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Axel Wenner-Gren

( Founder Electrolux)

Comments for Axel Wenner-Gren
Biography Axel Wenner-Gren
Axel Wenner-Gren (Aksel Venner-Gren) (05.06.1881 year, [patrimony Urhagen prov. Uddevalla])

Wenner-Gren first applied the direct sales of vacuum cleaners. He insisted that the agent makes an appointment with a client at his home and it shows a vacuum cleaner in. The success of this approach is staggering.

The last of the leading manufacturers of household appliances leaving Europe. A week ago, a Swedish company Electrolux announced the postponement of production in Third World countries. Thus the company's management hopes to cope with the collapse of profits. Meanwhile, the founder of this company Axel Wenner-Gren was not confronted with such problems. He had to think only about how to increase production. This Swede still in school selling brands and Papa waste canning. By becoming a sales agent, for many years he was searching for the "perfect product" and found him in a vacuum cleaner. The brilliant trader, Wenner-Gren quickly swallow our competitors and knocked together an enormous fortune. It takes to help the Nazis, the development of computers and the establishment of scientific foundations.

Piano instead of dinner

Once, in 1908 the case abandoned Swede Axel Wenner-Gren in Vienna. At that time he was a traveling agent for the sale of agricultural equipment, and this work had time to get bored with it very. Axel wandered around the city and his eyes caught exhibited in a shop window with a shiny metallic barrel fastened to her hose. Coming closer, the Wenner-Gren saw a new product of technological progress, hoover American firm Santo. Miracle weighed 20 kg and worth, in modern terms, about $ 3000. Admired vacuuming, Axel suddenly realized that it was a product he was looking for a few years. "They need everything - he thought. - They can sell just showing the client ". Inspired by his idea, Swedish salesman a few years later created the company, which today is called Elestrolux.

Born Axel Lennart Wenner-Gren June 5, 1881 in the estate Urhagen in the Swedish province of Uddevalla. In high school, favorite subjects of the young Swede was geography and mathematics. These disciplines are well helped him all his life - Axel had the opportunity to travel around the world, selling and buying everything - from vacuum cleaners to companies. However, he learned to earn money already in childhood.

One day he dug up in the attic of his father's old business letters. They had a lot of British and Swedish brands that Axel immediately sold at a profit. Stamps will soon run out, and the desire to have money - no. But soon, Axel found a new way to earn money.

Surrounding summer vacation he spent with her aunt Caroline in the town Lisekil. Vicinity of the aunt's house was a small tinned food factory, in dumps which could find a lot of tin strip. And Axel began to weave from her rugs and baskets, just like in school have been taught to them from the paper. Coming to town tourists eagerly bought these items "folk art". It went so well that Axel hired to assist it the other children who worked in created in the attic of the aunt's home studio and helped sell the finished products.

. In 15 years, Wenner-Gren finished school and found a job in Gothenburg, the company imported food
. Despite the lack of education, Axel was a young man with very big ambitions. Instead of job lunch, he took lessons in piano, and in the evenings he studied French, German and English.

Summer of 1902, 21-year-old Axel went to Germany, where he enrolled at the Berlin Business School. For seven years he was sufficiently versed and external students graduated from high school - two-year program, he mastered for the year.

Filled with new knowledge, but with emaciated purse Axel again began to look for work. Now he has decided to stop the choice on the Swedish companies that have their branches in Germany. However, the director does not rush to hire his young compatriot. Axel is not stopped - he decided to take employers to starvation. First is not lost his nerve at the helm of the Swedish company Separator, in which the Wenner-Gren treated for the ninth time. To get rid of annoying the applicant, he was sent to do the audit at the warehouse of spare parts.

Chance to break free from this link presented when Axel sent to investigate the claims of consumers to a new model of the separator. Wenner-Gren problem is resolved, but at the same time received several new orders for this model. The administration estimated the such a stink. Axel appointed sales agent, and soon he became the best seller of the branch. Nevertheless, Wenner-Gren ambitions ahead of his career. In 1904 he resigned from the Separator and began selling engines for agricultural machinery. True, the engines were of poor quality and went very badly.

Magic Santo

From the failure of engines for agricultural Axel has made an important conclusion: even a good salesman is hard to sell a bad product. And now he was looking for the "perfect product", which would have been so good, that would sell itself. Tovar dreams turned out to be one of Europe's first vacuum cleaner, which he saw in the window of the Vienna shop. Inspired by Wenner-Gren immediately wrote to the U.S. company Santo, that makes these vacuum. He suggested that a general sales agent in Europe Santo. But he was told that it is satisfied with its current representative, the Austrian Gustav Faalena. Not wanting to give up, Axel settled sales manager in the company Faalena Santo Staubsaug Apparate Gesellschaft (Association of vacuum cleaners Santo) in Berlin. While vacuum cleaners were a novelty and many do not realize how to use it. Wenner-Gren first applied the direct sales of vacuum cleaners. He insisted that the agent makes an appointment with a client at his home and it shows a vacuum cleaner in. The success of this approach stunned. Despite this, two years later, Axel left in tatters shouting match with the owner.

Promayavshis few years in Europe, in 1912, Wenner-Gren decided to return home. By this time, a Swedish manufacturer of kerosene lamps Lux decided to start production of a copy of the American Vacuum Santo. Model called Lux 1 and by that time was very attractive: with a weight of 14 kg of a Swedish vacuum cleaner cost about $ 1800 in the modern equivalent. Like all his contemporaries, Lux 1 did not have any wheels, and move it to be with the same grace, as the heavy cabinet. But it was particularly difficult with this technique vacuumed step.

Returning to Stockholm, Axel has a meeting with the president of Lux Lindblom and proposed for the year to sell in Germany, 500 vacuum cleaner. A figure was so great that Lindblom did not even bother to conceal that he considered the Wenner-Gren crook. Nevertheless, the magic of large numbers has done its job. President Lux allowed persistent visitor to persuade himself, and in December 1912, Axel received everything requested.

Surprisingly Lindblom selling vacuum cleaners in Germany meet promises. A year later, Wenner-Gren has already become the general representative of "Suite" in Britain and France. Trade grew, but with the beginning of World War I almost stopped the export. Axel returned to Sweden and invited the leadership Lux used the decline in trade to improve products. In particular, he insisted on using a new vacuum cleaner motor another Swedish company Elektromekaniska. This engine could reduce the vacuum cleaner main drawback - its weight. However, Lux his proposal was not evaluated. Then the Wenner-Gren, who has grown rich on the successful trade, created his own company Svenska Elektron, which began to produce the improved vacuum cleaner under the brand Elektron.

. Vacuum cleaner with runners

. The audience liked the light "electrons", and soon no one will drive away the little extravagant proposals Axel
. In October 1916 he bought a controlling stake in its engine supplier Elektromekaniska, and things got even better. After two years of production facilities and Elektron Elektromekaniska not enough to meet all orders. Axel already found a suitable site for building a new plant, appeared as a better alternative. Owners main competitor, the company Lux, expressed interest in merging.

For the Wenner-Gren deal solves two problems: he is rid of a competitor and received a modern factory. So he made every effort to deal took place as soon as possible. In April 1918 an agreement between Lux and Elektron was signed. The merger took place in two stages. First Lux increased the share capital from 3 to 4 million SEK. Then Elektron buy 49% stake in Lux, paying two promissory notes totaling $ 2.2 million kroons. Electron required amount provided bank Svenska Handelsbanken bail purchased shares. It is an elegant deal, and in these times.

A year later, the new company was renamed Elektrolux, which became Elestrolux only in 1957. The next twenty years, all efforts Wenner-Gren were aimed at making Elektrolux a world leader in the manufacture of household appliances. While Axel had never been invented, he still came up with one of the revolutionary improvement of the vacuum cleaner. In 1921, engineers Elektrolux finalizing Models 5 ". For the first time the engine was located horizontally, so the vacuum cleaner had the shape of a torpedo. "Model 5" long become the standard of "world pylesosostroeniya". Since it was copied from the Soviet vacuum "Rocket". But Wenner-Gren was displeased that the movement of vacuum cleaner still have to raise. Suddenly it dawned on me, and he dictated to his assistants ready solution: "We must put a vacuum cleaner on the runners of the thick wire. Who is not strong enough to carry the vacuum cleaner will be able to drag him ". It was only many years later, a vacuum cleaner set on wheels.

Customers appreciated the care Wenner-Gren about their spine. In 1926 Elektrolux opened its first plant outside Sweden - both increased production. A year earlier Elektrolux released its first refrigerator, and soon floor polisher.

In 1928 Elektrolux had five factories and 25 branches worldwide. Sales of the company reached 70 million Swedish kronor. In the same year, Wenner-Gren had IPO (Initial Public Offering) on the London Stock Exchange. The company's capitalization has grown from 6 to 60 million kroons. Now, Axel, owning almost half the shares Elektrolux, became a very wealthy man.

Paradise on earth

Gradually Wenner-Gren began to lose interest in their offspring. Vacuum cleaners have become necessities in the homes of the middle class, Elektrolux - a successful international company. But now Axel discovered around a number of interesting cases in which he has not yet tried his strength. In 1939 he left the chair chairman of the board of directors, his last post in Elektrolux.

During this time he had it occupies in world politics. Axel liked the idea of German Nazis, he was friendly with the second man in Nazi Germany, Hermann Goering. Goering often resorted to the services of this businessman from neutral Sweden. For example, in September 1939, the Wenner-Gren on behalf of Germany to persuade U.S. President Roosevelt did not participate in the war. And in 1944, he served as a liaison at the highest level in separate negotiations between Berlin and London to withdraw Britain from the war.

In politics it gave him pleasure to finance the most advanced scientific and engineering. In 1950 his company Logistics Research in California has released several series of early computers in electronic tubes called Alwac (by Axel Leonard Wenner-Gren Automatic Computer). In the late 1940's with his money in Sweden was built by the world's first monorail, named in his honor ALWEG.

. Following the established tradition of Alfred Nobel yet, Wenner-Gren, established in 1941 in the New York Foundation for Anthropological Research, in 1956 in Stockholm - Center for Research
. Both funds, like Electrolux, still exist.

In 1956, Wenner-Gren sold his 49.6% stake Elektrolux his old employer - the company Separator. After the war he spent most of his time in the Bahamas, on his beloved island of Paradise ( "Paradise").

Surprised Disney

The first monorail was built in Sweden in 1940 on money Axel Wenner-Gren. Accelerating to the speed of 160 km / h train was so struck by Walt Disney, that he built a monorail in his first amusement park.

Partner Fidel Castro

In 1956, Fidel Castro for $ 12 000 bought from Axel Wenner-Gren his yacht. Revolutionist called it "Granma" and together with 80 colleagues in December 1956 reached Cuba, which soon seized power. Sailors of the revolutionaries were, frankly, no. Once, during his voyage one of the men forgot to turn off the toilet and strongly podtopil yacht. But the ship has survived all their experiments and ran aground just before the Cuban coast. So for the revolutionaries traveled to wade ashore.

Heir Reich

Some historians believe that Axel Wenner-Gren was a trustee for investing the capital management of the Third Reich in Argentina. During the Second World War, he founded a number of subsidiaries and bought the key industrial enterprises.


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