[PLUG-TALK] OT: 100 years ago ...

Keith Lofstrom keithl at kl-ic.com
Mon Mar 14 12:47:28 PDT 2011

> On Sun, Mar 13, 2011 at 8:21 PM, Keith Lofstrom <keithl at kl-ic.com> wrote:
> > My grandfather Johann Sigurd Löfström came from Osterby Kommun,
> > near Upsalla in Sweden.
> >
> > On March 15, 1911, he left Trondheim Norway on a steamship bound
> > for Hull in Britain, continuing his journey to America through
> > England, across the Atlantic, and across Canada by railroad to
> > Vancouver BC, then on to Portland.  5 countries in as many weeks.
> >
> > His steamship ticket is here:  http://keithl.com/ticket1.png

On Mon, Mar 14, 2011 at 12:16:27AM -0700, Bill Barry wrote:
> That's a long journey. Why was he going to Portland?

He came to the US to have a future, and a family. 

In 1911, Sweden was dirt poor.  He lived with 3 siblings and his
parents in a 15x20 foot room on the top floor of a small house.
His future in Sweden would have been preparing wood for firing
the iron mines.  Farther north in Sweden, there were famines.
Sweden stayed poor until the late 30's and 40's, when the Nazis
exported a lot of modern iron mining technology to Sweden, and
imported a lot of iron for the Wehrmacht.

I'm not sure why he chose Astoria (via Portland), but probably
because he had friends there.  Astoria is mostly scandinavian.
He worked as a construction carpenter, and helped build Astoria.
Parts of Portland, later.  He married Emily Longi, originally
from Wyoming (whose parents immigrated from Finland).  They had
two sons, my father and my uncle, mostly raised in a house on
Interstate Avenue.  Grandmother Emily died before I was born,
and Grandfather Sig died of a broken heart, soon after. 
We Swedes can be a morose lot.  God's Frozen People.

My cousins in Sweden are still wondering why anyone would leave.
They now live in houses that look like the houses here, drive
similar cars, though gas is $10 a gallon.   Gimo, where my 4th
cousin Dan lives, looks like Forest Grove, except with a baronial
mansion and a Really Old wooden church that all revere and none
go to.  Lots of dairy farms, and a large Sandvik Coromant factory,
making drills and cutters for milling machines and lathes.  Almost
all homegrown talent, including the engineers designing the
production equipment and programming it.   My cousin does
programming and production scheduling.  Cheap chinese tooling,
half the quality at a fifth of the price, is wiping out Sandvik's
market.  They need to grow new businesses, but they are not

That may be another reason for leaving.  The entrepreneurial
deviants head for Stockholm.  When their startups fail, they
often get recruited to companies other countries.  

My wife says the people in Sweden look like me.  Poor sods.


Keith Lofstrom          keithl at keithl.com         Voice (503)-520-1993
KLIC --- Keith Lofstrom Integrated Circuits --- "Your Ideas in Silicon"
Design Contracting in Bipolar and CMOS - Analog, Digital, and Scan ICs

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