Move Over Skarsgårds, Let’s Talk About The Ljungströms

Sweden

Move Over Skarsgårds, Let’s Talk About The Ljungströms

Today, we’re going to go way back. And, not ABBA back. We’re talking 1800s back.

Svea Velocipede exhibited at the Swedish National Museum of Science and Technology.

Sweden was (and really, is) a hotbed of talent and innovation, and for one family in particular, the family unit collectively held hundreds of patents for their inventions.

Say hello to the Ljungström family.

Between father Jonas and his two sons, Birger and Fredrik, the trio held hundreds of patents for inventions.

Jonas Patrik Ljungström, the family patriarch, was a cartographer by trade. He also taught at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. Given his profession, it should come as no surprise that one of his most successful inventions helped fellow cartographers with their work. Ljungström developed a distance tube to help measure and survey land – which was used until the 1950s.

Birger Ljungström received many designations from the Swedish Royal Academy, and his contributions to the field led the Swedish National Mechanics’ Association to name an award after him and his family.

Fredrik Ljungström, with Birger, helped pioneer the Svea Velocipede, a bicycle that used technology of free-wheeling hubs, a steam generator that became the fastest in Sweden, steam turbines, air preheaters and shale oil extractors – among others. Fredrik also started several companies to help with the commercialization of these products.

It also turns out Fredrik and Birger had a friendly intellectual relationship with a guy named Alfred Nobel. Not shabby company to keep.

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