Fred. Olsen... the story so far
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.
Fredrik Christian’s brothers,
both also captains, become shipowners
– 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.
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.
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
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
Fred. Olsen acquires the Færder
Steamship Company, a first
decisive venture into the passenger
business. First passenger links with
Grangemouth in Scotland.
First passenger links with
23 of the fleet of 44 ships are lost
during the events of World War I.
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.
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.
Thomas introduces figureheads
to modern ships.
The Olsens introduce the
Black Prince and the Black Watch,
named in honour of England and
Black Prince and Black Watch are
lost in the turmoil of World War II,
along with 26 other vessels.
The start of the greatest and last
Industrial Revolution; advances in
every field of human endeavour.
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