Tinius Olsen

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Tinius Olsen (December 7, 1845 – October 20, 1932) was a Norwegian-born American engineer and inventor. He was the founder of the Tinius Olsen Material Testing Machine Company, a maker of material testing machines. He was awarded the Elliott Cresson Medal of The Franklin Institute in 1891 for his autographic testing machine.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Tinius Olsen was born in Kongsberg, Norway. He was one of eight children. Olsen graduated from the Horten Technical School (Horten tekniske skole) in 1866.[2] [3][4]

Employment and Immigration[edit]

Olsen first became the foreman of the machine department at a large naval machine shop. Olsen subsequently immigrated to the United States during 1869.[5]

"Little Giant"[edit]

In 1880, he submitted a patent application for an improved testing machine and the patent was granted the same year, on June 1, 1880.[6]

Later years[edit]

Olsen was awarded the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav in 1907. Olsen retired from the company in 1929 and died during 1932 in Philadelphia. Olsen remembered his origin with gifts to his home land including awards to Horten Technical School and Kongsberg Church as well grants to a retirement home in his wife's home town of Helsingborg, Sweden.[7] [8]

Personal life[edit]

In 1874, Olsen married Swedish-born physician, Amalie Charlotte Yhlen (1839–1920). Olsen died during 1932 and his wife during 1920. Both were buried at West Laurel Hill Cemetery in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. They were the parents of Thorsten Yhlen Olsen (1879- 1957) who succeeded his father as president of the firm.[9]

Selected list of patents[edit]

  • Improvement In Testing Machines – United States Patent # 213,586. Issue date: Mar 1879
  • Testing Machine – United States Patent # 228,214. Issue Date: June 1, 1880
  • Recording Testing-Machine – United States Patent # 445,476. Issue date: Jan 27, 1891
Tinius Olsen's School

Tinius Olsen's School[edit]

The Tinius Olsen's School (Fagskolen Tinius Olsen) is a combined technical vocational college and secondary school in Kongsberg.[10]


  1. ^ Trond Smith-Meyer Tinius Olsen, Ingeniør og Oppfinner (Norsk biografisk leksikon)
  2. ^ Tinius Olsen in Kongsberg (Loftsgard: Nore og Uvdal, volume 5 pages 2249-51. Kåre Sønsterud: Nore og Uvdal Part II volume 3. pages1809-11)
  3. ^ Tinius Olsen (Kongsberg videregående skole)
  4. ^ A Migration of Skills (By Kenneth Bjørk (The Norwegian-American Historical Association. Volume XIV: Page 1)
  5. ^ Riehlé Bros. Philadelphia, PA (Old Woodworking Machines)
  6. ^ About Tinius Olsen (Tinius Olsen Engineering Testing Machine Company)
  7. ^ Glenny Alfsen. "Trygve Thorberg". Norsk kunstnerleksikon. Retrieved January 1, 2018.
  8. ^ Skolested Tinius Olsen runder 50 år (Kongsberg videregående skole , Published 7 February 2014, updated 22 October 2014)
  9. ^ Earl A. Ruth. "Tinius Olsen, the Man, his Company, and the Machines Contributing to the History of Mechanical Testing" (PDF). astm.org. Retrieved January 1, 2018.
  10. ^ The industrial founder Tinius Olsen (Go Norway – Kongsberg)

Other sources[edit]

  • Lovoll, Odd Sverre (1999) The Promise of America (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press)
  • Bjork, Kenneth (1947) Saga in Steel and Concrete Norwegian Engineers in America (Northfield, MN: Norwegian-American Historical Association)
  • Tatnall, Francis G. (1925) Evolution of the Testing Machine (Philadelphia: Riehl Brothers Testing Machine Co.)

External links[edit]