Alfred Bernhard Nobel was born on October 21, 1833, in Stockholm, Sweden, one of 8 children of Immanuel Nobel, and Andriette Ahlsell. Alfred's father was himself an engineer and inventor, but does not seem to have been very sucessful when Alfred was a young child because the family lived in poverty. Possibly due to their poverty four of Immanuel's sons lived to become adults. The field of science can be seen in Alfred's descendants, as well as his father. Olaus Rudbeck, the famous Swedish scientist was a relative of his.
Immanuel eventually moved to St. Petersburg, and started a business manufacturing explosives. Immanuel is credited with inventing modern plywood as well as working in the explosives industry. As his wealth grew he was able to send Alfred to a private school, but only for one year because Immanuel wanted him tutored at home. Alfred's two loves were chemistry and engineering, but he also excelled in foreign languages, and could speak four languages in all. Alfred also traveled to foreign countries to expand his knowledge. He studied in Paris for a time, and even worked with the Swedish - American inventor Jon Ericcson, in the United States, who is best known as the designer and builder of the Civil War Ironclad ship the U.S.S. Monitor.
Starting in 1857 Alfred Nobel patented a number of new inventions, including a gas meter, a detonator, and blasting caps. These triumphant milestones did not come without tragedy however, when on September 3, 1864, and explosion at the Heleneborg factory killed his brother Emil. In 1867 while looking for a safer way to use nitroglycerine as an explosive Alfred Nobel invented dynamite. Later he invented Gelignite and Ballistite as well. Overall he had about 350 patents by the end of his life.
Possibly because he was so driven in his work Alfred never married. He did have some loves however. There was a young Russian woman that he asked to be his wife, but his marriage proposal was rejected by her. He also had a " thing " for his secretary, the countess Bertha Kinski, but that did not work out either, and she went back to her former lover. His longest love affair was with the Austrian, Sofie Hess. They stayed together for 18 years.
The story of why Alfred Nobel decided to give out " prizes ", is an interesting one. In 1888, Alfred's brother, Ludvig, died in France, and a French newspaper published Alfred's obituary by mistake. Alfred, in the obituary, was condemned for inventing dynamite, and for inventing, " ways to kill more people faster than ever before. " After reading his own obituary, Alfred became worried about his legacy and how he would be remembered by future generations. Seven years later he made out a will that left most of his wealth to the establishment of the prizes that now bear his name that are awarded annually.
In the 1890's Alfred's health began to decline, and it is known that he suffered from angina. Alfred died on December 10, 1896 of a cerebral hemorrhage, and was buried in Norra begravningsplatsen, in Stockholm, Sweden. Alfred was a man who produced, what were at the times, high - tech weapons of mass destruction, and yet he was a man of science and technology, who had strong pacifist tendencies. He was a man of great contradictions, but a great man none the less ! He is another great addittion to our Germanic / Scandinavian history !
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love, and Thor's protection !