The Nobel Brothers

Start » Themes » The Nobel Brothers

The three brothers Robert, Ludvig and Alfred Nobel were among the most successful Swedish businessmen of their generation. Robert and Ludvig, and their sons, built up one of Russia’s most important companies, but through the vagaries of history they have undeservedly fallen into oblivion.

Ludvig Nobel enters the fight for oil

When Ludvig Nobel visits his older brother Robert in Baku in 1876, he is carried along by the oil rush, and he becomes involved in the expansion of the operation. Together with his other brother Alfred, Ludvig founds the company Branobel against Robert’s will. Ludvig takes over the running of the company with his sons Emanuel and Carl.

Emanuel Nobel is forced to leave everything and flee

Emanuel Nobel is 28 when his father Ludvig dies and Emanuel takes over the running of the oil company Branobel. His uncle Alfred was initially doubtful of Emanuel’s leadership ability, but his nephew developed as a business leader and made Nobel’s company flourish. With the Russian Revolution and the nationalisation of all private property, however, everything is lost and Emanuel is forced to flee the country in 1918.

The Nobel family returns to Baku

During the Russian revolution, the entire Nobel family’s huge company conglomerate was confiscated, and all the Westerners fled the country. But in Baku, history lives long in the memory. Following the fall of communism and Azerbaijan’s independence, contact was re-established with the descendants of the Nobel brothers.

Alfred Nobel criticises the brothers’ management of the oil company

Alfred finds himself in Paris and needs to get back the money he has lent for his brothers' Ludvig and Robert's investment in oil extraction in Baku. Alfred is critical of how their joint company, Branobel, is being managed and there is intensive correspondence between Alfred and Ludvig. The are, however, reconciled at Ludvig's deathbed in Cannes in 1888.

The father, Immanuel Nobel – a passionate inventor

The father of the Nobel brothers, Immanuel, was an important inventor whose work interested him more than financial gain. When he was on the edge of bankruptcy, he sought a new future in St Petersburg where his fortunes were reversed. Among other things, he received the Tsar's imperial gold medal before he once again ended up in financial difficulties and was forced to return to Sweden in 1859.

Robert Nobel is against forming Branobel

Robert Nobel was the first Nobel brother with the sense to invest in oil extraction in Baku, but he was against forming a limited company. Despite this, his brothers Ludvig and Alfred went through with forming Branobel in 1879. Robert felt that he had been outmanoeuvred by his brothers and left Baku in 1880. He took a grand farewell with fireworks he had made himself...

Till toppen