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Gustaf Erik Pasch (born Berggren) (September 3, 1788 ‚ÄĒ September 6, 1862) was a Swedish inventor and professor of chemistry at Karolinska institute in Stockholm and inventor of the safety match. He was born in Norrk√∂ping, the son of a carpenter. He enrolled at Uppsala University in 1806 and graduated with a masters degree in 1821. Pasch is mostly known for the safety match, but he was also involved with making waterproof concrete for the G√∂ta Canal, manufacture of bank notes and growing of silk worms.[1] He married Augusta Fredrika Vilhelmina Berg in 1827.[2]

In 1827, he was elected a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Safety matches

An igniting safety match.

The safety matches were mainly the work of two Swedish chemists; Jöns Jacob Berzelius, who invented the modern chemical notation, discovered that the dangerous white phosphorus in matches could be replaced with the more benign red phosphorus, but wasn't able to produce a match reliable enough for everyday use. Gustaf Erik Pasch, a student of Berzelius, manages to construct the match by both replacing the white phosphorus with red but also moving the phosphorus from the head of the match to a specially prepared striking surface. Pasch was granted a patent[3] on the safety match in 1844. Manufacturing was started at "J.S. Bagge & co:s Kemiska fabrik" (J.S. Bagge & Company's Chemical Factory) in Stockholm, but ran into difficulties due to the quality of the striking surface. Another problem was that the production of red phosphorus was prohibitively expensive making the final matches very expensive.[4]

Because of this, Pasch was unable to commercially exploit his invention and production soon ceased. It wasn't until John Edvard Lundstr√∂m and his younger brother Carl Frans, who took the Pasch design and improved on it that the safety match became commercially successful a decade later, around 1855-60. Lundstr√∂ms safety match got an award at the ‚ÄúWorld Exhibition‚ÄĚ in Paris 1855.

Later life

Pasch died without getting rich from the invention that would be the fuel of the Kreuger empire. He was however successful in his role as professor and a member of many prominent societies. From 1846 to 1861, Pasch published the annuals of the Swedish silkgrower society. From 1827 to his death he was the secretary of "Kungliga Patriotiska sällskapet" (The Royal Patriot Society).[2]

References

  1. ^ Karlsson, Petter , Ers√©us, Johan (2003). Svenska Uppfinnare. Max Str√∂m. ISBN 9789189204362.  
  2. ^ a b Herman Hofberg, Frithiof Heurlin, Viktor Millqvist, Olof Rubenson (1906). Svenskt biografiskt handlexikon. BONNIERS BOKTRYCKERI. pp. 271. http://runeberg.org/sbh/b0271.html.  
  3. ^ Patent, in those days was called privilege and was not as organized as today. The first patent office in Sweden was not founded until 1885.
  4. ^ Gustaf Pasch
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