Johan Theofron Munktell

Johan Theofron Munktell was born in 1805 in Kärrbo Rectorate just outside Västerås, Sweden. At the age of 17, he moved to Stockholm, where he gained employment with Gustaf Broling, one of the greatest Swedish mining and metallurgical engineers of his day. Johan Munktell worked with turning and filing, as well as making instruments. After just one year in employment, he won a scholarship from the powerful the Ironmasters' Association for studies abroad - particularly of steel castings. At the age of just 21, we was hired as a Master Mechanic at the Royal Mint.
During his time at the Mint, Munktell designed practically all the machinery used in making coins. In his spare time, he also made other machines, such as the printing press that Lars Johan Hierta produced Aftonbladet on during the first years of the newspaper. He also helped Broling to modernise a foundry that the Ironmasters' Association had set up. As a reward, Munktell was allowed to take over the foundry himself in 1828. During this period, he also designed sight instrumentation for canons, hydraulic stretching machines for testing materials, presses for making rifle bullets and much else.

An offer from Eskilstuna
In 1832, Munktell received an offer from Carl Gustafs Stads Gevärsfaktori and the City of Eskilstuna to set up an engineering workshop there. Munktell accepted the offer, which involved a grant of 200 Riksdaler per year for three years.
When he left his position at the Royal Mint, he received the Illis Quorum medal, first class, from King Karl XIV Johan in gratitude for his services.
In Eskilstuna, Munktell began operations in small premises on Rademachergatan. To begin with, the workshop dealt mainly with repairs for the local textile and mining industries. However, the company grew rapidly and started making machinery as well.

To England
The company was considered so valuable, that in 1835 Johan Munktell was granted a state scholarship to study the iron and steel casting industry in England. He came home with plenty of new ideas and methods that were successively introduced into the workshops.
In 1839, the first plant was completed on a site which was to be used right up to the present day. The products from this factory, Munktell's Mekaniska Verkstads AB, soon gained a reputation for their high quality.

Alongside his career as an entrepreneur, Munktell also became interested in local politics. He was elected councillor in 1838 and remained a member of the city council for many years.
Johan Munktell was one of the driving forces behind the construction of the Eskilstuna Canal, which opened in 1860, allowing goods to be carried to and from Munktell's Mekaniska Verkstads AB's facilities.

Beer instead of snaps
Education and temperance also occupied his interest and he set up a brewery in Eskilstuna in order to provide the workers with "a substitute for their national drink".
Munktell's endeavours were widely acclaimed. Among other things, he received the Order of Vasa, the Order of the North Star and the medal of service from the Royal Academy of Agricultural Sciences.
Johan Munktell died in 1887. A few years earlier, he had handed over the direct leadership of his enterprise, but was still involved in the management of Munktell's Mekaniska Verkstads AB right up to his death.