Alfred Nobel

(1833-1896) Explosives magnate and founder of the Nobel Prizes. The Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel is famous both for his development of explosives and the endowing the famous prizes which bear his name.

Born in Stockholm in 1833, Nobel first developed nitro-glycerine in 1866. However, a fatal explosion at his factory (in which his brother died) led him to develop the safer explosive gelignite. 

In 1871, Nobel visited Scotland whilst searching for a new site to manufacture explosives. He found the perfect location at Ardeer sandhills, just south of Stevenston for the British Dynamite Company (later Nobel's Explosives Co.). It opened in 1873 and soon became one of the largest factories in the area, with over 12,500 employees at its peak. Although Nobel died in 1896, the Ardeer site remained a key manufacturing and research facility in the Nobel company until it became part of the new Imperial Chemical Industries group in 1926.

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