Erik Eriksen (explorer)

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For other people named Erik Eriksen, see Erik Eriksen (disambiguation).

Erik Eriksen (born 1820, died 1888) was a Norwegian polar captain born in Lyngør in Norway. He later moved to Hammerfest, Norway. Eriksen invented the grenade harpoon used in modern whaling. He travelled to Tønsberg with a wooden model to commercialize the harpoon with the help of Svend Foyn. Svend Foyn patented and industrialized the harpoon. Erik Eriksen gained neither profits nor the honor for the invention, but Svend Foyn later helped out his family in Hammerfest after Eriksen left his wife and nine children and emigrated to the US, where he died in a blizzard in Dakota.

The strait Erik Eriksenstretet between Kong Karls Land and Nordaustlandet commemorates him.[1]


This article is based on "The Discovery of King Karl Land, Spitsbergen, by Adolf Hoel, The Geographical Review Vol. XXV, No. 3, July, 1935, Pp. 476-478, American Geographical Society, Broadway AT 156th Street, New York" and Store norske leksikon, Aschehoug & Gyldendal (Great Norwegian Encyclopedia, last edition)