Mårten Triewald (1691–1747)

Mårten Triewald was a merchant, engineer and amateur physicist who did much to introduce new technologies in Sweden in the early eighteenth century.

He was the son of an anchor smith who had migrated to Sweden from Germany. While in his twenties he visited London and attended lectures by John Theophilus Desaguliers (1683-1744), experimental assistant to Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1726-27) who was celebrated for his 20-session courses on Newtonian ‘Experimental Philosophy’ (i.e. physics).

Triewald gained experience of coal mining and of the use of steam engines for draining mines while staying near Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He returned to Sweden in 1726 and the following year erected the country’s first steam engine at the celebrated iron ore mine at Dannemora. It was unsuccessful, but the engine house still stands and is the focus of visits to the mine and to nearby Österby Bruk. Having returned to Sweden Triewald gave public lectures modelled on those of Desaguliers.

He was elected in 1729 to the Kungliga Vetenskaps-Societeen I Uppsala (Royal Society of Sciences, Uppsala), and in 1739 was one of the six founders of the Kungliga Vetenskapsakademien (Royal Swedish Academy of Science). He was also elected a fellow of the Royal Society of London.

His villa (malmgård) still stands in the Kungsholmen district of Stockholm.