Berndt August Hjorth - Stockholm, Sweden.

- the Manufacturing of tools, one      
 corkscrew and the creation of a worlwide
 company

In 1889 a young man opened a tool and machinery shop in downtown Stockholm. The adress was Klara Östra Kyrkogata no 5 - a lowend adress at the time. However, this was the start for a significant entrepreneurial achievement and creation of Swedish industrial history.

Berndt August Hjort was born 1862 in a tiny village close to Åbo/Turko in Finland. The family consisted of his parents and four sons. His father was born in Norrköping, Sweden. In early years the family moved to Sweden and lived in Norrköping and Södertälje.

When he was 15 the family moved back to Finland and Åbo. Once in Finland he started to work in a mechanical shop. He became responsible for tool repairs at the shop. The shop also had a ship building operation. Here he founded his interest for not only tools but also sailing and fishing.

The young man quickly moved back to Sweden when he was 19 in 1881. He was raised in poor conditions in the southern parts of Finland and wanted to build himself a new prosperous life abroad. He left for Sweden, at the time a country that started to emerge as a major industrial nation. He brought his savings along with him. Many Finns moved away from Finland to Europe and the US at the time.

Once in Sweden he started his company in 1889 by investing 500 swedish crowns into the business. Thus, it was not a heavy financial investments that made him successful but the feel for business. His main operation was retail sales of tools and other equipment. This has very much resemblence to the developments of Julius Slöör. His industrial career started in 1890 when he bought Enköpings Mekaniska Verkstäder. Now the business also manufactured equipment. However, he is not famous for any corkscrews. In fact as a retail distributor of corkscrews he is quite unknown. More about his corkscrew ventury at the end of the page. Mr Hjorth was not known at all for distribution of corkscrews. However, he seems to have sold at least one patented Qvarnstroem corkscrew.

Enköpings Mekaniska verkstäder’s main product line was wrenges. The founder of the company was Johan Johansson. He was an inventor and was granted patents for the early versions of the wrenges and pipe wrenges. Mr Johansson sold his shares in the company 1916 to Mr Hjort. Clearly, Hjort was not the inventor of the products. He was the businessman able to market Mr Johansson inventions. Their partnership was very successful creating a worldwide conglomorate of companies.

A few years later Mr Hjort made a joint ventury with Primus, a company that did gas stoves. In 1918 he bought 100 % of the company and located his holding company on Lilla Essingen, a small island in central Stockholm. The company grew by mergers and in 1954 the company got it's name BAHCO. Bahco is the initials of Berndt August Hjort and CO.

The company now made products for light tooling and equipments, but also airdriven and hydraulic heavy equipment. The company got world famous for wrenges in all different sizes. The company floated on the stock exchange in 1954.

Beginning av 1910 Mr Hjort lived in a big house with the famous address Villagatan 15 in Stockholm. He named his residence “ Villa Hjort”. The area is located in the diplomatic area in Stockholm. This was and is a very prominent area in Stockholm. Presently the adress is a diplomatic residence.

The industrial premises located on Lilla Essingen, Stockholm.

Mr Hjorth was very interested in the Stockholm archipelago and bought himself a large summer house close to Vaxholm not far from Stockholm. Around 1920 he ordered a small yacht for luxuary roundtrips in the archipelago. He named the boat Sindra. I personally saw the boat end of 1960 th and also only a few years ago at a reunion meeting in 2007. The present owners has restored the boat to an absolutely mint condition boat. Sindra is more impressive than ever.

Mr Hjort was a very reasonable man as it seems. He cared for the population and wildlife of the archipelago, e.g he allowed less wealthy persons to build houses to live on his property. To the right is a picture from a surveying seizure in the archipelago as well as his summerhouse and the boat Sindra.

The familiar logotype was created by a company that Berndt August bought - Högbo steel. This company made wires for different application. One significant application at that time was fishing hooks. Mr Hjorth liked fishing in his spare time so a fish and a hook as logotype suited him perfect.

In 1991 the company was purchased by AB Sandvik, a global Swedish industrial conglomerate. Bahco was renamed to Sandvik Bahco. In 1999 the company was splitted and the tooling division was sold to Snap-on Incorporated U.S who is a global tool maker. The head office was moved to Paris and merged with a local French company. Bahco as independent company vanished and today Bahco is just a brand name in the SNA Europe portfolio.

However, Berndt August Hjort did not have to witness the death of his creation. Mr Hjort died in 1937. His son succeded him as managing director - and made it very well.

Berndt August Hjorth is one of the most important entreprenuers of Swedish industrial history. Companies like Bahco, Aga, Asea, Alfa-Laval, Volvo, Sandvik and Stora Kopparberg are companies that created much of the wealth of the Swedish nation.


Berndt August Hjorth in 1922. A friendly face of
a warm caring personality.

Mr Hjort was a man who cared about details
and the operation of the business. He clearly
was present on a daily basis and loved the day to day business.

" On revient toujours a ses premierers amours" is
a very valid summary statement about Mr Hjorth.

Below is the B.A Hjorth company mark on a corkscrew patented by Qvarnstroem. The corkscrew is based on Qvarnstroems second patent from 1896. I guess this corkscrew was retail sold until say 1910. Presently, there are only 6 known examples of the patent. This is probably the only CS retail marked by B.A. Hjorth and C.O. The CS is nickelplated - others known were just without the nickel finish. The corkscrew is in a fantastic condition - fully operational.

Qvarström's first patent is typically marked Julius Slöör and are common. The second patent is a superrare piece and we know only of two marked examples.

The summer residence close to Stockholm in 2013. Archipelago house Villa Hjorthagen.

S/Y Sindra. In harbour, Norra Latin sailing summercamp 1969.

Surveveying seizure, Husarö 1920. Mr Hjorth to the left.

A daycruise with Sindra 1969.

S/Y Sindra in 2007.The boat was ordered by Mr Hjorth and delivered in 1922. The ship have had a few later owners, but is now restored to a fantastic old time glory. Probably better than ever.

A diamant knot based on the anchoring rope of Sindra. Personally made 1969.

Mr Hjort was fond of leisure fishing. The logotype for BAHCO was a fish and a hook. This logotype suited him perfectly.

The mark for B.A Hjorth on a gas heater from BAHCO.

The retail mark for B.A Hjorth on the handle. This is one of two known examples. Thus, extremely superrare !

Sources:

Anell: Rememberance of the 40 year anniversity of BAHCO.

E V Gegerfelt: Large Swedish enterprises, vol 1 (1945)

The original 1896 patent filings for a direct pressure corkscrew.

The original patent sketches from 1896.