Anton Amundsen (1853-1909)
Anton Amundsen was born in Horten, south of Oslo. He was chief engineer on the 1st Fram Expedition.
Anton Amundsen was the oldest member of Fridtjof Nansen’s Fram expedition across the Arctic Ocean 1893-96. He had passed his technical exam in 1884 and his engineer’s exam soon after. He had already worked for 25 years in the Navy when his superiors recommended him to Nansen. Amundsen made himself a couple of years younger to help his application. As his reason for applying, he stated that he wanted to get away from the ‘system’ and out into the freedom of the icy wastes. Economy was most probably another reason.
Nansen praised Amundsen’s abilities with the Fram’s engine and also in other matters, such as the construction of new scientiﬁc instruments.
Amundsen did not join in card playing and other pleasure pastimes on board, but preferred to write or just ‘think’. Nansen noted that Amundsen regarded cards as the Devil’s toys, but he liked to turn the organ on board and he fashioned new notes for it from zinc sheets.
Amundsen was also described by the other crew members as being a fanatic with extreme opinions, such as banning all foreigners from Norway. He meant that love did not exist and marriage just meant acquiring a cashier to look after the money – rather excessive coming from a father of 7.
Amundsen’s diary contains some sharp criticism of Nansen’s leadership, but despite all this, Amundsen seems to have enjoyed the voyage and the conditions – perhaps as a contrast to being at home.