Alfred Bernhard Nobel born on October 1833, was a Swedish chemist, engineer, inventor, businessman, and philanthropist; known for inventing the dynamite, and known as the merchant of death.
Just ask anyone and they will claim that his invention of dynamite was responsible for millions of tragic death.
What if I say it’s not?
His invention “the dynamite” is not responsible for the loss of many lives and he does not deserve to be called “the merchant of death”.
What if I say his invention was too overrated!
When Nobel’s brother Ludvig died in 1888, a French newspaper mistakenly thought it was Alfred who had died and published an obituary under the title “The merchant of death is dead.”
It was the journalists who have heightened or glorified his invention in a wrong way. It was them who failed to understand Noble’s invention, its practical applications and had misinterpreted the whole thing and presented a news with a bragging title which was no less than a half-baked truth!
Nobel might be the inventor of dynamite, but he is also equally important for inventing of the blasting cap, which has undoubtedly saved a great many lives. Dynamite was far safer to work with than the nitroglycerin it replaced, and the blasting cap provided the first precise and generally reliable method of detonating an explosive charge.
The most amazing fact is here: dynamite was never widely used as a military explosive. It is useless as a propellant and in its original formulation too unstable for most other military applications.
The nickname “merchant of death” was widely used for Nobel because he was also an arms dealer and owned the Bofors Company, which manufactured military weapons.
Bofors AB is a Swedish arms manufacturer. The name has been associated with the iron industry and artillery manufacturing for more than 350 years. Bofors’ most famous owner was Alfred Nobel, who owned the company from 1894 until his death in December 1896. Nobel played the key role in reshaping the former iron and steel producer to a modern cannon manufacturer and chemical industry participant.
Alfred Noble can be called “the merchant of the dead” for being the owner of the Bofors Company but not for his invention of the dynamite.