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Thread: Iron Production in Sweden

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    Iron Production in Sweden

    The iron industry developed early in Sweden and Mobydalen was once an iron milling village using the water mill to drive the iron-making process. The shift to steel production meant the steel industry replaced iron and steel was then produced in steam-driven factories. But this small village continues to draw attention to the older ways.

    Mobydalen means the river Mo and the village of Moby - by in Swedish means village, still recognisable in English from the expression "highways and byways" - byways refer to village roads.

    I always thought Moby referred to Moby Dick, but this is not so, at least I don't believe it is. I am sure if it were this would be taken up by the villagers. The long poles they use for "log-driving", down the Mo River (Mo is an old word for mother).

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    Timber has always been a major product in Northern Scandinavia - Norway, Sweden and Finland - where pine grows naturally and is fast-growing. Its use is widespread, sent to the next process to pulp the wood (see pulp mill). This used to be very labour-intensive work, log-driving where log-drivers would use a variety of metal tools fixed at the end of a long pole to break up the dangerous log-jams that developed.

    Today, logs are cut up and sent south by trucks hauling two or three wagon-loads at a time. They are also sent south by trains hauling many timber wagons. These trains use the north-south line between Ljusdal and Gävle Port (the latter being on the Baltic Coast).

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    Log driving was also a big part of Canadian life on the Pacific coast where the rivers running through the Rockies were used to carry logs down to the mill towns in the valleys. Pulp mills are a feature of Quebec rural life where the tiny trees of the Canadian Shield are used to produce paper since they're not very suitable for lumber.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upsZZ2s3xv8

    Also, any mention of log driving always reminds me of this video from the National Film Board that was constantly shown on the CBC between programs when I was a child. (My mother didn't approve of American television)
    "If the national mental illness of the United States is megalomania, that of Canada is paranoid schizophrenia."
    - Margaret Atwood

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreamwoven View Post
    Timber has always been a major product in Northern Scandinavia - Norway, Sweden and Finland - where pine grows naturally and is fast-growing. Its use is widespread, sent to the next process to pulp the wood (see pulp mill). This used to be very labour-intensive work, log-driving where log-drivers would use a variety of metal tools fixed at the end of a long pole to break up the dangerous log-jams that developed.

    Today, logs are cut up and sent south by trucks hauling two or three wagon-loads at a time. They are also sent south by trains hauling many timber wagons. These trains use the north-south line between Ljusdal and Gävle Port (the latter being on the Baltic Coast).
    Intersting about the smaller trees on the Shield being used for pulping to make paper.

    Great video, btw, about the log-drivers' waltz - informative about breaking up the log-jams and very funny as well.

    I suppose many Canadians must have felt like your mother, wanting BBC TV. Same here in Sweden, we very rarely watch commercial TV the lengthy advertising breaks are a total put-off.

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    There was a major wave of immigration from Sweden to the USA, and also to Canada https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swedish_Canadians, though much later and not as numerous. Still, 800,000 Swedish Americans were recorded in the last three decades of the 1800s.

    I have the four-novel Moberg books (see below). It's in English.

    The best-known artistic representation of the Swedish mass migration is the epic four-novel suite The Emigrants (1949–1959) by Vilhelm Moberg (1898–1973). Portraying the lives of an emigrant family through several generations, the novels have sold nearly two million copies in Sweden and have been translated into more than twenty languages.[49] The tetralogy has been filmed by Jan Troell as The Emigrants (1971) and The New Land (1972), and forms the basis of Kristina from Duvemåla, a 1995 musical by former ABBA members Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus.

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    Transhumance was practised in Sweden until quite recently, and is still practised by the Lapps for their reindeer herds. Two homes, one permanent for three seasons, and one, Summer, maximised the use of land in mountain pastures during the haymaking season. There is still a road sign near our house showing the way to the local Fäbod.

    I am surprised at the extent to which Transhumance is practised around the world.

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    So far I have been discussing the Swedish iron industry in its old form, locally-produced and small scale, the Southern Norrland iron works of places like Mobydalen There are numerous other examples, all round Norrland Sweden. Here is a history of Swedish iron and steel-making since the middle ages: http://www.jernkontoret.se/en/the-st...teel-industry/. Here is another, also in English: http://www.tekniskamuseet.se/1/272_en.html (the Tekniska Museet is a Stockholm museum on Swedish technology and it history, a history of technological development:

    Pig Iron and Bar Iron
    As furnaces were built larger over time, they came to be called blast furnaces. The gallery displays models of various blast furnaces. The product from a blast furnace is called pig iron - iron with a high carbon content that is not malleable. Pig iron must therefore go through an additional process – refining – to become malleable. Various methods are used for refining pig iron The gallery shows a Walloon forge and a Lancashire forge. In the Lancashire forge from the mid 1800s, you can experience how the work was done at the hearth and see the gigantic dimensions of the tools used. The big hammer forge gets its power from a water wheel that you can just see in the background. The end product from the forge is called bar iron – a semi-manufactured product that can be worked into various kinds of products. Each ironworks had its own stamp hammered into the iron. The stamp allowed the authorities to monitor production throughout the country. It was important to the Swedish iron export industry that the quality was high. A bit further into the gallery, you'll find a large collection of iron stamps from ironworks through Sweden.


    This is not the place for a detailed discussion of steel-making technology, but as discussed in the above link the Bessemer Process was a British development that radically changed the industry. See this Wikipedia page on iron ore: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_ore.

    Swedish iron ore has always been of high quality. The ores are so pure that they can be picked up from the ground, even today. Of course, the ores need to be processed but the small amounts found in much of Sweden has forced industrialisation much further north. Towns like Umeå, Borlänge are towns that have steel processing on a large scale. Kiruna in the far north is primarily an iron ore mining town.

    Their populations have been declining, largely due to their remote locations but these industries remain growth points for the towns' future.

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