The industrial revolution in Norway started in Halden
It started in Tistedal of all places! The initiator was the wealthy youth Mads Wiel. In 1882 he met Charles Axel Nordberg, who ran and developed spinning machines and cottoncloth machines.
Mads Wiel initially applied to the King in Copenhagen for the right (privilege) to launch a textile factory. Before he recieved an answer, Mads Wiel started building his factory already in the spring of 1813. When the union with Sweden was a fact in the autumn of 1814, Mads Wiel again applied, butt his time he submitted the application to the King on Stockholm, Carles XIII, and he recieved his letter of privilege! A new chapter in Norwegian industrial history had been created.
-a factory that has been considered Norway's first modern industrial company.
The machines were smuggled from England, and through England he also bought cotton. The local input factors were capital, hydropower, employees and a Scandinavian market. Textiles were expensive 200 years ago. Spinning and weaving had been handwork, and fine clothes were so exclusive that the tailor was obviously a man. Cotton was a new and exciting material around 1800. It was first imported from India, but soon cotton cultivation was taken over by the plantations in the US South states.
A cotton mill demanded international contacts, wich Halden and Tistedalen had in the 19th century, and from the factory there is an extensive exchange of letters in English, French and German with cities like Liverpool and Hamburg
In addition to modernization and mass production of textile goods, women now also had the opportunity to work outside the home. It was not a well paid job, but women became more independent and became a kind of revolution in family life.
Haldens cotton spinning & weaving eventually closed down the business in 1972, and all of the furniture was auctioned away. Still, the building masses still stand as a monument to what once was - and just think if the walls could speak ...