire in 1734, leaving only the part of the factory that produced clocks left. The factory continued producing clocks, known for their high quality and low price. Although the popularity of the clocks diminished during the beginning of the 19th century, clock-making continues to this day at Stjärnsund, still producing around twenty clocks of the Polhem design per year. Events January 26 - Treaty of Karlowitz signed March 30 - the tenth Sikh Master, Guru Gobind Singh created the Khalsa. ... Events January 8 - Premiere of George Frideric Handels opera Ariodante at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. ...


Another product from the factory was the Scandinavian padlock ("Polhem locks"), essentially the first design of the variation of padlocks common today. Economically, the factory was unfeasible, but the king at the time, Charles XII of Sweden, was supportive and gave Polhem freedom from taxes to encourage his efforts. A modern padlock. ... Carl XII, Karl XII or Carolus Rex, (June 17, 1682 – November 30, 1718), the Alexander of the North, nicknamed in Turkish as Demirbaş Şarl (Charles the Habitué), was a King of Sweden from 1697 until his death in 1718. ...


The factory of Stjärnsund was visited by one of his contemporaries, Carolus Linnaeus, who wrote about the factory in his diaries as Nothing is more optimistic than Stjärnsund ("Intet är spekulativare än Stjärnsund"). Carolus Linnaeus, also known after his ennoblement as  , (May 23, 1707 – January 10, 1778), was a Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist[1] who laid the foundations for the modern scheme of nomenclature. ...


Polhem also contributed to the construction of Göta Canal, a canal connecting the east and west coasts of Sweden. Together with Charles XII of Sweden, he planned the construction of parts of the canal, particularly the canal locks in the 1700s, not until 1832, long after his death was it finished under the supervision of his son, Gabriel Polhem. Bergs slussar (locks) at Berg near Linköping, descending to lake Roxen Göta Kanal is a Swedish canal constructed in the early 19th century. ... Carl XII, Karl XII or Carolus Rex, (June 17, 1682 – November 30, 1718), the Alexander of the North, nicknamed in Turkish as DemirbaÅŸ Åžarl (Charles the Habitué), was a King of Sweden from 1697 until his death in 1718. ... Canal locks in England. ... Events January 1 - Russia accepts Julian calendar. ... 1832 was a leap year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ...


Other major contributions made by Polhem were the constructions of dry docks, dams and as mentioned before, canal locks, which he designed together with his assistant and friend, Emanuel Swedenborg. U.S. Navy submarine USS Greeneville in dry dock following collision with a fishing boat. ... Scrivener Dam, in Canberra, Australia, was engineered to withstand a once-in-5000-years flood A dam is a barrier across flowing water that obstructs, directs or retards the flow, often creating a reservoir, lake or impoundment. ... Canal locks in England. ... Emanuel Swedenborg, 75, holding the manuscript of Apocalypsis Revelata (1766). ...


Other fields

Polhem was not only active within the field of mechanics, he actively wrote essays concerning medicine, social criticism, astronomy, geology and economics. This article is about the field and science of medical practice and health care. ... A cultural critic is a critic of a given culture, usually as a whole and typically on a radical basis; a social critic of a given society, but the overlap is large. ... A giant Hubble mosaic of the Crab Nebula, a supernova remnant. ... World geologic provinces Oceanic crust  0-20 Ma  20-65 Ma  >65 Ma Geologic provinces  Shield  Platform  Orogen  Basin  Large igneous province  Extended crust Geology (from Greek γη- (ge-, the earth) and λογος (logos, word, reason))[1] is the science and study of the solid matter of a celestial body, its composition... Face-to-face trading interactions among on the New York Stock Exchange trading floor Economics, as a social science, studies the production, distribution, and consumption of resources. ...


Other accomplishments

  • Can be found on back side the 500 Swedish kronor bank note, the front having a portrait of Charles XI of Sweden
  • Has several schools named after him.
  • Has an award named after himself, the Polhem prize (Polhemspriset), which is awarded to significant contributors to industry and construction engineering.
  • Reinvented the Cardan joint under the name of "Polhem knot" (Polhemknut) independently of Gerolamo Cardano, the original inventor.
  • Has a commemorative coin with his portrait on it, as well as a bust, which can be found in Visby.

A universal joint, U joint or Cardan joint is a joint in a rigid rod that allows the rod to bend in any direction. ... Gerolamo Cardano or Jerome Cardan or Girolamo Cardan (September 24, 1501 - September 21, 1576) was a celebrated Italian Renaissance mathematician, physician, astrologer, and gambler. ... Commemorative coins are legally issued coins with a denomination that are not usually meant for circulation. ... Bust of Richard Bently by Roubiliac A bust is a sculpture depicting a persons chest, shoulders, and head, usually supported by a stand. ...

See also

Emanuel Swedenborg, 75, holding the manuscript of Apocalypsis Revelata (1766). ...

References

  • (Swedish) "Kanalbyggare" (Swedish)
  • (Swedish) Biography at Tekniska museet (Swedish)
  • (Swedish) Biography on the site of the town Stjärnsund
  • (Swedish) History of watchmaking at Stjärnsund

Owl Edition This article contains content from the Owl Edition of Nordisk familjebok, a Swedish encyclopedia published between 1904-1926 now in Public Domain. From Nordisk Familjebok, resized and a little cut This image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired in the United States and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or more. ... The Owl Edition Nordisk familjebok (en. ... The public domain comprises the body of all creative works and other knowledge—writing, artwork, music, science, inventions, and others—in which no person or organization has any proprietary interest. ...


  Results from FactBites:
 
Christopher Polhem at AllExperts (1063 words)
Polhem was born on the island of Gotland, not being found in any official records such as church records, the exact place of birth is unknown, but assumed to be Visby.
In 1690 Polhem was appointed to improve upon the current mining operations of Sweden, his contribution was a construction for lifting and transporting ore from mines, a process that was rather risky and inefficiant at the time.
Polhem was not only active within the field of mechanics, he actively wrote essays concerning medicine, social criticism, astronomy, geology and economics.
Tekniska museet - uppfinningar, experiment, utställningar om teknikhistoria, Teknorama. (1287 words)
With tireless energy and enterprise, Christopher Polhem was active as both an entrepreneur and inventor in a country which, during his lifetime, went from being a major military power to a nation of scientific enquiry.
Polhem’s parents were Christina Eriksdotter Schening from Vadstena and Wulf Christopher Polhammar, a German merchant who had emigrated to Visby where Polhem was born in 1661.
Polhem thought that a technical laboratory ought to be an important part of the education of future engineers.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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