Norway's Industrial Revolution|
Modem-day Norway has emerged as a result of the developments over the past 150 years. A major part was played in these developments by industrializations
and the revolution in communications. The engineering industry played a key role in both of these processes. It is therefore easy to understand why it
is given the credit for getting the wheels turning in Norway at the end of the last century.
The first mechanical workshops that appeared in the middle of the last century were small enterprises which concentrated on the domestic market.
Towards the end of the last century the boom in the timber industry marked the beginning of a long era of prosperity and progress.
The engineering industry kept pace with these rapid developments and in the course of 15 years the number of workers increased from 1,600 to 11,000.
Since then this industry also called the iron and metalworking industry has been one of the main branches of industry in Norway. It has been
called the industry behind industry because it supplied the machinery and equipment to build up other types of industry and communications.
It was the engineering industry that supplied steam engines, and sawmill and planking mill machinery for the timber industry, turbines and
grinding machines for the export timber industry and turbines for the expansive hydro-electric developments after 1905. This, in turn, laid
the foundation for today’s export-oriented electrochemical and electro-metallurgical industries.
We find this key industry behind developments in almost every area. Agricultural machinery and engines for fishing vessels, locomotives and tracks and bridges for the railways.
Shipbuilding was another cornerstone of this activity, providing ships up to 200,000 dwt for domestic traffic, for the merchant navy and for export.
In recent years, steel structures for the oil industry have largely replaced shipbuilding at the shipyards and here, too, Norwegian industry has
proved its ability to hold its own. Both trade unions and trade organizations can look back on about 100 years of activity. The Federation of Norwegian
Engineering Industries was founded in 1889 and the Norwegian Union of Iron and Metal Workers’ centenary was widely celebrated in February this year.
These two organizations have each played a major role in social developments in Norway and the Norwegian business sector will continue to be dependent
on the engineering industry, where electronics and technology have gained more and more significance.