Fram Museum Oslo


Nordahl, Bernhard (1862-1922)

Nordahl was electrical engineer on the 1st Fram Expedition 1893-96.

Bernhard Nordahl (1862-1922)

Bernhard Nordahl was born in Kristiania (Oslo). He was married, had five daughters, and was the only member of the Fram expedition besides Fridtjof Nansen and Hjalmar Johansen who afterwards published an account of the famous drift across the Arctic Ocean: Framgutterne. Tre aar gjennem skrugar og nat - ‘The Fram boys. Three years through ice (pressure ridges) and night’.

Nordahl stated that it was pure chance that led him to Nansen’s planned expedition with the Fram. He had not applied, although he would have liked to join. He went to see the loading of the ship in Kristiania harbour and recognised Hjalmar Johansen, whom he knew. Johansen both encouraged Nordahl to come along, and recommended him to Nansen whom Nordahl visited at Nansen’s home outside Kristiania.

Nordahl had been in the Navy from he was 14, and had later worked with electric light systems - a relatively new invention. On the Fram he had the responsibility for the dynamo and electrical installation on board. In his opinion this work required constant attention so that he should be excused other duties, but he did also assist with the meteorological observations, which interested him, and did various other jobs.

He wrote in his book that he helped to pass the spare time by reading German with the doctor, Henrik Blessing, and by compiling together with Anton Amundsen a book of questions and answers, anecdotes, stories and poems.