Thorsten Nordenfelt was a Swedish
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....
inventor and industrialist.
Nordenfelt was born in Örby outside Kinna
Kinna is a locality and the seat of Mark Municipality, Västra Götaland County, Sweden. It had 14,555 inhabitants in 2005.Kinna is located 30 km south of Borås and 60 km south east of Gothenburg...
, Sweden, the son of a colonel. The surname was and is often spelt Nordenfeldt, though Thorsten and his brothers always spelt it Nordenfelt, and the 1881 Census shows it as Nordenfelt. The family home in that year was Leinster Lodge on the Uxbridge Road, Paddington
Paddington is a district within the City of Westminster, in central London, England. Formerly a metropolitan borough, it was integrated with Westminster and Greater London in 1965...
in west London.
Thorsten worked for a Swedish company in London from 1862 to 1866 and migrated to England in 1867 when he married Emma Stansfeld Grundy.
Thorsten Nordenfelt and his brother-in-law started a small business to trade Swedish steel for British rails in 1887. Later on he founded Nordenfelt Guns and Ammunition Company, ltd to develop a machine-gun designed by Helge Palmcrantz
Helge Palmcrantz , Swedish inventor and industrialist. He was born in Hammerdal, in the province of Jämtland, as the son of a captain at Jämtlands fältjägarregemente. He was recruited as a cadet to his father's regiment, where he worked with land survey...
that would be referred to as the Nordenfelt gun
The Nordenfelt Gun was a multiple barrel machine gun that had a row of up to twelve barrels. It was fired by pulling a lever back and forth. It was produced in a number of different calibres from rifle up to 25 mm...
. His company also designed a range of anti-torpedoboat guns in calibres from 37 to 57 mm, that were produced in Erith
Erith is a district of southeast London on the River Thames. Erith's town centre has undergone a series of modernisations since 1961.-Pre-medieval:...
, Kent, Stockholm and Spain. Under pressure from Rothschild
Rothschild banking family of England
The Rothschild banking family of England was founded in 1798 by Nathan Mayer von Rothschild who first settled in Manchester but then moved to London. Nathan was sent there from his home in Frankfurt by his father, Mayer Amschel Rothschild...
Vickers was a famous name in British engineering that existed through many companies from 1828 until 1999.-Early history:Vickers was formed in Sheffield as a steel foundry by the miller Edward Vickers and his father-in-law George Naylor in 1828. Naylor was a partner in the foundry Naylor &...
his company merged with Maxim's in 1888 to form The Maxim Nordenfelt Guns and Ammunition Company
Maxim Nordenfelt Guns and Ammunition Company
The Maxim-Nordenfelt Guns and Ammunition Company was the result of a takeover by Hiram Maxim of Thorsten Nordenfelt's Nordenfelt Guns and Ammunition Company in 1888.-History:The company produced a range of light artillery, machine guns and ammunition....
After a personal bankruptcy Nordenfelt was forced out of the Nordenfelt-Maxim company in 1890 and left England for France, where his new company, Société Nordenfelt, designed the eccentric screw breech used on the French 75
Canon de 75 modèle 1897
The French 75mm field gun was a quick-firing field artillery piece adopted in March 1898. Its official French designation was: Matériel de 75mm Mle 1897. It was commonly known as the French 75, simply the 75 and Soixante-Quinze .The French 75 is widely regarded as the first modern artillery piece...
In 1903 he returned to Sweden and retired.
The public house known as Nordenfelt Tavern at 181 Erith Road, Erith was built to the design of Jonathan G. Ensor (1852/3-19??), architect for brewer Watney Combe Reid, in 1902 and is named after the firm whose workers frequented the bars in Edwardian times.
SubmarinesDiscussions between Thorsten Nordenfelt and the English reverend George Garrett led to the production of a series of steam powered submarines. The first was the Nordenfelt I, a 56 tonne, 19.5 metre long vessel similar to Garret's ill-fated Resurgam
Resurgam is the name given to two early Victorian submarines designed and built by Reverend George Garrett as a weapon to penetrate the chain netting placed around ship hulls to defend against attack by torpedo vessels....
(1879), with a range of 240 kilometres and armed with a single torpedo and a 25.4 mm machine gun. It was manufactured by Bolinders in Stockholm in 1884-1885. Like the Resurgam, it operated on the surface using a 100 HP steam engine with a maximum speed of 9 kn, then it shut down its engine to dive. She was purchased by the Greek Government and was delivered to Salamis Naval Base
Salamis Naval Base
The Salamis Naval Base or Naval Dock Salamis is the largest naval base in Greece. It is located in the northeastern part of Salamis Island and in Amphiali and Skaramanga. It is close to the major population centres of Athens and Piraeus....
in 1886. Following the acceptance tests, she was never used again by the Hellenic Navy
The Hellenic Navy is the naval force of Greece, part of the Greek Armed Forces. The modern Greek navy has its roots in the naval forces of various Aegean Islands, which fought in the Greek War of Independence...
and was scrapped in 1901.
Nordenfelt then built the Nordenfelt II (Abdülhamid) in 1886 and Nordenfelt III (Abdülmecid) in 1887, a pair of 30 metre long submarines with twin torpedo tubes, for the Ottoman Navy
The Ottoman Navy was established in the early 14th century. During its long existence it was involved in many conflicts; refer to list of Ottoman sieges and landings and list of Admirals in the Ottoman Empire for a brief chronology.- Pre-Ottoman:...
. Abdülhamid became the first submarine in history to fire a torpedo while submerged under water. Nordenfelt's efforts culminated in 1887 with the Nordenfelt IV which had twin motors and twin torpedoes. It was sold to the Russians, but proved unstable and ran aground off Jutland; when the Russians refused to pay for it, it was scrapped.
Abdülhamid and Abdülmecid were found by Germany in Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...
in 1914. The submarines were briefly considered for use in harbour defence but it was found that their hulls were too badly corroded.