Verksletta Risøbank

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The two brothers Johan Theodor Salvesen (1820 – 1865) and Salve Christian Fredrik Salvesen (1827 – 1911) emigrated from Mandal to Scotland. Theodor settled down in Grangemouth in 1843, and Christian in Leith in 1851.

Here they laid the foundation for extensive businesses throughout the world, among others in shipping and whaling. In the 1850s the Scottish chemist James Young developed a method of extracting lamp oil, so-called kerosene, from Scottish gas coal. In a time of increasing demand for bright light, the Salvesen brothers saw the possibility of producing lamp oil by the Young method also in Norway. They decided to start a factory in Mandal. An area at Risøbank was purchased and in the spring of 1862 "Paraffin Olie Co" (POC) was established. In 1864 the factory comprised 24 buildings and quais at Risøbank, and in 1866 more than 120 men were employed at the factory. As a consequence of the factory the neighbourhood "Støkkan" emerged.

During the first four years more than 1 million litres of lamp oil was produced, which was sold throughout the country, all the way to Finnmark. As a result of this, "Risøbank", the world's first tanker, was built. Furthermore, lubricating oil, paraffin wax, turpentine, pit coal tar, and fertilizer were produced. More than 100 000 paraffin lamps were made. Due to failing trade conditions and increasing competition with imported lamp oil, POC, the first factory to refine mineral oil in Norway, had to close down in 1872. During the following years the factory was demolished.

After the industrial adventure was over in Mandal, Risøbank was inherited by Christian Salvesen's son, Edward, in 1900. The Salvesen family still has its worldwide businesses.

English translation: Kirsti Birkeland og Liv Smith