LM Ericsson

Lars Magnus Ericsson was born under modest conditions in Värmskog, Värmland in 1846. Already at the age of 14 years, he had begun to work at smithies in the home area and in 1866 he arrived in Stockholm.

In the Swedish capital he was offered work at the instrument-manufacturing firm Öller & Co. Ericsson proved to be gifted and received government grants for studies abroad. He was, inter alia, given the opportunity to work an entire year at the electro-mechanical firm Siemens & Halske in Berlin.

On 1 April 1876, Lars Magnus Ericsson, together with his earlier colleague Carl Johan Andersson, started the company:

”L.M.Ericsson & Co. Mechanical workshop business. Lars Magnus Ericsson and Carl Johan Andersson”

Also Andersson had studied the science of manufacturing instruments abroad.

Originally, the firm only rented a kitchen of 13 square metres in the courtyard house on Drottninggatan 15 in Stockholm. The work tools consisted of two pedal driven lathes and the two companions employed an errand boy, Gabriel Bildsten.
In the beginning, the business mainly repaired fine mechanical devices for the fire brigade, the police and various railroad companies.

In the autumn of 1876, LM Ericsson built two new pointer telegraphs of their own design and before the end of the year, they had employed an apprentice. The kitchen was now too small and the operation moved to a small premises on Jakobsbergsgatan 23B.

One year on, at the end of 1877, the firm had 6 employees, including the two business partners and the young Bildsten. Once again they had to move to larger premises. In the house on Lästmakeregatan 29 at Oxtorget the firm also had access to a smithy of their own.
The time when Ericsson himself first made acquaintance with a telephone cannot conclusively be ascertained. According to the books, the firm imported telephones on several occasions, starting 4 March 1878.

The Evangelic National Trust’s cashier at time, civil engineer Henrik Ahlborg, has revealed that he was resident on Jacobsbergsgatan 11 in the autumn of 1877, just a few houses away from Ericsson’s workshop and that he helped out with various speech tests on a wire connected between them. We also know with certainty that Ahlborg, during the same time, had a wire connected between the Trust’s office on Mästersamuelsgatan and Norman’s book printer on Karduansmakaregatan.

The Trust’s remaining equipment shows, in any event, that a rudimentary telephone, made by Siemens & Halske in Berlin, was used and shortly thereafter, probably in 1878, that they received telephones made by Ericsson.
In Telegrafverket’s collections, now stored at the Technical Museum, as well ass in our own collection, and those of a few others, there are unmarked telephones that seem to be pure copies of the German device. They were probably made by Ericsson for experimental purposes, but the books do not reveal any sales of such telephones. The design is relatively simple and could, in practice, have a different origin.
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