The name Karl Wilhelm Hagelin is associated with the Brothers Nobel Paraffin Company, specifically the activities of the Baku office. In addition to the documents preserved in archives, Hagelin’s own memoirs Min arbetsbana (My Career) is a unique window onto a Russian-Swedish life.
At the huge All-Russian Industry and Art Exhibition in Moscow in 1882, Branobel participated with a number of products related to the petrochemical industry, and won a bronze medal and a second prize. Among other things, visitors got to see huge oil burners for steam boilers.
Branobel showcased the company and its activities at Russian industrial exhibitions. In 1896, the last one was held in Nizhny Novgorod. The company’s pavilion was specially designed in a “Mauritanian” style, containing, among other things, a huge panorama over Baku’s oil field.
The Nobel Brothers’ Branobel had storage depots in virtually all the major cities of the Russian empire. The local offices had several important duties, mainly to keep the company management in St. Petersburg informed of all outgoing and incoming production through reports and other documents. The regional office in Moscow played a key role and was successfully managed by Knut Stepanovich Littorin.
The Moscow branch of Branobel was a key hub in the oil distribution network. But it also served a number of local customers. Many of these were private companies, but a substantial number were either organisations or government agencies.