Polhem, Christopher po͞ol´hĕm [key], 1661–1751, Swedish inventor and industrialist. After studying engineering techniques used in Germany, the Netherlands, France, and England, Polhem set up a mechanical laboratory that gave considerable impetus to Swedish technology. He constructed water-powered machines such as rollers and shearing machines employed in the fabrication of metal products. In gratitude for his services the Swedish government ennobled him in 1716.
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