Volvo Photo Locations Part 369
Polhemsplatsen is a traffic junction in the Stampen district in central Göteborg. Polhemsplatsen is located between Stampgatan in the south, Odinsgatan in the east, Burggrevegatan in the north and Åkareplatsen in the west. At Polhemsplatsen you will find the Göteborgs-Posten’s central editorial office and Scandic Crown Hotel.
Polhemsplatsen was named in 1883 after Christoffer Polhem. Christopher Polhammar (18 December 1661 – 30 August 1751) better known as Christopher Polhem, which he took after his ennoblement in 1716, was a Swedish scientist, inventor and industrialist. He made significant contributions to the economic and industrial development of Sweden, particularly mining. He was ennobled by King Charles XII of Sweden for his contributions to Swedish technological development.
His greatest achievement was an automated factory powered entirely by water; automation was very unusual at the time. Built in 1699 in Stjärnsund, the factory produced a number of products including manufacture of knives, locks and clocks. Development of the factory was derived from the idea that Sweden should export fewer raw materials and instead process them within their own borders. The factory met great resistance among workers who feared they would be replaced by machinery. Eventually most of the factory was destroyed in a fire in 1734, leaving only the part of the factory that produced clocks. The factory continued producing clocks, known for their high quality and low price. Although the popularity of the clocks diminished during the beginning of the 19th century, clock-making continues to this day at Stjärnsund, still producing around twenty clocks of the Polhem design per year.
Another product from the factory was the “Polhem locks” (Swedish: Polhemslås), essentially the first design of the variation of padlocks common today. Economically, the factory was unfeasible, but the king at the time, Charles XII, was supportive and gave Polhem freedom from taxes to encourage his efforts. The factory of Stjärnsund was visited by one of his contemporaries, Carl Linnaeus, who wrote about the factory in his diaries as “Nothing is more optimistic than Stjärnsund” (Swedish: Intet är spekulativare än Stjärnsund).
Polhem also contributed to the construction of Göta Canal, a canal connecting the east and west coasts of Sweden. Together with Charles XII of Sweden, he planned the construction of parts of the canal, particularly the canal locks in the 18th century; it was not to be finished until 1832, long after his death.