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Last update 2021.06.21

MAXAM Foundation - Alfred Nobel - Around the world


In its March 11, 2004 issue, Forbes magazine published a ranking which, under the title of ‘The most influential businessmen of all time’, Alfred Nobel was listed in the eleventh position.

Undoubtedly the reason for this recognition is the continuing importance of the Swede’s research in the fields of chemistry applied to explosives for industrial, economic, and –therefore- social development. His role as a researcher was complemented by his role as entrepreneur, with his many patents, comprehensive database, and openness to establishing factories as start-up companies in many countries. 

In a lecture delivered at the Society of Industrial Arts in London in 1875, Nobel gave an overview of the factories he had launched with his explosives patents between 1865-1873 (on the map)*. 

Dynamite (1866) was not his sole great invention; the blasting cap (1863), and other products he developed afterwards, the practical application of which would play a fundamental role in the industrial production that was the foundation for the development of infrastructure seen across the world during the latter third of the nineteenth century.

He also developed products like gelatinous dynamite (invented in 1879 for use on very hard rocks, as well as wet environments), ballistite (a smokeless propellant and origin of propellants, created in 1887), nitrocellulose (created in 1892, for practical use both in the production of explosives and the processing of photographic material), and smokeless powder (developed in 1895, it was the foundation for the development of hunting and sports shooting cartridges).

One institution that came forth from this amazing source of knowledge,  application, results and contributions to society as a whole is MAXAM, the company which Alfred Nobel founded in 1872 in Galdácano under the name Sociedad Anónima Española de la Pólvora Dinamita. Privilegios Alfred Nobel (The Spanish Dynamite Powder Company. Privilege of Alfred Nobel).

Alfred Nobel. A biography’, Kenne Fant, Arcade Publishing, 2006.

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