November 1, 2010

Tuesday, 1 November 1910


"Work on polar equipment is carried on with determination," Amundsen wrote in his diary, "despite violent rolling and difficult conditions. Today Rønne has cut out a sledging tent in the chart-house, and tacked it together.... [Ludvig] Hansen does the finest tinsmith's work and Nødvedt forges the strangest things up on deck in the midst of this confusion. They are sheer acrobats, all three. I really do admire them." [1]

Seaman Ludvig Hansen, recruited for his skill as a tinsmith, was making paraffin tins for the sledging journeys. Amundsen had noticed that at low temperatures paraffin has a tendency to "creep", to become inexplicably depleted after a few weeks. On the Northwest Passage voyage, this was little more than an annoyance, but in the Antarctic, far away from other sources of fuel, the loss would be serious. He decided therefore to have tanks made from galvanized iron sheets with brazed seams and soldered spouts. Hansen made ten tanks that held fifteen litres each.

Second engineer Nødvedt made among other things patent shackles for the dog harnesses.


[1] Roald Amundsen, diary, 1 November, 1910, quoted by Roland Huntford in The Amundsen Photographs (London : Hodder & Stoughton, c1987), p.62.

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