Fram

Fram

The polar ship Fram (meaning “forward” in Norwegian) was designed and built by Colin Archer for Fridtjof Nansen’s drift across the Arctic Ocean in 1893–96. The hull was constructed with a rounded bow so that it would be pushed up by the pressure of the Arctic sea ice instead of being crushed by it. It consisted of three layers of timber and was about 70 cm thick.

Built: 1891-92

Type: three-masted schooner

Length: 39 m (130 ft)

Beam: 11 m (36 ft)

Draft (laden): 4.75 m (15 ft 8 in)

Total sail area: ca. 600 m² (6000 sq. ft)         

Engine: Originally a steam engine of 220 horsepower (164 kW), but a diesel engine of 180 horsepower (134 kW) was fitted before Amundsen’s expedition in 1910.

Displacement (laden): 800 tons

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Fram was used on Fridtjof Nansen’s drift across the Arctic Ocean (1893–96), Otto Sverdrup’s expedition to Arctic Canada (1898–1902) and Roald Amundsen’s expedition to Antarctica (1910–12).

After departing Antarctica in 1912, Fram sailed to Buenos Aires and then to Colón at the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal. In anticipation of being the first ship to sail through the canal, Fram lay for a long time waiting for it to be completed. When the opening was postponed, Fram returned to Norway and arrived in the summer of 1914. A lot of materials from Fram were used in the construction of Amundsen’s polar ship Maud, which began in 1917, but instead of breaking the ship up, it was decided during the 1920s that Fram should be restored and preserved. So, in 1935, Fram was hauled ashore at Bygdøy in Oslo, and in the following year the Fram museum opened.

Fram lying just off Amundsen’s home in the summer of 1910. Several of the crew are working on deck to prepare the ship for departure. Roald Amundsen stands ashore with his dog Rex. Photo: Norwegian Polar Institute / National Library of Norway.

Related resources

1872
Roald Amundsen born July 16
1880
Starts at Otto Andersen’s School
1886
Jens Engebreth Amundsen dies
1887 – 1889
Polar interest aroused
1890
Starting university
1893
Gustava Amundsen (née. Sahlqvist) dies
1893
Mountain ski tour with Urdahl and Holst
1894
Hunting in Arctic waters with the Magdalena
1895
Ship’s Officer’s exam
1896
Hardangervidda with Leon
1897 – 1899
Belgica expedition
1899
Cycling from Christiania to Paris
1900
Studying geomagnetism in Hamburg
1903 – 1906
Gjøa expedition
1907
Polar bears as draft animals
1908
Amundsen buys Uranienborg
1909
The North Pole reached?
1910 – 1912
Fram expedition
1910 – 1912
1910-1912 Fram expedition. Fram
1914
Amundsen becomes a pilot
1916 – 1917
The polar ship Maud is being built
1918
Maud expedition
1922
Nita and Camilla move in
1923
Uranienborg for sale
1924
Amundsen goes bankrupt
1925
To 88 degrees north
1926
Norge expedition
1927
Lecture tour in Japan
1928
Latham flight
1934 – 1935
Uranienborg becomes a museum
1938
Betty’s house burns down
2015
A chest full of photographs is discovered
2020
Roald Amundsen’s home goes digital