Johansson, Carl Edvard

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b. 15 March 1864 Orebro, Sweden
d. 30 September 1943 Eskilstuna, Sweden
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Swedish metrologist and inventor of measuring-gauge blocks.
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Carl Edvard Johansson was first apprenticed to a shoemaker, but he soon abandoned that career. In 1882 he went to America to join his brother Arvid working at a sawmill in the summer; in winter the brothers obtained further general education at the Gustavus Adolphus College at St Peter, Minnesota. They returned to Sweden in November 1884 and in the following year Carl obtained employment with a small engineering firm which rented a workshop in the government small-arms factory at Eskilstuna. In his spare time he attended the Eskilstuna Technical College and in 1888 he was accepted as an apprentice armourer inspector. After completion of his apprenticeship he was appointed an armourer inspector, and it was in his work of inspection that he realized that the large number of gauges then required could be reduced if several accurate gauges could be used in combination. This was in 1896, and the first set of gauges was made for use in the rifle factory. With these, any dimension between 1 mm and 201 mm could be made up to the nearest 0.01 mm, the gauges having flat polished surfaces that would adhere together by "wringing". Johansson obtained patents for the system from 1901, but it was not until c.1907 that the sets of gauges were marketed generally. Gauges were made in inch units for Britain and America—slightly different as the standards were not then identical. Johansson formed his own company to manufacture the gauges in 1910, but he did not give up his post in the rifle factory until 1914. By the 1920s Johansson gauges were established as the engineering dimensional standards for the whole world; the company also made other precision measuring instruments such as micrometers and extensometers. A new company, C.E.Johansson Inc., was set up in America for manufacture and sales, and the gauges were extensively used in the American automobile industry. Henry Ford took a special interest and Johansson spent several years in a post with the Ford Motor Company in Detroit, Michigan, until he returned to Sweden in 1936.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
Honorary Doctorates, Gustavus Adolphus College, St Peter and Wayne University, Detroit. Swedish Engineering Society John Ericsson Gold Medal. American Society of Mechanical Engineers Gold Medal.
Further Reading
K.J.Hume, 1980, A History of Engineering Metrology, London, pp. 54–66 (a short biography).
RTS

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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