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EDISON'S IRON FAILURE

The electric light bulb was one of Thomas Alva Edison's great inventions, and together with a number of other inventions, made him a wealthy man. Edison was those days Elon Musk, but the inventor was obsessed with another idea, an idea that almost led him to the brink of bankruptcy:
Extraction of ore with electric magnets.

The obsession led him to sell his shares in the General Electric Ltd, and invested the money in two testing plants for his ideas: crushing iron ore rocks, and to separate the iron with strong magnets.

Mo i Rana, history, historie, Thomas Edison

The two factories in Pennsylvania and New Jersey did not cope with Edison's technology, and he had to close down after losing almost everything he owned. That was when he stated his legend:

- Well it is all gone, but we had a hell of a good time spending it. "

Near the brink of bankruptcy, Edison receives a letter telling of rich deposits of iron ore in "The Dunderland Valley in Norway". He doubts his obsession with magnetic separation of iron ore, and together with British investors he forms the company Dunderland Iron Ore Company with headquarters in London.

Total capital is enormous, and while the rest of Norway is busy seceding from the union with Sweden, a gigantic industrial building is being initiated in Mo i Rana.

The Edison Ore Milling Syndicate in the USA bought the rights to the ore, railway and plots in Mo i Rana for £182,000, and resold them at a substantial profit to the English contractor Standard Construction Corporation. This company became central in the establishment of the Dunderland Iron Ore Company which had to pay £ 700,000 for the valuable ore and the rights. The sum corresponds in today's money to 55 million British pounds. In addition, the English contractor was given the task of railway construction and construction of industrial buildings for almost the same amount.

Mo i Rana, history, historie, Thomas Edison

Through the sale of the ore rights and his bad patent, Edison corrects much of its finances. He invested heavily in the production of portland cement at the same time as large hydropower plants and skyscrapers ushered in it's era in America. Thomas Edison became again wealthy.

North of Mo i Rana, the construction of a railway was initiated to transport the ore down the valley for shipping by the fjord. Close to the ore, a giant crushing plant was built, powered by steam engines and electric motors, long before this was common elsewhere in Norway. For many, working in Mo i Rana became an alternative to emigrating to America. At most, close to 2,000 men were at work, people from the north and south, and from both from Norway and Sweden.

 

But after a short time in Dunderlandsdalen, the results from Pennsylvania and New Jersey repeats itself. The iron ore were rich, but Edison's technology was too poor, and after a few years of operation, the business was scaled down. The rights to extraction, buildings, railways and shipping facilities were sold, but to investors without capital for major technology development. In the following decades, several trials were carried out with test production, but the mining industry did not turn out to be the planned success. But the inhabitants of Mo i Rana had become acquainted with industry and a variety of forms of new technology. This was an important foundation for the industrial development that was to come later.

Mo i Rana, history, historie, Thomas Edison, DIOC, Dunderland

DIOC's briquetting and shipping facility by the fjord.

Lying in almost the same place Rana Gruber has their idustry plant to day,

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