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Sweden and Finland.

Mineral science and mineral collecting flourished in Sweden, supported by a long succession of Kings and an active scholarly community, especially at the mining college in Stockholm and at the University in Uppsala. Mineral chemistry and chemical analysis in particular developed to a high degree in Sweden, such that by 1880, 22 of the 68 known elements had been discovered in Sweden, extracted from Swedish minerals by such pioneers as Brandt (cobalt, 1730), Cronstedt (nickel, 1751), Gahn (manganese, 1774), Berzelius (cerium, selenium and thorium), Arfvedson (lithium, 1818), and many others.

The Uppsala community was inspired by the leadership of their greatest naturalist, Linnaeus:

Linneaus (1707-1778)

Among Sweden's most illustrious men of science was Carl von Linne, known in academic circles by his latinized name, Carolus Linnaeus. Born the son of a country parson who loved flowers, Linnaeus set himself the task of establishing general systems of classification for all plants, animals and minerals. After some years of travel and study he became a professor of medicine at the University of Uppsala in 1741. His most influential works were in botany (his Species plantarum of 1753 described over 8,000 plant species), and he was the first person to work with a clearly defined concept of species. He invented binomial nomenclature based on genus and species (which other mineralogists tried unsuccessfully to apply to the mineral kingdom). The definitive 10th edition of his famous Systema naturae, including his taxonomic proposals for the Mineral Kingdom, appeared in 1758-1759. In 1753 he published a catalog of the plant, animal and mineral collection of his benefactor Count Carl Gustav Tessin (1695-1770), entitling it Museum Tessinianum and including in it numerous engravings of mineral specimens. Linnaeus helped found the Swedish Academy of Science, became a professor of medicine at the University of Uppsala in 1741, and was officially elevated to the nobility in 1762.

Linnaeus's personal collections grew to such enormous size that he had to have a special museum built for them on his estate at Hammarby, Sweden. A few years after his death his entire museum containing tens of thousands of pressed plants and thousands of minerals, shells, insects and books was purchased by James Edward Smith and transported to London where it served as the basis for the founding of the Linnean Society.

Johan Wallerius (1709-1785)

Wallerius, a colleague of Linnaeus at the University of Uppsala, had shown an interest in minerals by the age of 23. He studied the mining operations near Lund and began collecting minerals for his cabinet, which eventually grew to contain over 4,000 mineral specimens. His greatest work, Mineralogia eller Mineralriket (1747) appeared subsequently in French, German, Russian and Latin translations which secured his reputation and established his approach among the international mineralogical community. Never before had such a wealth of useful mineral data been presented in such clear and precise descriptions. His classification of minerals, based in part on Linnaeus's ideas, emphasized a combination of chemical and physical features. The final disposition of his mineral collection is unknown.

Axel Cronstedt (1722-1765)

Axel Friedrich Cronstedt was born in Stropeta, Sweden, and studied at the University of Uppsala, where he came under the influence of Wallerius, Sven Rinman and Georg Brandt. He soon developed into a first-rate mining expert and field mineralogist, visiting mines and smelting operations throughout the kingdom. He worked for a time as an assistant to Daniel Tilas (1712-1772) at the mining college in Stockholm, and was appointed director of the Bergslagen mining district in 1748.

Cronstedt pioneered the use of the blowpipe in mineral analysis, obtaining more accurate analyses than people had been achieving with other methods up to that time. In 1751 he discovered the element nickel (in niccolite). His research prompted him to publish his major work, a new system of mineral classification, in 1758; it subsequently appeared in German, French, English and Italian editions, becoming one of the most influential works in the history of mineralogy. Cronstedt was the first to emphasize the chemical uniqueness of minerals, to form a system of classification based almost entirely on chemistry, and to clearly distinguish between homogeneous minerals and mineralogically heterogeneous rocks.

Cronstedt's personal collection of about 3,000 mineral specimens, begun in 1746, was bequeathed to his son but was taken back by his widow when she remarried. She is said to have sold the collection and its manuscript catalog in 1803 to a wealthy Danish landowner living in Paris (probably Tonnes Neergaard), but its history thereafter is unknown.

Torbern Bergman (1735-1784)

Torbern Olof Bergmann was born in Katrineberg, Sweden, the son of Barthold Bergman, sheriff on the royal estate at Katrineberg. He received a conventional education, and also some private tutoring in natural history from Sven Hof y Skara, a teacher at the Skara Gymnasium, later a geologist at the mining college in Stockholm, and a mineral collector.

Bergman studied mathematics, philosophy, physics and astronomy at the University of Uppsala, graduating in 1756, and two years later earned his doctorate with a thesis on astronomy. He immediately joined the faculty of the University, teaching physics and mathematics, and succeeded to Wallerius's chair as Professor of Chemistry in 1767. He developed a growing interest in minerals, and his Physical Description of the Earth (1766) included a long account of mineralogy. In his classes he supplanted Wallerius's method of lecturing without demonstrations by providing two displays of minerals (probably from his own collection) arranged according to (1) composition and (2) locality. He taught his students not just chemical theory but also the new analytical techniques in mineral analysis pioneered by Anton Swab (1702-1768), Sven Rinman and Axel Cronstedt. He gave a full account of blowpipe technique in his De tubo feruminatoria (1779), and also greatly improved techniques for quantitative wet chemical analysis in his De minerarum docimasia humida (1780). He also made notable contributions to the early development of crystallography by demonstrating how the stacking of rhombohedral units could produce a scalenohedron. (Hauy later proposed the same thing but denied having known of Bergman's theories.) However, he made the mistake of attempting to classify minerals according to the Linnean system of classes, genera and species, defined strictly by composition, with varieties defined by appearance. This approach was the basis of his last major work, Meditationes de systemate fossilium naturali (1784).

During the many years of his mineralogical research Bergman developed a personal mineral collection of 3,900 specimens, which he drew on for classroom demonstrations and samples for analysis. He bequeathed the collection, along with his manuscripts and correspondence, to the University of Uppsala where they are still preserved.

Others at Uppsala

Olof Bromell (1639-1705) was a Swedish physician and botanist in Goteborg who developed a substantial collection of minerals inherited by his son, Magnus von Bromell (1679-1731), a physician and mineralogist at the mining college in Stockholm. After expanding the collection further, Magnus left it to his son who eventually donated it to the University of Uppsala.

Anton Swab (1702-1768), a pioneer in blowpipe analysis techniques, was a mine inspector, member of the Mining Council, Bergmastare at Skane and Kronoberg, and a prominent mineralogist and metallurgist. His "extremely beautiful and valuable collection of 4,000 specimens of minerals" was purchased by Uppsala University in 1751 for 18,000 riksdaler.

A third collection acquired by the University was that of Eric Swedenstjerna (1765-1825), Director of the Royal Natural History Cabinets in Stockholm, and also Director of Ironworking at numerous Swedish mining districts. His collection of 6,090 mineral specimens was purchased after his death by King Oscar I (1799-1859) and later presented to the University.

Royal Patrons of Uppsala

There was no shortage of enthusiasm among the royalty of Sweden for mineral collecting. King Gustavus Adolphus (1594-1632) had begun the tradition in 1632 when he purchased an ornate cabinet (Kunstschrank) from Philipp Hainhofer for 6,000 gulden. It was carefully stocked with interesting specimens from the plant, animal and mineral kingdoms. The king died that same year, and the cabinet was inherited by King Charles XI (1655-1697), who eventually donated it in 1694 to the University of Uppsala.

King Adolphus Frederick (1710-1771) possessed an interesting mineral collection, perhaps co-owned or merely inherited by his wife, Queen Louisa Ulrica (1720-1782). The king had gone so far as to have a published catalog prepared describing his specimens (Museum Adolpho-Fridericianum, 1746). Louisa Ulrica, a patron of literature and science and a friend of Linnaeus, passed the collection to the University of Uppsala in 1804.

King Charles XIII (1748-1818), and his eider brother King Gustavus III (1746-1792), sons of Adolphus Frederick, also had a mineral collection, perhaps obtained in part from their parents, which was donated to the University in 1804.

King Gustavus III (1746-1792) also collected minerals. His most elegant gift was a sumptuous cabinet, crafted in Paris in 1765 by Georg Haupt, which he filled with Swedish minerals and presented to Louis-Joseph, Prince de Conde (1736-1818) in France. It is still preserved at the Conde palace in Chantilly.

The Mining College

The Stockholm Bergscollegii, or mining college, attracted mining students from throughout the Kingdom, and developed over the years a substantial collection of minerals (preserved today in the Royal Museum, the Riksmuseet). Among the oldest collections it incorporated was that of Peter Cronstrom (1651-1708), a mine assessor who began collecting minerals in the 1670's. He eventually left his collection to his grandson, Baron Alexander Funck (1716-1797), Bergradet and field-collecting partner of Daniel Tilas (1712-1772). Baron Funck's collection eventually numbered 1,743 mineral specimens, obtained also from the Tilas, Tornehielm and Elias Brenner collections. It was purchased by Count Nils Bielke (1724-1792) in 1784 for 1,336 riksdaler; Bielke donated it to the mining college in the early 1790's, and it is still preserved there today.

Daniel Tilas's first collection had been destroyed, along with his house, in the Stockholm fire of 1751. But he built a new collection numbering 2,326 Swedish mineral specimens and 1,497 from foreign localities, including numerous examples of native gold, silver and precious stones; it was acquired by the mining college, but his manuscript catalog was later cut up into squares and the back sides used for writing specimen labels.

Gustaf von Engstrom (1738-1815), Bergsradet, chemist and numismatist, was hired as curator of the mining college's mineral collection in 1794. His personal collection, which he began in the 1760's, numbered several thousand specimens and included pieces from the Psilanderhjelm, Schroderstierna, Tilas, Sandel and Adlerheim collections. It was all purchased by Jarnkontoret for 30,000 copper thalers and was presented to the mining college.

Among the oldest collections received by the College was that of Thomas Blixenstierna (1711-1753), a Swedish mine assessor. Another collection donated was the 450-specimen suite of Spanish and South American minerals gathered by Carl Ehrensvard, a General Lieutenant in the Swedish Diplomatic corps in the late 1700's. The collection of Benet Andersson Quist (1726-1799), a mine assessor at the mining college, included 1,440 specimens of gem minerals, and was sold to the mining college for 3,092 riksdaler. Other mineral collections acquired by the college over the years include those of:

Pehr Adlerheim (1712-1789), Bergsradet Elias Brenner (early 1700's) Johan Burman (mid 1700's) Peter Cederbaum (1733-1795) Lars Engstrom (late 1700's), diplomat Erik Fleming (died 1679), geologist Johan Gahn (1745-1818), chemist Bengt Geijer (late 1700's) Johan Geisler (1758-1826), jurist Gustav IV Adolf (1778-1837), King of Sweden Johan Gyllenhal, Bergmastare Samuel Hermelin (1744-1820), Baron, mining assessor Peter Hjelm (1746-1813), curator at the mining college Sven Hof i Skara, geologist at the mining college Carl Leijel (1718-1786), Bergmastare Anders Lundstrom (1711-1793), Bergmastare C. J. Lundstrom, mining assessor Olof Naucler (1753-1832), jurist Anders Polheimer (1746-1811), Berghauptman Erik Printzskold (late 1700's), Bergmastare Psilanderhjelm, Nils (1706-1768), Bergrath Johan Reinius (1775?-1843) Samuel Sandels (1724-1784), Bergsradet Samuel Schroderstierna (1720-1779), Bergsradet Anders Sparrman (1748-1820), naturalist Anton von Swab (1763-1809), mine assessor Goran Vallerius (1683-1744), mine assessor

Among the most prominent mineral collectors associated with the mining college was Count Nils Adam Bielke (1724-1792), president of the College from 1782 to 1789. His collection, however, went elsewhere. In 1785 he donated 150 specimens to the Swedish Academy of Science, but the bulk of his great collection he gave to the Adelfors Goldworks in Smaland. In 1801 his widow, with government approval, reclaimed the collection and gave it instead to the Stora Mining Company in Falun, where it is still preserved today. It consists of about 7,000 specimens arranged in eight cabinets (seven of which are original), including several drawers of fine native silvers, many native golds, and other gold-containing minerals.

However, the most famous Swedish mineral collector whose collection has been preserved in the mining college is surely Jons Jakob Berzelius.

Jons Jakob Berzelius (1779-1848)

Berzelius was born in Vaversunda Sorgard, Sweden, the product of three generations of clergy on both sides of his family. His school grades in theology, however, were poor whereas he drew excellent marks in the natural sciences. In 1796 he began medical studies at the University of Uppsala, and was considered gifted but undisciplined. Inorganic chemistry and mineralogy were much more interesting to him, and it is in these areas where he eventually distinguished himself.

Berzelius's own mineral collection received a boost as the result of an English physician, Dr. MacMichael, who had come to study under Berzelius in his laboratory. MacMichael had undertaken the task of assembling a good, representative collection of Swedish minerals on behalf of the British Museum, and to that end had purchased a number of private cabinets from local estates. The duplicate specimens generated by this process he gave to Berzelius. Berzelius himself later presented specimens of berzelianite, yttrocerite and other recently discovered Swedish minerals from his collection to the British Museum in 1817, and sent a great many specimens over a 30-year period to Hauy in Paris. The rest of his collection is today in the Riksmuseet in Stockholm.

Berzelius is remembered primarily as one of the greatest mineral chemists who ever lived. He laid the foundations for the later discovery of new elements, and discovered cerium, selenium and thorium on his own, separating them from specimens in his mineral collection.

Other Collectors

Other prominent Swedish mineral collectors include Anders Christophersson (died 1804), a physician whose 10,000-specimen mineral collection was considered superior in quality to that of the mining college (it was probably purchased by a wealthy Danish collector in Paris named Tonnes Neergaard); Kilian Stobaeus (1690-1742), in Lund, whose mineral collection (studied by Wallerius) was acquired by the University of Lund; Anders Retzius (1742-1821), a naturalist whose geognostic collection went to the University of Greifswald; Wilhelm von Hisinger (1766-1852), a geologist and mineralogist whose collection was given to the Geological Survey of Sweden in Stockholm; Johann Ferber (1743-1790), a Swedish mineralogist who distinguished himself as a director of mines in Germany, and whose mineral collection was acquired by the Royal Mining Academy in Berlin; Urban Hiarne (1641-1724), a famous Swedish physician, chemist and geologist whose cabinet contained "beautiful minerals of all sorts"; and Anders Hedenberg (1737-1798), a physician who assembled a "complete series" of Swedish minerals.


Finland, ruled by Sweden throughout the 18th century except for a brief period of Russian occupation, was home to a number of scholarly mineral collectors. Aside from Eric Laxman, whose collection was acquired by the St. Petersburg Academy, they were all associated in some way with the Turku Academy in the old town of Turku (Abo in Swedish). The earliest of these was Herman Sporing (1701-1747), a professor of medicine, whose extensive mineral collection and library were purchased by the Academy after his death and became the foundation for the museum of natural history there. Johan Browallius (1707-1755), whose private collection was also purchased by the Academy, had planned to write a catalog of the Academy collection but was prevented by an early death at the age of 48. Carl Mennander (1712-1786), another professor, was an active proponent of field collecting; he donated all or part of his mineral collection to the Academy in 1775, before moving to Sweden to become an Archbishop. Pehr Kalm (1716-1779), a professor of "economy" (which at that time included the study of mineralogy), built a natural history collection including minerals from America, where he had collected from 1747 to 1751. The chemist and mineralogist Johan Gadolin (1760-1852) kept his personal mineral collection at the Academy. And Henrik Kalmeter, a mining councillor, sold his valuable collection of minerals to the Turku Academy in 1753 for 5,000 copper thalers. All of these historic mineral collections at Turku, the mineralogical heritage of a century of Finnish field work, were destroyed in 1827 when the Academy was leveled by the Great Fire of Turku.

It was deemed opportune at that time to move the entire institution to the new capital city of Helsinki. In 1832 the newly founded University of Helsinki purchased the mineral collection of Fabian Steinheil (1762-1831) in order to begin building a new mineralogical museum.
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Title Annotation:The History of Mineralogy: 1530-1799; mineral collectors in Sweden and Finland
Author:Wilson, Wendell E.
Publication:The Mineralogical Record
Date:Nov 1, 1994
Previous Article:Denmark and Norway.
Next Article:Spain and Mexico.

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