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Johan August Brinell

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Johan August Brinell ( -1926)


1926 Obituary [1]

JOHAN AUGUST BRINELL died from pneumonia on November 17, 1925, at his residence in Stockholm, Sweden. He was born in Bringetofta, Smaland, Sweden, in 1849.

Dr. Brinell was one of the foremost metallurgists of the present day. Graduating from the Boas Technical School, he worked as a designer at various places.

In 1875 he was appointed engineer at the ironworks of Lespfors; here, influenced by Gustaf Ekman, the well-known Swedish pioneer, he devoted himself to metallurgy.

In 1882 he left Lesjofors, and was appointed chief engineer of the Fagersta Ironworks. In that capacity he became known in Sweden as well as abroad as one of the most prominent experts on treatment and qualities of steel.

In 1885 he published his classical paper on the textural changes of steel during heating and cooling, which excited an intense interest. His establishing of the critical point of steel and its importance in steel-treating is fundamental. Some subsequent results concerning the behaviour of steel at heating and cooling were exhibited at Stockholm in 1897, and in a more complete form, containing much useful information as to chemical composition and hardening of steel, at the World's Exhibition in Paris in 1900, where they occasioned a considerable sensation; a Grand Prix was awarded them, as well as the Polhem prize of the Swedish Technological Society.

At the Paris Exhibition Brinell also first presented his world-renowned method of hardness determination by means of a steel ball. An important work was done by him in elucidating the possibilities of using the North-Swedish ores in the Swedish iron manufacture. He also produced important work regarding the electrical blast-furnace, as well as regarding the utilization of peat.

In 1903 he was appointed to be the first chief engineer of the Jernkontoret, and worked there to the benefit of the iron industry until 1914. During this time he also worked as a co-editor of the Jernkontorets Annaler.

Dr. Brinell was a member of the Swedish Academy of Science in 1902; and received the honour of Doctor honoris caws at the University of Upsala in 1907, in recognition of his researches on the metallurgy of iron. In the same year he received the Bessemer Medal of the Iron and Steel Institute. A further distinction conferred upon him was the Rinman Medal, presented to him by the Jernkontoret in 1920, on account of an investigation on the abrasion resistance of a body.

Dr. Brinell possessed a great personal charm; he was very unpretentious and simple-minded, and is lamented by a great number of personal friends.

Dr. Brinell was elected a member of the Institute of Metals on December 28, 1922.- C. BENEDICKS.


1926 Obituary [2]

JOHAN AUGUST BRINELL died on November 17, 1925.

He received his early education at Jonkoping, and afterwards attended the Technical School at Boras. In 1875 he obtained a position as engineer with G. Ekman, engineer at Lesjofors, and it was here that he became associated with the Swedish iron industry, to which the remainder of his life's work was devoted.

In 1882 he accepted the position of chief engineer to the Fagersta Ironworks, which he filled with remarkable success, and it was here that he carried out the comprehensive series of investigations, the results of which established his reputation throughout the scientific world. He remained at Fagersta until 1903, in which year he was invited to accept the newly created office of Chief Engineer of Jernkontoret, which he held until 1914. It was, however, at Fagersta that he developed the genius he possessed. His first studies were concerned with the changes which take place in steel when heated, a subject which up till that time was little understood, and as the result of his investigations he published a paper in Jernkontorets Annaler on "Changes in the Texture of Steel during Heating and Cooling," in which he presented a scientific explanation of the phenomena observed in the heating and cooling of steel. His views were accepted by iron and steel metallurgists throughout the world, and the paper has since been regarded as a classic on the subject.

Brinell then directed his studies to determining the hardness of iron and steel and other homogeneous bodies. At the Paris Exhibition in 1900 he demonstrated to the world, for the first time, his method for testing hardness and other physical properties of iron and steel, and the apparatus with which the determinations were carried out, and in 1901 a full report upon the determination of hardness by indenting the surface of a material by means of a steel ball loaded to a certain pressure was published simultaneously in Jerakontorets Annaler and the Journal of the Iron and Steel Institute.

The report to the Iron and Steel Institute was compiled by Mr. Axel Wahlberg and presented in his name, and it was immediately republished in the technical papers of all countries. In recognition of the great importance of Brinell's investigations, which had led to results of such practical value, he was awarded the Bessemer Gold Medal of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1907. Later he published another memoir on "A Method for Measuring the Resistance to Wear of Iron and Steel and other Solid Bodies," and in recognition of the merit of this and of his earlier investigations he was awarded the Polhem medal of the Swedish Institute of Civil Engineers and the Rinmah medal of Jernkontoret. He received the honorary degree of Doctor of Philosophy of Upsala University, and was honoured in other special ways. In 1913 he served on a Committee of the San Francisco Exhibition, and in 1916 he became Chairman of Fagersta Forge and of the Peat Fibre Co. of Nasjii. Honours were also bestowed upon him by His Majesty the King of Sweden.

He was elected a member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1897.


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