Alfred Bernhard Nobel
First to invent. First to patent. Entrepreneur.
Birth: October 21, 1833, Stockholm, Sweden
Death: December 10, 1896, Sanremo, Italy
In 1866, Alfred Nobel discovered that mixing nitroglycerine with silica would turn the liquid into a paste which could be shaped into rods of a size and form suitable for insertion into drilling holes. In 1867 he patented this material under the name of dynamite. To be able to detonate the dynamite rods he also invented a detonator (blasting cap) which could be ignited by lighting a fuse. The market for dynamite and detonating caps grew very rapidly and Alfred Nobel also proved himself to be a very skillful entrepreneur and businessman.
Alfred Bernhard Nobel, Swedish chemist, inventor, and philanthropist, born in Stockholm. After receiving an education in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and in the United States, where he studied mechanical engineering, he returned to St. Petersburg to work under his father, developing mines, torpedoes, and other explosives. In a family-owned factory in Heleneborg, Sweden, he sought to develop a safe way to handle nitroglycerin, after a factory explosion in 1864 killed his younger brother and four other people. In 1866 Nobel achieved his goal; by using an organic packing material to reduce the volatility of the nitroglycerin, he produced what he called dynamite. He later produced ballistite, one of the first smokeless powders. At the time of his death he controlled factories for the manufacture of explosives in many parts of the world. His will provided that the major portion of his $9 million estate be set up as a fund to establish yearly prizes for merit in physics, chemistry, medicine and physiology, literature, and world peace.