Christopher Polhammar (18 December 1661 – 30 August 1751), better known as Christopher Polhem was a Swedish scientist, inventor and industrialist. He made significant contributions to the economic and industrial development of Sweden, particularly mining. Polhem was born on the island of Gotland in the small village of Tingstäde, situated northeast of Visby.
The beginning of his career was the successful repair of the unfinished medieval (16th century) astronomical clock by Petrus Astronomus at Uppsala Cathedral, which had remained unfinished and broken for more than a century. In 1690 Polhem was appointed to improve upon the current mining operations of Sweden. His contribution was a construction for lifting and transporting ore from mines, a process that was rather risky and inefficient at the time. The construction consisted of a track system for lifting the ore, as opposed to wires; the construction was powered entirely by a water wheel.
His greatest achievement was an automated factory powered entirely by water; automation was very unusual at the time.
Another product from the factory was the Scandinavian padlock (“Polhem locks”, Swedish: Polhemslås), essentially the first design of the variation of padlocks common today. Read more & watch the video…