Sam Eyde

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Samuel Eyde
Sam Eyde photographed 1910.jpg
Sam Eyde photographed in 1910
Born (1866-10-29)29 October 1866
Died 21 June 1940(1940-06-21) (aged 72)
Åsgårdstrand, Vestfold
Known for Birkeland-Eyde process

Samuel "Sam" Eyde (29 October 1866 – 21 June 1940) was a Norwegian engineer and industrialist, the founder of Norsk Hydro and Elkem.

Personal life[edit]

Eyde was born in Arendal as a son of ship-owner Samuel Eyde (1819–1902) and his wife Elina Christine Amalie Stephansen (1829–1906).[1] He was a first cousin of Alf Scott-Hansen on the maternal side.[2]

In August 1895 he married Countess Ulla Mörner (1873–1961), but the marriage was dissolved in 1912. In February 1913 he married actress Elly Simonsen (1885–1960).[1]


Eyde studied engineering in Berlin where he graduated in 1891. He started his career in Hamburg, working with the railways where he planned new lines, bridges and stations. In 1897 he started his own business, Gleim & Eyde with his previous boss from Hamburg. He soon established offices in Kristiania and Stockholm, and by the turn of the century his firm was one of the largest in Scandinavia, with some 30 engineers.[3]

Eyde and Kristian Birkeland met at a dinner party in 1903; Birkeland was working on developing an electric arc, while Eyde had recently bought the rights to several waterfalls in Telemark. They agreed to cooperate to develop an electric flame. This allowed Eyde to establish Det Norske Aktieselskap for Eletrokemisk Industri (today Elkem) along with the Wallenberg family who he had met in Sweden; the factory at Notodden opening on 2 May 1905. The same year he founded Norsk Hydro-Elektrisk Kvælstofaktieselskab (now Norsk Hydro). Eyde remained director-general of both companies.[3]

Sam was a member of the Norwegian parliament in the period 1918-1920.[4] He was director-general of Norsk Hydro until 1917, when he resigned.[5] He was offered a position on the board, where he remained until 1925, and a compensation of 250,000 kr for ten years, and 100,000 kr for the rest of his life.[6] In 1920, Eyde was appointed as Norwegian Minister to the United States.[7]


  1. ^ a b Grimnes, Ole Kristian. "Sam Eyde". In Helle, Knut. Norsk biografisk leksikon (in Norwegian). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 28 March 2012. 
  2. ^ Norland, Andreas (4 November 1972). "Sam Eyde. Eventyrgutten som skapte to byer". A-magasinet (in Norwegian). p. 19. 
  3. ^ a b Payton, Gary & Lepperød, Trond (1995). Rjukanbanen; på sporet av et industrieventyr (in Norwegian). Rjukan: Mana Forlag. pp. 20–24. 
  4. ^ "". 
  5. ^ Sam Eyde: Mitt Liv og Mitt Livsverk (Gyldendal 1939) pp 439-448
  6. ^ Norsk Industriarbeidermuseum (2006-04-07). "Sam Eyde 1917" (PDF) (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  7. ^ "Norway minister arrives". The Washington Post. 31 December 1920. p. 6. 

Sam Eyde: Mitt Liv og Mitt Livsverk (Gyldendal 1939)

External links[edit]

Business positions
Preceded by
position created
Director-general of Norsk Hydro
Succeeded by
Harald Bjerke