Colin Archer (1832-1921)
Archer was born in Larvik, south Norway. He was Norway’s foremost boat designer in the late 1800s, and he designed the Fram.
Colin Archer’s parents came from Scotland, emigrating to Norway in 1825 with 8 children. Five more children were born in Larvik, and Colin was the second to last.
It became a tradition for the brothers to travel to their uncle in Australia, and Colin went in 1849, reaching Australia via Panama and California the following year.
This was a pioneer time in Australia and Thomas, Charles, William and Colin Archer became well-known and respected. Colin and Charles established a large farm, Gracemere, where gold was found in 1858, and the town of Rockhampton quickly grew on the spot. The brothers gradually returned to Norway, Colin in 1861.
Colin turned to ship design, particularly concentrating on the connection between form and speed. He became famous for his regatta boats and for improvements in pilot boats, selling his designs and many boats both in Norway and around the world.
In 1893 his ﬁrst new construction of a rescue boat was launched, which he continued to improve until he stopped ship-building in 1909. Colin Archer boats are today an internationally known and respected type, famous for their seaworthiness. Many boats are still built around the world based on his designs.
In 1892 Colin designed and built the polar ship Fram, with help from Otto Sverdrup and Fridtjof Nansen. The design of the Fram to withstand the huge ice pressures in the Arctic Ocean was a triumph for them all. Colin Archer was highly decorated for his various works.
Colin played the cello and also translated Shakespeare’s literature to Norwegian.