the story so far
1848 A dramatic period, the start of the second Industrial Revolution, repeal of the Navigation
Act and the Crimean War. The first Olsen family ship-owner, Fredrik Christian Olsen, starts
operating two small Brigatin sailing ships in Hvitsten, a small village on the Oslofjord in
Norway. These very quickly grow to a fleet of three-masted Barks (a type of sailing vessel),
transporting timber and ice mainly to Britain.
1850-1860 Fredrik Christian’s brothers, both also captains, become ship-owners – Petter in 1852,
then Andreas in 1860 – adding more vessels to their combined fleet. After Fredrik
Christian dies in 1875 Petter continues the operation of his vessels.
1880 Petter’s son, Thomas Fredrik Olsen (Fred.), takes command of one of his father’s vessels at
the age of 23, becoming a ship-owner in 1884.
1892 Fred. Olsen purchases his largest sailing ship, the four masted full rigger, Morning Light
(later lending its name to the Morning Light Pub on board each of the current four ships).
1896 Fred. Olsen places an order on behalf of a newly-established company, A/S Bonheur, for
the first steamship in his fleet, Bayard – named after one of the vessels that started his
ship-owning career. The purchase starts a family custom that most of the Fred. Olsen
ships should bear names beginning with the letter ‘B’. This period can be seen as the start
of the third Industrial Revolution.
1901 Fred. Olsen acquires the Færder Steamship Company, a first decisive venture into the
passenger business. First passenger links with Grangemouth in Scotland.
1906 First passenger links with Newcastle established.
1914-1918 23 of the fleet of 44 ships are lost during the events of World War I.
1926 With the diesel engine powered Brabant, a new generation of passenger vessels
commences operation. Fred. Olsen & Co were among the very first to use diesel engines,
starting in 1914.
1933 Fred. Olsen dies and his sons Rudolf and Thomas Fredrik (Thomas) take over the running
of the business, the latter from the USA during World War II.
1936 Thomas introduces figureheads to modern ships.
1938 The Olsens introduce the Black Prince and the Black Watch, named in honour of England
and Scotland respectively.
1939-1945 Black Prince and Black Watch are lost in the turmoil of World War II, along with
26 other vessels.
1948 The start of the greatest and last Industrial Revolution; advances in every field
of human endeavour.
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