The Thams Dynasty

The Family

Thams family came originally from England. The Norwegian branch of the family comes from Daniel Thams who came to Gauldalen as Magistrate in 1689. He was the great grandfather of William August Thams, founder of Strandheim Brug in Orkanger, which was the first Thams in our district.

Sawmills in Killingdal 1859
Strandheim Brug in Orkanger 1867

Further developed Strandheim (M. Thams and Co.).. Resident box factory and prefab factory and started the salmon business (M. Thams). He bought land and forests and mining rights in Meldal.

Took over Strandheim (closed 1914). Took over the salmon trade overseas. Educated as an architect and was the Norwegian architect and juror at several World Fairs. Extensive international business, both Belgian Consul and Minister of Maroco. Established Salvesen and Thams, who was behind the power development. Thamshavnbanen and D / S "Orkla", where he was Managing Director. in the years 1898-1911. Established Orkla Grube Aktiebolag, who ran mining operations on a large scale in the loop. Here he was Managing Director. from 1904 to 1910. Had a lot of foreign investments, both in plantations, mines and trading companies, from 1911. Created Sognli hunting club A / S and ran the deer farming. Resident out Bårdshaug Manor.

Took over the salmon trade domestically. Ran Strandheim 1911-1914.

Strandheim Brug

Strandheim Brug was founded by Wilhelm August Thams in 1867. At first he established a timber merchant in Fredrikstad, but moved in 1859 to Killingdal in Agdenes.

In 1890, it was installed a steam engine to operate more than 100 machines in the community. A small steam engine produced electric light for both indoor and outdoor lighting. It was also installed some automatic machines to reduce labor costs.

The son Marentius took over the farm after a fire in 1872 and built it gradually up to a business that was a serious competitor to "timber kings" in eastern Norway. Marentius ran the farm under the name M. Thams and Co., with offices in Trondheim, and the sawmill and factory in Orkanger.

Strandheim Brug's ill and help checkout

Strandheim Brug did pioneering work in several ways - not only in the lumber industry. The company was among the first in the country to introduce assistance to employees who became ill. Stransdheim Brug's help and ill box was founded in 1872. The box gave free medical care and medicine, and sick pay if any of the employees had to stay home because of disease. The box also gave contributions to funerals when some of the employees died.

Strikes and trade union struggle

The operation of Strandheim was seasonal, and workers were often unemployed. Earnings were low compared to other companies in the same industry.

Those who found work again had to stop at Thams`s office where it hung a proper overhaul. Those who led the union did not get work.
The conflict in Strandheim attracted considerable attention, and was a contributing factor to the Government promoted the trade union law in 1903.

Export of salmon

Fishing for salmon was an early source of income for farmers and fixate on the coast. Marentius Thams saw great potential in this fishery if conditions were made ​​for a wider market.

The firm M. Thams was established in 1867 and operations were moved to Trondheim. It was entered into contracts for the supply of salmon from fishermen and farmers in the Trondheim Fjord. Soon, the district expanded, and included for each supplier from Stad to GrenseJakobselv.

Locals were hired to cut ice for storage in winter, and the packing of ice fishing season. The fishermen were far better paid for the salmon when it was exported fresh, than the time they had salted and smoked it for sale yourself.

Marentius Thams resigned from the firm in 1890. Sons William and Christian took over-Wilhelm was responsible for domestic sales, while Christian took care of overseas sales. The development of the firm continued under their management to 1912 when the company was converted into a limited company under the name A / S Thams Laxexport. After a few years drew Wilhelm and Christian as shareholders.


The Thams family bought in the early 1860's major land and forests in orkdal and neighboring municipalities. Våvatnet was elected as wather sours for power station in Sjenaldfossen, That was when Christian Thams first visited Songlia. And when he heard that it was observeddeer in the area, he got an idè.

He began buying up properties in the area, and in 1907 he bought the two Songligårdene. In the largest the property was of about 80,000 acres. In addition to that, he purchased or leased hunting and fishing rights of several property owners, so he utilized the rights of over90,000 acres.
Thams managed properties through his company Songli hunting club a / s

Thams was the first to start hunting as currently practiced. Previously, you could shoot a deer or a moose per. title number. Sognlieiendommen consisted of 85 properties, and to get better hunt Thams received approval to remove 10 to 12 animals collected for the propertyregardless of title number.

The result of this was a very rich bird and animal life. Thams also tried re-establishment of different tree species. Sognlia was referred to as Norway's first nature park.

Every fall since he moved from Norway in 1911 and until 1930 he came to Sognlia to hunt. As well as every year he was hosting guests. There were people from the upper social stratum. Prince Albert of Monaco had several trips. For guests to thrive, it was brought up a smallsteamer to Våvatnet. It was used for excursions and fishing.

Chr. Thams abroad

Although one might think that Christian Thams had more than enuf to do with his business, he committed himself strongly in international work. In 1892 he was Belgian Consul agent and later advanced to vice-consul, Consul and Consul General. Also as an architect he hadmany international assignments, including exhibitions in Chicago, Paris and Stockholm. He both designed and manufactured office building of Gustave Eiffel, the man who built the Eiffel Tower.

In 1902 he established together with foreign business people a trading company in the Belgian Congo, and after he moved from Norway in 1911, he established together with Prince Albert of Monaco a trading company in East Africa.

Thams was also engaged in mining operations in Ethiopia and forest management in Romania. There, he lived during the last war.

Christian Thams died in Paris in 1948, aged 81.