Hans Eleonardus Møller - Career


Møller started higher education in 1820, but did not complete; instead he eventually settled in Porsgrund as a merchant. He began as a timber merchant, but soon turned to the more lucrative shipbuilding business. He was also one of the largest ship-owners in the region, alongside Peter Magnus Petersen. He was also involved in banking, elected deputy member of the board of directors of Porsgrund savings bank in 1844, and later took the initiative to establish Gjerpen savings bank in 1848.

He was, however, better known in the context of marine insurance, to the point of being named "father of Norwegian marine insurance". An association for ship insurance companies Den første norske Assuranceforening was founded in 1837. Its managing board consisted of Hans Cappelen, Chr. H. Blom and Jacob Müller. However, Hans Eleonardus Møller, Sr. became treasurer in 1838. Hans J. C. Aall, County Governor and brother-in-law of Hans Eleonardus Møller, was also involved. In 1853 they founded another insurance company Porsgrunds Søforsikringsselskab, with Hans Eleonardus Møller as manager. As his two sons too became involved in these organizations, a fraction led by J. J. L. Schaaning sounded opposition toward the "Møllerian autocracy". Thus, in 1860 Møller founded a rivalling marine insurance company Det Norske Lloyd. His son Jacob was employed as treasurer, and took over as manager when Hans Eleonardus Møller died in 1867. When Jacob died in 1872 his other son Hans took over. In 1872 a ship H.E. Møller was built, named in commemoration of Hans Eleonardus Møller, but the ship disappeared in 1874 en route from Le Havre to Quebec.

Hans Eleonardus Møller was also active in politics, as an elected member of the Norwegian Parliament in 1845, 1851 and 1857–1858, representing the constituency of Bratsberg. He was also a member of the executive committee of Gjerpen municipal council.

He died of a stroke.

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