Alfred Nobel – A Name That Needs No Introduction

Alfred Nobel born on 21st October 1833 in Stockholm, Sweden was a Swedish chemist, innovator, engineer, and an industrialist. He invented dynamite, Bofors and many more things which led to the technological revolution during his era. He invested a part of his wealth to posthumously start Nobel Prize.

Family background

Alfred Nobel was the fourth son of Andriette Ahlsell and Immanuel Nobel. His father, Immanuel Nobel was an inventor and engineer who constructed buildings and bridges in Stockholm, Sweden. During the construction work Immanuel Nobel used to try different techniques of blasting rocks. His mother Andriette Ahlsell belonged from a wealthy family. Due to the heavy loss in the construction work, Immanuel Nobel became Bankrupt in the year 1833, the same year Alfred was born. Then in the year 1837, Immanuel Nobel leaving his family in Stockholm, moved to Finland to start a new career. Meanwhile Alfred’s mother Andriette Ahlsell started a grocery shop in Stockholm in order to support and feed her family. Immanuel Nobel started a mechanical shop in St. Petersburg, Russia which manufactured equipments for the Russian Army. His new business became very successful and as a result of this he was able to bring his family to St. Petersburg, Russia in the year 1842.


After moving to Russia his father enrolled him and his brothers into the top school of Russia. Immanuel Nobel wanted his sons to join the family business as engineers after finishing their education. But, initially Alfred was interested more in poetry than chemicals. Noticing this, Immanuel Nobel sent Alfred Nobel abroad for a two years training program in chemical engineering. During the training program Alfred visited France, Germany, Sweden and United States. During his training program Alfred also met Ascanio Sobrero, the person who invented Nitroglycerine in Paris. Nitroglycerine is a highly explosive liquid with its explosive power much more than gunpowder but it is very unstable.


Because of the aforementioned property of Nitroglycerine Alfred Nobel became interested in it and started thinking about how to use it for practical use. In the year 1852, He returned back to Russia to join his family business, which was growing at an enormous rate at that time. But after the war ended the Nobel family again turned into bankruptcy and they returned back to Sweden in the year 1863. After returning back to Sweden He invested most of his time in experimenting with Nitroglycerine. He conducted various experiments to use nitroglycerine as an explosive. Finally, in the year 1867 Nobel succeeded in his experiments and invented Dynamite (a mixture of nitroglycerine and kieselguhr). He patented Dynamite under his name. In order to detonate or blast the dynamite rods he also invented a blasting cap or detonator which can be ignited by lightning a fuse.

As a businessman

Alfred Nobel was also a very successful Businessman and entrepreneur. By the year 1865, the market and demand for dynamite and blasting cap increased at an enormous rate. His factory in Krummel, Germany started exporting dynamite to other countries in America, Australia and Europe. He went on to establish around 90 laboratories and factories in more than 20 countries around the world. Apart from explosives, Alfred Nobel also focused on the development of other chemical products such as: leather, rubber, artificial silk, etc.

Personal life

Alfred Nobel had to travel a lot because of his vast business empire. But he spent a major part of his life in Paris.