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Hilda Ericsson

Ericsson, Hilda, Gustaf, Anna (group, 1885)
The wife (Hilda) and children (Gustaf, Anna) of Lars Magnus Ericsson, 1885 in their home.

She is 17 and he is about to turn 31 when Hilda Simonsson and Lars Magnus Ericsson meet. He had been called to her home by her father, who was a saddle maker appointed to the Royal Court and a leading member of the church, to repair the organ on which he played.

Thanks to Lars Magnus extensive travels, there is a large volume of correspondence between them bearing witness to a happy marriage. In the letters, she is called Stina and he is called Magnus. The first letter to be preserved, however, was written in Stockholm by Stina on Magnus 31st birthday, while they are still engaged. It concludes with the words: "a pat, a hug and a kiss in silence from your little Stina." There are also references to two Bible passages. Stina has been raised in the spirit of the Lord and His commandments. In 1878, when she turns 18, they are married.

Stina did not remain idle in an ivory palace. She was given responsibility for what was considered a womans work in the factory, winding of electromagnetic coils with satin-coated copper wire. Throughout their lives, she and Magnus are united in both love and in business. From the Exposition in Paris Magnus writes in July 1881 that he has seen automatic telephone switches that "will make the central operator unnecessary."

In her reply, Stina is able to relate that "little Gustaf is learning to walk," but also that she is working as usual. "Today you were on my workbench in a cigar box that was filled with empty relay rolls, and every time I took a new roll, you smiled kindly at me." She also writes about deliveries, production and payments, informing her husband that on August 17, "money arrived from Gävle and Norrköping."

Over the years, Magnus travels to Hamburg and Berlin, Dresden Leipzig and Magdeburg, New York, Philadelphia and Harrisburg to "check out telegraph stations." These were important trips for the company, since, as he writes to Stina, competitors were also on hand "to snap up telephone news." When Magnus returned from his trips, not only Stina, but also their children Gustaf and Anna were there to meet him at the station.

In a letter from Hågelby in 1926, which was Magnus final year, Stina writes to Anna that "Father enjoys a small schnapps and always feels satisfied when the last sip of his drink signals the evening rest." The warm tone between Magnus and Stina never died.

Author: Lena Svanberg

Ericsson, Hilda (portrait, 1915)

Hilda Ericsson, the wife of Ericsson founder LM Ericsson.

© Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson and Centre for Business History

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