Carl Richard Nyberg
Creator of the Blowtorch
It's the birthday of Carl Richard Nyberg (May 28, 1858, – 1939) the Swede who created the blowtorch which in turn led to the flame weeder.
Nyberg worked in various industrial companies, eventually landing at J. E. Eriksons Mekanikus. While he was there, he came up with the idea for the blowtorch. He built a prototype complete with safety features.
Convinced he was on to something, he quit his job at Eriksons in 1882 and set up a workshop in Stockholm making blowtorches. Nyberg hadn't set up efficient production, and he didn't have a dedicated or trained sales team. It flopped.
Four years later, in 1886, he met a man named Max Sievert at a country fair. They struck up a conversation, and Sievert was savvy enough to know to realize the potential of Nyberg's blowtorch. Seivert started selling it, and Nyberg was back in business.
This time, Nyberg diversified. He made blowtorches as well as small paraffin oil and kerosene stoves.
Nyberg's company went public in 1906, and Nyberg gave his employees stock in the company. Known as "Nybergs snobbar" or Nyberg's snobs, Nyberg's employees were better off than their peers in other companies. In 1922 Nyberg's old friend, Max Sievert bought the company, and he continued to own it until 1964 when Esso bought it.
Although Nyberg worked on countless other inventions, his heart actually belonged to aviation. He became known as "Flyg-Nyberg" (Flying-Nyberg). For over two decades beginning in the late 1800s, he built and tested his plane, the Flugan (The Fly), on a circular wood track in his garden. Nyberg was the first to test his design in a wind tunnel and the first to build an airplane hangar. Despite his inability to get his invention to fly, the fact he attempted it at all was something of a miracle; Nyberg was afraid of heights.
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