Interesting Facts About Alfred Nobel: The Inventor Of Dynamite

Alfred Nobel

Alfred Nobel

Alfred Nobel (October 21, 1833 to December 10, 1896) was a Swedish inventor, weapons developer, and chemist  who is best remembered for his invention dynamite. Sadly, this invention was first created with the purpose of making rock blasting safer for workmen but was then turned into a weapon; this prompted him to establish the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of humanitarian efforts.
His family began in fairly extreme poverty, but his father’s factory switched to making weapons for the Crimean War. Unfortunately, it was difficult to maintain this economic stability once the war ended and they switched back to making household goods.
Nobel was only in his twenties when he filed for his first of 350 known patents, this one for a gas meter.Nobel became interested in engineering and explosives at an early age, supported by his father, who was also an engineer. His father, who invented both the process of making plywood and the torpedo, influenced Nobel’s interests in science and inventing.
Here are 6 interesting facts about the life, achievements and inventions of the man who is responsible for the Nobel Prizes.
1. Alfred Nobel is the inventor of dynamite. Alfred Nobel invented dynamite in Geesthacht, Germany and patented it in 1867. It was the first safely manageable explosive. In dynamite, nitroglycerin was incorporated in an absorbent inert substance which made it safer and easier to handle. Initially Nobel considered naming it “Nobel’s Safety Powder” but ultimately named it after the Greek word for ‘power’, Dynamite.
2. The synthetic element nobelium is named after him. Alfred Nobel died of a stroke on December 10, 1896, in San Remo, Italy. Though he had a few love relationships, he never married. Just before his death, he wrote a tragic play titled Nemesis. The first Nobel Prizes were awarded in 1901, 5 years after his death. The synthetic element nobelium is named after him. The Monument to Alfred Nobel was created in his honor in Saint Petersburg.
3. When he learned about the newly discovered nitroglycerin, Nobel invented the remote detonator and the blasting cap. Following an explosion at his factory that killed five people (including his younger brother), Nobel focused on developing a safer explosive, resulting in the development of dynamite. He did this by combining nitroglycerin with diatomaceous earth, which made it less volatile and therefore safer to handle. Due to his incredible and lifesaving contributions to science and chemistry, one of the elements on the periodic table is named after him.
4. He was very interested in the study of explosives. Alfred left Russia at the age of 18. He studied chemistry for a year in Paris and then for four years in the United States. Alfred was interested in nitroglycerin, a highly explosive liquid too dangerous for practical use. When he returned to Russia after his studies, Alfred worked together with his father to develop nitroglycerin as a commercially useful substance.
5. He earned a lot of money through his invention of Gelignite. Nobel went on to combine nitroglycerin with other compounds. In 1875 he invented Gelignite or blasting gelatin which was easily moldable, safer to handle without protection and a more powerful explosive than dynamite. Patented in 1876, Gelignite was adopted as the standard technology for mining in the Age of Engineering bringing Nobel a great amount of financial success.
6. His brother Emil died due to an explosion caused by nitroglycerin. In 1863, Alfred Nobel and his parents returned to Sweden. On 3 September 1864, when Alfred was 29, a huge explosion due to nitroglycerin in the family’s Swedish factory killed five people, including Alfred’s younger brother Emil. This however didn’t deter Nobel from continuing with his study of explosives, especially of the safe manufacture and use of nitroglycerin.

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