Why Famous: Nobel was the owner of Bofors, a company which he redirected from iron and steel production into arms manufacture. He held a vast array of patents, with dynamite being the most well-known. As a result of his talent as an inventor and business acumen, Nobel became very wealthy.
When his brother Ludvig died while in France, a French newspaper accidentally published an obituary for him instead. It referred to him as the 'merchant of death' and said: "Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday." Upon reading this, Nobel sought to rehabilitate his legacy and this gave rise to the idea of creating a foundation to award Nobel Prizes—including the Nobel Peace Prize. Towards this end, he left 94% of his assets in a fund to establish this.
Nobel Patents Dynamite
Explosive Background to the Nobel Prize
The Strange, Mysterious Story of the Balloon Expedition to the North Pole
- 1867-05-07 Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel patents dynamite in England, the first of three patents he would receive for the explosive material
- 1895-11-27 Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel's will establishes the Nobel Prize
- 1926-11-18 George Bernard Shaw accepts the Nobel Prize for Literature but refuses the prize money, saying "I can forgive Alfred Nobel for inventing dynamite, but only a fiend in human form could have invented the Nobel Prize."