Carl Fredrik Bohnstedt, and the C.F. Bohnstedt Firm

by Thomas Allen Bohnstedt, California USA
     (the text of this page is my intellectual property. Please do not copy and repost without my written permission)


Pencil drawing of Carl Fredrik Bohnstedt, 1835


The Bohnstedts in the Seaport City of Stockholm

Sometime before 1804 Carl Fredrik Bohnstedt, the oldest son of Joachim Karl Friedrich Bohnstedt, relocated to Stockholm Sweden. Pomerania was under Swedish rule at the time, which would have made the relocation easier since he was born a Swedish subject.

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1-2. Carl Fredrik Bohnstedt
3. A view of Stockholm about 1840

Carl Fredrik made his living as a wholesale dealer, and was employed by the firm "Bibber & Co." in Stockholm. There he married Lovisa Albertine Moll, whose father was also a wholesaler, and no doubt was able to exert a positive influence on young Fredrik's career. In fact he was so successful that he established the firm of C.F. Bohnstedt, which was primarily concerned with the export of iron, and other metal and wood products to Southern European countries. This endeavor led to the acquisition of several ships; the "Svithiod", followed by brigs "Louise", "Albertina", "Johan", the schooner "Felix", and another ship of unknown type, the "Active"; six ships in all.

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1. Map of old Stockholm, showing No.8 Slottsbacken
2. No. 8 Slottsbacken, center of picture, light colored roof. Picture by Claes Bohnstedt, late 1990's.


The Iron Age

In 1810 Fredrik acquired the "Riddarhyttan" mining and ore processing company in Västmanlands county to the east from the Wretman family. The firm must have been originally founded by a nobleman, as is evident in the name; "Riddarhyttan". "Riddar" is the Swedish equivalent of the Danish "ridder" and the German "ritter", which means "knight", and shares a common origin with the English word "rider".

1. Iron and Steel in Sweden, 1920
2. The office building at Riddarhyttan, from Iron and Steel in Sweden, 1920

During the industrial revolution mining and ore processing was a crucial component of the economies of the industrial age world, in other words, Europe and North America. The Merchant Houses of Stockholm, by Leos Müller discussed importance of mining as investments in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries:

Kurt Samuelsson has examined the inventories of some Stockholm merchants in the eighteenth century. His analysis confirms the view that, also for other Stockholm firms, iron-works were the most desirable investment object. Table 8.11 [a chart was also provided in the original work] displays the compositions of the assets in the inventories for Thomas Plomgren (1756), Christian Hebbe (1767), Jean Henri Lefebure (1769) and one nineteenth-century merchant, Carl Fredrick Bohnstedt (1839).

1. The Riddarhytte Mansion, from Iron and Steel in Sweden, 1920
2. An aerial view of the back of the Riddarhyte Mansion, with auxiliary buildings, and a rail track, presumably attached to the rail system of the nearby mine. The date of the photo is unknown

With regard to the Riddarhyttan operations, the 1920 work Iron and Steel in Sweden states that

The mining operations were greatly extended during the Bohnstedt regime and an extensive system of canals was constructed to supply the mines with power. This system of canals was completed about 1830 and part of it has been in use up to within the last few years.

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1. The The Riddarhytte Mansion, circa 1901. One internet source says that the mansion was demolished in 1978.
The Merchant Houses of Stockholm, c. 1640-1800: A comparative study of early-modern entrepreneurial behaviour, by Leos Müller, 1998

Fredrik also acquired several other properties, the most famous of which was no. 8 Slottsbacken Street in old Stockholm. This property is significant because it is situated directly across the street from the Royal Palace in Stockholm, the traditional residence of the Swedish royal family. From No. 8 Fredrik could have walked just a few yards down the cobblestone Slottsbacken street to the docks to watch his ships leave and return from their sea voyages.

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1. Johan Carl Fredrik "Fritz" Bohnstedt , Carl Fredrik's eldest son
2. Pencil drawing of Louise Vilhelmina (Bohnstedt) Adelborg, Carl Fredrik's daughter, 1839
3. An early depiction of No.8 Slottsbacken; Bohnstedt House

Fredrik was not familiar at first with the management of a mining industry, but he learned quickly, and was soon able to take the management into his own hands. He completed some construction of the Riddarhytte facility which the previous owners had been forced to abandon because of financial problems. By doing so he was able to add a copper works to the original iron ore processing operation, which was completed in 1827. The copper works reached its peak performance in 1838, in which year Fredrik died.

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1-2. "Bohnstedt House", No 8 Slottsbacken Street, old Stockholm (Slottsbacken 8, 111 30 Stockholm, Sweden). Pictures by Claes Bohnstedt, late 1990's.

When Fredrik died, his estate and firm passed to his eldest son, Johan Carl Fredrik "Fritz" Bohnstedt, while the Riddarhytte mining company was given to his younger son Teodor Ludvig Bohnstedt. In accordance with Fredrik's wishes, his son, Karl, took on Nils Magnus Höglund as his partner in the management of the C.F. Bohnstedt Firm. Fritz died in 1849, and Höglund took over the firm in his own name. Höglund continued to improve the shipping ventures of the firm, and built it into Stockholm's biggest shipping company, until he died, when the firm was drawn into an economic crisis in the 1870s.

1. A more recent photograph of No.8 Slottsbacken.  No.8 now houses office spaces for lease.
2. No.8 Slottsbacken is on the left, second one up.  Bohnstedt house is directly across the street from the royal palace

3. Aerial view of modern Stockholm showing Slottsbacken street, with the royal palace, and No.8; Bohnstedt House



Book References:
- Aktiebolaget Svenska Teknologföreningens (Edited by). Iron and Steel in Sweden. 1920
- Müller, Leos. The Merchant Houses of Stockholm, c. 1640-1800: A comparative study of early-modern entrepreneurial behaviour. Studia Acadamiae Ubsaliensis, 1998. (ISBN 9155442331)


See Also:
1-9 /
Teodor Ludvig von Bohnstedt, and the Bohnstedt Nobility
1-39 /
Genealogy 1-3: Sweden
5-4 /
Appendix D: Ny Svensk Släktbok


Online Resources
https://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Fredrik_Bohnstedt (Svensk/Swedish)
https://sv.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Fredrik_Bohnstedt (Svensk/Swedish, mobile site)
https://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bohnstedt_%26_Bergmans_bomullsspinneri (Svensk/Swedish)
https://sv.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bohnstedt_%26_Bergmans_bomullsspinneri (Svensk/Swedish, mobile site)

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