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Bengt Ferrner was born in 1724 in the province of Värmland, Sweden. 1743 he started at Uppsala University. 1751 He became an observing astronomer at the same university. 1756 He was appointed Professor of Mathematics at the naval academy, Karlskrona and was also elected as a member of the Swedish Royal Acadamy of Sciences. Circa 1760 he was employed as a companion-tutor to Jean Lefebure, the son of Jean-Henri Lefebure who was a wealthy merchant in Sweden and deeply involved in the Swedish copper and brass industries. 1765 He was appointed as permanent secretary and private adviser to king Gustav III. He died in 1802.
As companion-tutor to Jean Lefebure he went on educational tours of Europe between 1758 - 1763. They were in Britain between July 1759 and September 1760. Two of the places he visited in Britain were the cities of Bristol and Bath where he spied on the copper, brass and glass industries in this district of south-west England.
During his travels Ferrner kept a journal of his experiences and observations. While he was in Britain, and maybe in other countries as well, Ferrner acted as an industrial spy. When he returned to Sweden he would write up his notes and these more expansive writings are held today at the Royal Library, Stockholm (MS M239: 1-3). A more recent version, in Swedish, was published by the Swedish Society for the History of Science (Lindberg, S. G., Ed; Bengt Ferrner: Resa in Europa, en astronom, industriespion och teaterhabitue genom Denmark, Tyskland, Holland, England och Italien - 1758-1762; Uppsala, 1956).
For more information on the brass industry of the Bristol district
that Ferrner studied, see the Living Easton
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