Thomas B. Thrige

Manufacturer Thomas B. Thrige

Thomas Thrige (1866-1938) was trained as a smith and mechanist, and in 1888 he went to the United States to seek out new knowledge. He got work at the 'wizard' Thomas A. Edison, the incandescent bulb and the inventor of the phonograph. In Edison's laboratory, he gained a lot of technical knowledge, and the work at a large modern electrical factory gave him insight into modern mass production.

Thomas B. Thrige was a first class entrepreneur. He was able to organize and organize high-efficiency production with the best machine tools. Administration and marketing, however, he handed over to Ørnberg's director. Twenty years after the company started in a backyard, it became Odense's largest and had a dominant position in the Danish market.

Thrige by his car

The success made Thrige the most wealthy manufacturer in Denmark. In 1930, in order to benefit his hometown, he paid a large expansion of the Hans Christian Andersen Museum. In 1934 he donated his businesses to Thomas B. Thriges Fund. The purpose of the fund was to drive companies further and to support education and research for the benefit of Danish industry.

Odense was already a industrial city with railways, factories and smoking chimneys when Thomas B. Thrige came home from the United States in 1893. But he had knowledge with home that gave the industrialization in Denmark new energy. A new industrial wave began when power stations started firing up, and the electric motor's flexible engine power came into all parts of the business. Thriges' business was for more than 100 years helping to utilize electricity and modernize Denmark. 

Thomas B. Thrige returned as a 27-year-old home from the United States and began to be independent. In a small rented workshop at Odense Å, he worked with installer work and production of bicycles. But interest and demand went towards electricity. With the experience of Edison's years, Thrige began to manufacture reliable electric motors and dynamos, and soon the bakery workshop became too small.

The market for electrical machines grew steadily, and Thrige expanded the staff. In 1898 he built a factory in the new industrial district north of the railway. The factory was specially designed for the production of motors and dynamos, and in a few years production increased to fivefold. The address on Tolderlundsvej was the focal point of the company for the following 100 years.

Thrige with family and staff on excursion

More than 400 power stations opened the country for 25 years after the first work in Odense in 1891. In 1916, Thrige built this power plant for supply of the factory and the surrounding working quarters. The first DC power plants had a short range. From 1907, the alternating current, which with a high voltage grid, could provide a large open-air. Thrige provided generators for many works and engines for the new electricians.

Thrige decorated fabrication after American model. The engines were designed as easily as possible and consisted of few replaceable parts. In the end, a worker simply assembled the mass-produced standard parts. In 1920 series production began in the Normal Factory, a new, spacious and rationally decorated four-story building in iron concrete. The effective production led to falling prices.

The electric motor was a cheap and flexible power source in crafts, industry and agriculture. Steam engines and combustion engines used large quantities of fuel while they were noisy, puffed and smoked. The electric motor got its power directly from the wall socket. It could with a simple belt drive draw a lot of different machines. The electric engine mechanized craft and agriculture. In the industry, each machine got its electric motor.

In the 1990s, Thrige-Titan got harder and harder to cope with international competition. Issues with sales generated major losses and eventually forced the company to liquidate. In 2000, production ceased at the Thrige square in Odense. The last electric engine with Thrige on the nameplate left a factory in France in 2005.




Odense City Museums
Overgade 48
DK-5000 Odense C
Tel +45 6551 4601
CVR: 39156040
EAN: 5790002433825


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