C.C. Nørgaard Madsen
Table of Contents
- Early years (1921-1950)
- SEAS Fabrikker, Værftsgate 10, Moss
- C.C. and Anne-Lill married (1962)
- The Klondike years (1969-1974)
- Ryggeveien 96, Moss
- The decline (1975-1977)
- The battle (1978-1982)
- The End
Mr. Carl Christian Nørgaard Madsen was born in Hjerm near Holstebro on 21. July 1921 and baptized in Hjerm Kirke on 7. August. He has two brothers, Robert and Frants, and C.C. is the oldest child. His parents, Niels Christian Madsen and Johanne Marie Pedersen Nørgaard Madsen, founded Videbæk Højttalerfabrik (English: Videbæk Loudspeaker Factory) in 1933, when C.C. was just 12 years old, with B&O being a primary customer, in the beginning they took everything that the loudspeaker factory could produce.
The childhood was not a fond memory and he was teased by others. His parents were not of the kind that gave love and affection to their children. In general C.C. entertained himself and became somewhat a loner. He spent time inventing and making stuff, like loudspeakers and radio gear and he definitely was of the opinion that his father was "stealing" his loudspeaker inventions and the relationship between C.C. and his parents was never good.
His mother died when he was only 19 years old, and C.C. never found out why she died. After about one year, his father remarried to a woman named Mie (born Toft). All children were much against this. Furthermore, N.C. had two children with his new wife, Mie, named Else and Peder.
His brother Frants Oluf Nørgaard Madsen became a teacher at a school in Thisted, whereas we know that his second brother Robert Henry Nørgaard Madsen moved to Humlebæk (north of Copenhagen, near Elsinore).
C.C. Nørgaard Madsen basically grew up in a loudspeaker factory and first he became an electrician, he was an apprentice at Jespersen (in Videbæk). He apparently wanted to be more than just an electrician and the environment must have inspired him to continue and study engineering. He went to Aarhus Elektroteknikum (Aarhus Engineering School) and I believe he finished his studies and became an electro-acoustic engineer, in 1947. His father, N.C. Madsen, was educated as a machinist. At this point in time, C.C. had never learned to speak English. C.C. didn't join the army, he escaped these duties, in spite of this being right around the beginning of World War II.
C.C. did not serve in the military and no one can say exactly why, but we know that he was a short and thin person, and that one of his eyes wasn't good, so maybe he wasn't fit for it and was rejected service.
Before going to Aarhus, while still in Videbæk and also continued during his engineering studies in Aarhus, C.C. was part of a group that prepared and published an illegal newspaper, during World War II, and he had a Colt revolver under his bed for protection. After finishing engineering school, C.C. went back to Videbæk, but he wanted to move away from the family, as mentioned, the relationship between C.C. and his father was never good.
1948: According to his second child, Christian Nørgaard Madsen, there is some minor dispute in the family, which seals the fate and drives C.C. to look for jobs in other places. C.C. finds a job advertisement in a newspaper for Radionette in Oslo, and they were looking for an engineer with skills within loudspeakers and radios, which seemed to match perfectly with C.C.
The owner of Radionette, Jan Wessel had decided to start making loudspeaker units for his own production of Radionette radio sets. C.C. Nørgaard Madsen was employed as a designer to do this. This must have been an incredibly lucky, almost ideal match for Wessel, to realize his vision of making transducers for Radionette's radio production.
According to Anne-Lill Nørgaard Madsen Christoffersen, who was married to C.C. for many years, he drove in his FIAT 500 Coupe ("Topolino") and arrived at the laboratory where he met lab-manager Nybø and he said that Wessel had hired him for the job and he had been asked to meet at the laboratory. Nybø was surprised because he didn't know about this, but continued, as he used his arm to push aside stuffy on the table, "You can have a spot here at the end of the table."
C.C. Nørgaard Madsen was hired to and started working as loudspeaker expert for Radionette on 1. August 1948, located in Filipstad, Oslo.
C.C. rented a small apartment / bedsit from the mother of supreme court prosecutor, Arne Beck (or Bech?) and she used to call from 1st floor up when dinner was ready. Beck once talked with Anne-Lill about how C.C. did not use the doors of the Fiat 500, but rather he jumped up and through the open roof.
A contract for C.C. Nørgaard Madsen, dated 1. August 1949, shows that he is paid a fixed salary of 1200 kr/monthly and that he is entitled to a commission of minimum 1% of the turnover, to be increased a little bit, depending on the quality of the products supplied to customers.
1950: Wessel and Madsen decided to separate the loudspeaker and radio business in order to be able to sell loudspeakers to other radio manufacturers in Norway and abroad. Godtfred Heesch is the General Manager, whereas C.C. Nørgaard Madsen is the Manager (Norwegian: Disponent). As such, C.C. Nørgaard Madsen has plenty of freedom to make decisions and dispose of money in whichever way seems to be good business practice.
Nørgaard Madsen was a professional engineer and a skilled business manager, very much an entrepreneur. By the employees, Jan Wessel is considered to be the highest ranking manager, and let's be clear, Wessel is the guy with the money.
Heesch and C.C. became good friends and they shared the interest of cars! C.C. was very enthusiastic about cars and it meant a lot to him, which he might have inherited from his father. At this time it was not easy to buy a car in Norway, but Heesch and C.C. both managed to do it and furthermore C.C. was driving as a rally car driver in Rally Viking, where he won on several occations. C.C. was proud of his silver trophies and Anne-Lill remembers she had the "pleasure" to polish them.
1951: The company moved to Moss.
For a start, C.C. moved into an apartment in Melløsbakken 24, Furuholtet, Moss. The apartment was purchased by SEAS.
According to C.C. Nørgaard Madsen, loudspeaker unit and transformer production were at this time already larger than other activities in Skandinavisk Elektronikk A/S (Import and sales of Garrard turntables and Sylvania vacuum tubes). On the other hand, for Jan Wessel, Radionette was still his main activity at this time.
In a contract for C.C. Nørgaard Madsen, dated 1. January 1954, his status is changed to operating manager at the facilities in Moss as well as purchasing manager. His salary is unchanged 1200 kr/month + commission of 1% (and higher if customer complaints are below a certain level). The commission is clearly a part of his income. This contract is signed by Godtfred Heesch. In the big picture, Heesch and Wessel are not involved in the loudspeaker factory and essentially the business is managed and developed into a successful company by C.C.
C.C. works on establishing a factory where almost everything is made in-house. This is the opposite of the trend towards outsourcing nowadays, but at the time it was a key factor of success in the business world.
1954: N.C. Madsen suggests that his son C.C. Nørgaard Madsen takes over Videbæk Højttalerfabrik, but disagreements eventually mean this fails. Correspondence between the two documents this process and in a final letter C.C. writes to his dear father, should it become desirable at a later date to perform such a transfer of assets, if his father would please hire an attorney!
In correspondence throughout the 1950s we can see that the department under Nørgaard Madsen is called Skandinavisk Elektronikk A/S Højttaleravdelingen (i.e. The Loudspeaker Department).
In the mid-50ties SEAS buys Camilla Colletts gate 38 and C.C. moves to this new location. This house is near to the Søly boat harbor at Framnes (Grimsrød, on the island Jeløya).
As a side-note, one of the fellow students of Nørgaard Madsen, which he met during his time in Aarhus, is Mogens Hvass. C.C. convinced Hvass to move to Norway with his wife, Ruth. It seems to match with the time when C.C. moved from Melløsbakken to Camilla Colletts gate, around the middle of 1950ties. Ruth and Mogens Hvass then moved into the apartment in Melløsbakken. Later Hvass became laboratory manager.
In the early 1950ties (this is before Hvass was hired to work for SEAS), C.C. and Ruth and Mogens Hvass drove on a summer vacation to Jugoslavia (Sarajevo, Split, etc) in C.C.s car, a FIAT 500 (1936-1955), and they stayed overnight in a single bed, all three together, on primitive hostels. Indeed C.C. and Mogens Hvass were very close friends.
1956: Skandinavisk Elektro-Akustisk Selskap (English: Scandinavian Electro-Acoustic Company), or SEAS, was formed as a limited company with two shareholders, J. Wessel and C.C. Nørgaard Madsen, each owning 50%.
According to Anne-Lill, she never saw Wessel at SEAS in Moss while she worked at SEAS (1959-1962) and Wessel rarely attended any meetings, only the meetings that were held at Radionette, and then C.C. drove to Oslo. According to Grethe Edstrøm she remembers only once that Wessel visited SEAS, and then it was like a King had arrived.
A (third) contract dated 1. January 1957 appoints C.C. Nørgaard Madsen as Daily Manager (Norwegian: Disponent) in SEAS Fabrikker A/S. His salary is fairly humble. Like previously, an apartment is at his disposal. As something new, a company car is to be at his disposal. C.C. acquires a dark blue Vauxhall.
In February 1957, SEAS purchase a house in Camilla Colletts gate 38, from Erling and Sonja Bakke.
Around the mid-50ties or maybe a bit later, the company was among the first in Norway (maybe the first) to introduce the 5-day work week, which meant the employees had to work half an hour longer on the five work days and then they could leave for the weekend Friday afternoon. It is safe to say that C.C. was highly appreciated among the employees. Every morning, C.C. walked through the production facilities and talked with the employees and followed up on everything that were being done, which the employees appreciated very much.
C.C. is on first-name with the men (which is unusual at the time) and yet for mutual respect on last-name with the women.
In 1958 C.C. buys an Airedale Terrier, which he names Rally. Clearly the dog's name was from his interest in motor sports.
The wife of Godtfred Heesch, Aase, is actively working on mending the knots between C.C. and Elfi, who is a cousin of Aase and who was initially married with Torsell (who worked at Skandinavisk Elektronikk in Oslo, under Godtfred Heesch, Ebbells Gate 1). Elfi and Torsell divorced, supposedly Aase was of the opinion that C.C. would be a match for Elfi. Elfi became pregnant and moved into Camilla Colletts gate, but C.C. made it very clear he had no intentions of marrying Elfi, yet C.C. and Elfi Langlie married on 8. April 1959. A week before the child was born, C.C. and Elfi went to the city hall to verify he was the father of the child. Marianne was born on 16. April 1959. C.C. said to Elfi, as soon as he could find an apartment for her in Oslo, he wishes to take out separation. It wasn't so easy at the time, so according to the memory of Anne-Lill, Elfi and Marianne moved to Oslo one year later, April 1960.
C.C. had a sense that Ruth (the wife of Mogens Hvass) was not jealous on Elfi, but she looked quite different to Anne-Lill. C.C. even mentioned that Ruth may have felt Anne-Lill took her second husband away from her. Ruth and Mogens were not able to conceive children, and Ruth never found friends on her own, and it was C.C. who introduced them to friends in the Moss and Rygge area. Ruth and Mogens adopted two children, Susanne and Jens, in either 1960 or 1961.
Anne-Lill is hired, 1959: Anne-Lill went to college (Norwegian: Gymnasium) and hereafter to secretarial school in Fredrikstad, where the students were taught Norwegian, English, German and French for business correspondence, and they learned stenography in Norwegian and English as well as typing on machines, etc. Two of her friends were hired as secretaries at the M. Peterson & Søn paper factory in town (nick named Cellulosen) at 850 kr. per month. Anne-Lill heard that SEAS was a good workplace, with 5-day work week and good salaries. She came for a job interview as agreed, on time, but had to sit and wait for quite a while, and she remembers that the secretary Grethe Edstrøm mentioned that Nørgaard Madsen probably would be a bit delayed. Anne-Lill later learned that C.C. and Hvass regularly would walk to the Frellumstad Cafe around the corner and have their afternoon coffee break here. C.C. finally showed up, they shook hands and she was invited into the office where they talked for a while. He asked her when she could start (later Anne-Lill learned there had been several applications for the job), and she replied that she could start the following Monday, because she would then be past her exams. She just had to have one day off at Sankt Hans, where the school had arranged a farewell party. The salary was agreed to be 925 kr/month, which was 75 kr. more than her friends! Anne-Lill started working at SEAS on 8. June 1959, and one year later on the 8. June 1960, C.C. proposes to Anne-Lill, she accepts, and they're engaged.
Anne-Lill replaced another secretary, who had stopped. There's only one secretary, plus Grethe Edstrøm who as salary-secretary handles the salaries. Anne-Lill was responsible for correspondence, the archives and received messages for C.C. Besides Anne-Lill is responsible that SEAS start to have an occupational health service. Every week, 5 people visit Dr. Dag Jensen. There's a log-book over these visits.
Grethe Stephansen-Smith started at SEAS in 1955. She was engaged with Ole Edstrøm in 1959 and they married late May 1960. She stopped working at SEAS in the fall 1962 when she was waiting their first child. Ole Edstrøm had stopped working at SEAS in 1961.
Grethe Edstrøm remember when Madsen and engineer Jensen were discussing assignment of jobs, and when the product price was sensitive, they would give the job assignment to a woman. There was quite a difference in how women and men were paid. She remembers that, as the work on salaries grew because the company grew, SEAS hired a man to help Grethe with the job. He was a bit older and titled "salary manager" and was paid 10.000 kr. more than her, although she had to teach him how to do his job. She complained about the salary difference to Madsen, and his response was that he had a family to take care of. Grethe left the office in anger.
Generally speaking, Madsen was a kind person, also to Grethe Edstrøm. For example, when she married Ole Edstrøm, she asked for a loan, and SEAS gave her 5000 kr. She started to pay it back 500 kr/month, but Madsen stopped by and said she should remember that she's recently married and could ease on the payback. Grethe decided to continue with the payments, because she didn't want debt, but it was a nice gesture anyway. Also, when she and Ole asked if Madsen had a vacant apartment available, yes sure! They were offered an apartment nicely located in the center of Moss. As a wedding gift, they received 6 silver spoons, which was a very nice (generous) gift.
The annual Christmas parties were not so nice. Grethe attended during 1955-61 while working there. Everything was free (incl. alcohol), and the managers were very obnoxious. Heesch was the worst of them.
Grethe remembers that Madsen was a skilled engineer, but he wasn't as good in some other matters, for example English (correspondence), and it was a bit difficult for him to admit. Grethe had experience and was outplaced for 6 months in the UK, prior to working at SEAS, so she knew better. The discussion might end with Madsen waiving it off: "You write whatever you want."
C.C. became very fond of Norway, but he never obtained a Norwegian citizenship (at the time, this would imply giving up your Danish citizenship). He loved to go skiing in the mountains, from cabin to cabin (skiing is quite uncommon in Denmark and there's no mountains either or even large areas of wilderness, I can imagine the Norwegian nature is breathtakingly beautiful and was highly appreciated by C.C.). At some point in April 1960, Ole Edstrøm, who was warehouse manager at SEAS, looked out the window of the office in Værftsgate down on Madsens car (they only called him Madsen) and the ski were still mounted on top of the roof - and Ole Edstrøm commented: The winter is not over for Madsen yet! (Here in the southern part of Norway, April is very much the last chance of snow, but if you drive a bit north, or e.g. inland towards e.g. Haukeli fjell, then you can find snow). The car was the Vauxhall that SEAS acquired in 1957.
Anne-Lill and C.C. married 13. May 1962 on the Danish island Bornholm. Actually Anne-Lill was engaged with a young man from Moss, named Tore Christoffersen, but when he went to sea, as part of becoming a machinist (chief marine engineer), she fell in love with C.C. and broke the engagement with Tore. It is not difficult to imagine that C.C. is a charming and to some extent eccentric person. Everyone that I have spoken to have fond memories of a very kind and personal man. The age difference between the two is about 18 years (Anne-Lill was born 1939). Tore at the time in 1963 became the youngest to complete the Norwegian exam and become chief marine engineer.
C.C. might have thought that Anne-Lill was too young to have children yet, so C.C. wanted to see how she managed if Rally had puppies. The dog had 9 puppies in a litter 28. July 1962 and they were all sold off, except for one, which was gifted to the parents of Anne-Lill, and they appreciated the gift.
In 1963, Anne-Lill and C.C. have their first and only child, a son named Christian Nørgaard Madsen. The family drives to Silkeborg, Denmark, 3 weeks before the birth is scheduled, so that Christian can be born in Denmark and become a Danish citizen. This was very important to C.C., and that Christian could have a Danish passport. The family stayed in Denmark a couple of weeks after the birth. At the time, dual citizenship was not possible. According to Anne-Lill this was just one of C.C.'s "ideas" of how it should be and she complied, although citizenship at the time, followed the father and Christians citizenship was never to be anything but Danish anyway.
In June 1963 the family buys a farm in Denmark for 105.000 kr, named Bispegaarden. It is a wonderful place, a four winged farm in Sahl (south of Bjerringbro), with thatched roof and with 60 Barrel of land (82 acres), amongst others with a Christmas tree plantation. The neighbor's farm is Vandmøllegaarden (eng.: The Water Mill Farm) and Christian becomes friends with the son of the neighbors - his name is also Christian! This is a private purchase and SEAS is not involved. Anne-Lill found the advertisement in the Danish newspaper BT or Jyllandsposten a Saturday when they had been at a park and opened the mail, this was during Christmas 1962, but the asset had to be sold as his drinking caused financial trouble in the 1970ties.
Rumors tell that C.C. explicitly instructed, he wanted a son. A girl would be sent to China! He had his ideas, but the outburst may have just been a strong desire to have a child that could eventually take over the family business. Christian is born on 27. July 1963 in Silkeborg. C.C. wanted this birth to happen in Denmark to ensure his Danish citizenship, but it would have never been a problem anyway, since in Norway the citizenship follows the father of the child. Christian became a Norwegian citizen while studying at NTNU in Trondheim, because, as he said, he has always lived in Norway, he had received his education in Norway, and he felt like a Norwegian in every way.
Tore became so disappointed that he never permanently returned to Norway, but instead he settled in Canada.
C.C. wanted Mogens Hvass to be the godfather of Christian and finally on 19. January 1964, Christian is baptized in Hjerm Gl. Kirke in Denmark (C.C.s father grew up as a child in this area).
In the earlier years, the family was living in the house at Camilla Colletts Gate 38. At the age of 2, Christian spoke clean Norwegian, which impressed visitors. Quite a few loudspeakers and components found their way to the home. Anne-Lill and Christian would go to the factory every Saturday to collect mail, which they brought to the Park restaurant and opened up while eating lunch. Then they took the opened mail back to the factory, ready when people arrived at work Monday morning. Every time they took the same round-trip at the factory. First through the warehouse, then to the workshop where the big machinery was located. Afterwards the trip went up to the third floor to the "series" where mostly women were working. Pallets several stories high are loaded with loudspeakers next to the two small test-rooms, where Hermansen and Stubberud tested all loudspeakers. C.C. always lifted a couple and hit on it with his finger while lifting it to the ear. He was able to spot a bad loudspeaker based on the tapping and whenever he pointed out a bad one, which he often did on the round-trip through the factory. He would put it aside and Monday on the round-trip, either Hermansen or Stubberud could confirm he had picked one that was outside specs. C.C. had an incredible hearing. Maybe it compensated for the one bad eye where he had no vision. Christian was included in all this and he knew the every square-inch of the factory. The round-trip of the factory continued for a while, at least until the family moved to Fjordveien.
In May 1964, C.C. and Anne-Lill traveled to the far east with the Danish Engineering Society. They visited many countries, but for the male part of the team, it was Japan that was most important and they went on several factory visits. Anne-Lill became familiar with Jens Thorsen and his wife Karen. C.C. knew Thorsen from earlier times, he was general manager at B&O. They were together much of the time, and later C.C. and Anne-Lill were invited to visit them in Struer (Denmark). Anne-Lill has a thick book from the trip to Asia, because each participant was asked to write about every day.
Later Anne-Lill also became familiar with Arne Jacobsen, he was procurement manager at B&O. C.C. and Anne-Lill visited Arne, his wife and daughter. His wife died and he later had a girlfriend. C.C. and Anne-Lill visited them for a New Year evening and they also visited Norway, for example when Christian turned 7 years old. C.C. and Anne-Lill went to visit Arne Jacobsen when he turned 50, in 1973, which was celebrated with a big party in Struer, 26. July 1973.
Anne-Lill remembers that she and C.C. went on a factory tour at B&O. It was not allowed to go everywhere, but they met amonst others Laboratory Manager Rørdam.
Anne-Lill remember one evening in the 60ties when C.C. had participated in a meeting in Oslo, when he drove to the factory before coming home, and saw that his new teak door and door panels to his office room had been screw mounted with steel screws. He was totally shocked and became furious. He called the builder / carpenter the next morning and required that they immediately come and replace the screws with copper screws!
Ruth Hvass was a bit of a gambler, and she wanted to play poker all the time, and Anne-Lill remembers that she was informed, if she didn't want to play poker, she didn't need to come at all. She was pretty moody, and when she was what Mogens called "grumpy / pissed," nothing could change that. One day in the beginning of January 1965, C.C. and Anne-Lill and Christian came back to Moss after a Christmas in Denmark, it had snowed and it was very cold. C.C. had turned off the heat when they left, so the house was essentially frozen on the inside when they came back. They cranked up the heat and went out, they took Christian sledding down to the home of Hvass on Nesveien (on Jeløya), quite a distance from Camilla Colletts gate 38 and they figured they could stay there for a couple of hours until their own house warmed up a bit. It was a cold Sunday before lunch. They rang the doorbell and when Mogens came out on the stairs and whispered that Ruth was pissed, they were not able to come inside! So, on the home front it would seem that Ruth is the one "who had the pants on" as C.C. would put it.
In 1965 the family buys a summer vacation house in Søndervig, at the west coast of Denmark, named Merci. This is also a private purchase, SEAS is not involved. Later, during the financially messy time period, the summerhouse is sold to Nesdam.
The dog Rally died 1969 (of cancer). Christian was devastated and speculating how life would go on without a dog, so Christian had to face this death and loss at a young age. Needless to say, the family was to have a new dog. One day in August 1969 they walked by a woman with an Old English Sheepdog, which happened to be waiting puppies and the family could buy one for 1200 kr. Christian was told to pay some of the money, and he would sell juice on the street and have small jobs. The plum tree in the back was gifted to him, and he sold plums to any- and everyone. Altogether he managed to collect 600 kr. He was just 6 years old. The new dog was named Shaggy.
In 1969, C.C. fires Mogens Hvass, one of his closest friends. C.C found out that Hvass in secrecy had been cooperating with Ejvind Skaaning, and he became so disappointed, that his best friend had betrayed him. Something inside C.C. broke. Anne-Lill remembers she was somewhat surprised that, when she met C.C., he would drink a beer every day, and a whisky before dinner, but she figured that drinking habits were different in Denmark than in Norway. At this point, he started to drink more (alcohol).
Prior to the debacle, the relationship had cooled down a bit, not sure exactly what, but we can guess that Ruth, his wife, had larger ambitions for Mogens and also that she would like to go back to Denmark. Mogens maybe saw that something new was happening in Jutland (Denmark), where he could get a job if he brought drawings and other material and information with him, and such that the new business could compete with SEAS. Mogens Hvass knew about the ideas that C.C. had been working on, because they had no secrets between the two, when it came to ideas and developemnt. C.C. was the one with the visions and ideas.
In 1969 Per Rikard Frydenlund came from Skandinavisk Elektronikk A/S and was supposed to help C.C. with various matters, not sure exactly what. His desk was always empty, according to Anne-Lill, and he didn't seem to be particularly visible to the employees.
In 1970 the family moves to another house at Fjordveien number 66. All housing was owned by the company. This move helped a bit regarding alcohol consumption, as the family was very focused on the changes to the house and interior decorating the new home. C.C. was good at it, and he had a good taste (although expensive). The new house was nice with lots of space and Christian had started in 1. grade in school. Quite a lot of this was finished before C.C.s 50-year birthday, on 21. July 1971, and they received the guests at home before noon. The sun was shining beautifully and the garden was used as additional space for the party. Friends and business associated from Norway, Sweden and Denmark came from afar, including Jan Wessel and Mr. Barton (from Bo Knutsson in Stockholm), Magnus Nesdam, the portrait painter Mr. Barenholt from Elsinore (C.C. had his portrait made by this painter), and many more, including union representatives, friends, etc. Mogens Hvass was out of the picture. The birthday party was on Refsnes Gods with family and close friends.
Camilla Collettsgate 38 is sold to Per Meder for 120.000 kr. (valid from 1. september), with the condition, should he stop working at SEAS, then he must sell it back to SEAS.
For Anne-Lill a lot of the time period is focused on creating a nice home for the family, including upstairs and even downstairs in the basement, where a TV room as well as a Ping-Pong table room was made, the Ping-Pong room became popular with Christian and his friends.
June 1972, picture of C.C. and Shaggy, hanging out on the sofa.
Besides the factory, which meant everything to C.C. (he said when he married Anne-Lill that her responsibility is the home and the family, and C.C. had the factory ...), he was concerned about the situation in Israel after the 6-day war, and they became members of a society called "Israels friends," where Jens Christian Hauge was a vivid participant. Last week in February and the first week in March 1972, they traveled to Israel with Christian. At the school they said he would learn more than the teacher could, so on top of the winter vacation he had an extra week off. The day before the family traveled they met with Nesdam and his wife plus Møller Holst and his wife in Lyngby. Møller Holst ran an export company, maybe named Siso. The family visited Jerusalem one week and Netanya the next week, and unfortunately C.C. consumed alcohol every day. They visited a small company in Tel Aviv, they may have been selling loudspeakers. Throughout the spring there was a daily consumption of alcohol, but in the beginning of June they went to Stockholm because they were invited to a 50-year birthday for an employee of Bo Knutsson, the name is lost. C.C. had Mrs Knutson, and the Swedes are stylish and a bit stiff, so they had to go in procession to the tables. Exactly at that time, C.C. felt he had to go to the bathroom, so Mrs Knutson had to walk alone, Anne-Lill was very ashamed.
Anne-Lill continues: The following week, June 1972, we were invited to a big come together in Copenhagen at a hotel, the name is forgotten. Peter Hasselriis had invited, and all the big names from Dynaco, with David Hafler and his wife at the top, business people from many countries, Anne-Lill remembers the Netherlands. There had been many troubles with Peter Hasselriis and Ejvind Skaaning and others at the time after Hvass disappeared, but everybody supposedly had to live with each other in the picture. It became much too much alcohol for C.C. and Anne-Lill was helped by Hasselriis to get him into the hotel room bed. It was an absolutely embarrassing and degrading episode, but the day after we were all heading for lunch in Tivoli in Copenhagen, with the Hafflers, maybe also other.
One week later they were with friends in Moss, and it also went wrong. Anne-Lill was such in despair over the whole situation, because he was driving his car under the influence of alcohol, and Anne-Lill refused to drive with C.C., so she walked home. At this point Anne-Lill decided to inform C.C. that she and Christian would not join him on a vacation trip in the car to Jugoslavia, and for a couple of nights she moved together with Christian to some friends, and afterwards to the sister of Anne-Lill, in Hvitsten. C.C. traveled to Jugoslavia with Nesdam. Anne-Lill called lawyer Arne Beck and asked for a name of a lawyer who could help her, since Beck was the lawyer of C.C. Anne-Lill went to the recommended lawyer in Oslo and put forward her case, and he recommended that they would first try with some mediation between the two. Anne-Lill contacted the priest in Moss, whom she knew a bit, and he sent a letter to C.C. and asked him to meet up for the mediation after his vacation. We were there, and the priest said that the problems were so big, they both needed more time to find out what they wanted to do with the rest of their lives.
As Anne-Lill had refused to be on the car trip down Europe during summer vacation 1972, she received some money from C.C. Anne-Lill remembers she mentioned to the lawyer in Oslo she had 1700 kr. and that was all. She was staying with family and friends for free, and she didn't pay any rent in Melløsbakken, so Anne-Lill was able to take a job at Helly-Hansen around mid September 1972.
It is a bit unclear what happened chronologically, but Christian started in school while Anne-Lill was living part time with her sister and part time with her parents. When she knew C.C. wasn't home, they would live in Fjordvejen some days. It resulted in a lot of driving to and from school, and Anne-Lill had to take Shaggy to a kennel, and Christian was sad about it. At Hvitsten, Christian had his cousins to play with. Anne-Lill herself became more sad as she had no one place to live and almost no money. One day Frydenlund and Nesdam came to visit, while Anne-Lill and Christian were living at friends on Refsnes a few days, and begged that they would move back home, because the situation with C.C. was worse. She refused and said she wants to live in the apartment on Melløsbakken, but an employee was living there at the time, so she was offered an apartment at Gjerrebogen. That was out of the question, and the situation for her and Christian was hard enough as it was, and she didn't want Christian to have to change to another school and have to adjust to new friends, and to establish himself in an entire new environment. In the end they accepted, Guldbrandsen moved out, and Christian and Anne-Lill moved into Melløsbakken.
Besides, Anne-Lill had applied for available jobs and she was lucky to get a job at Helly-Hansen as staff secretary in September 1972, she thought, but they called the following day and said she couldn't have it, because they were afraid of industrial espionage! Luckily they instead offered her a job as "first lady" (it was a legal title in 1972) at the foam plastics department, and she was relieved and happy for the offer. At the same time, Anne-Lill was informed that C.C. had been signed into rehab in Denmark (presumably Nesdam had taken care of it) at Gml. Skovridergaard near Silkeborg. For Anne-Lill the job went well, but Christian was alone, he had a house key around his neck because he finished at school before Anne-Lill came home from work, and he didn't find any friends in Melløsbakken.
Anne-Lill managed to have a telephone installed at Melløsbakken, don't remember how, but at the time in Norway it was no simple matter. Anne-Lill talked a couple of times with C.C. while he was at Gml. Skovridergaard, and he told her it was going well. He wish that they visit him, and she accepted, because she hoped that C.C. would understand how serious the situation was, both in regard to the family and also SEAS Fabrikker. A Friday in November after work, she and Christian flew to Copenhagen then onwards to Karup, where C.C. met them late in the evening. They stopped in Herning on the way, because Christian was hungry and they had a piece of bread with pate, before they finally arrived. On Saturday, C.C. was busy presenting his new circle of friends, among these a person from Sweden, who obviously was there for the same reasons, and who was from a large company in Sweden, maybe a lumber yard, as well as a nice lady. Anne-Lill was more interested in a serious conversation with C.C. and so they went out and walked in the park, together with Christian, and they had a nice day, but they never came to the point where they talked about what should happen in the future. Christian was not happy about their life at Melløsbakken, he was just 9 years old and it was not simple and uncomplicated.
Before Anne-Lill and Christian moved out from Fjordveien they had about one week every month, where they could recover. Christian wish he could move back to Fjordveien and Shaggy, if C.C. would stop drinking alcohol. Sunday morning at the Gml. Skovriddergaard before Christian was awake, Anne-Lill went over to C.C. (they all slept in the same room) and asked directly what he actually wanted. C.C. said he wished to come back to Fjordveien and SEAS again, and also that Anne-Lill and Christian, and Anne-Lill replied that if C.C. could swear that the drinking alcohol was no more, then she would take Christian to Fjordveien the next day, after work, and after they pick up Shaggy from the kennel, and they would wait for him there as he came a few days later.
This was at the same time a complicated and a simple matter for Anne-Lill, because the consideration for Christian was very important, but she thought this time had also been difficult for C.C., and that he saw the opportunity to start working again at SEAS, which meant so much for him. Besides, Anne-Lill had a job and boosted with confidence she knew that she could earn money on her own. Anne-Lill and C.C. had prior to marriage signed a prenuptial agreement, which meant everything belonged to C.C., which he had asked her to sign before the marriage, such that nobody could say she married him for the money, and for her this had been perfectly OK, since the marriage was supposed to be forever, and she was rest assured that C.C. would take care that she had everything she needed. The papers were signed at the law firm of Bent Nebelong prior to the trip to Bornholm, and later when she met with lawyer Back, he had asked her if she really understood what she had signed.
Early in their marriage, they had purchased a place in Vestby, Eikheim, during the fall of 1962. Anne-Lill had found the advertisement in the newspaper, it was a very simple log (notched timber) cabin, with a 4000 square-meter plot of land, placed among large oak trees and hidden from the road by rocky outcrop.
It's about 10 km north of Moss. When you drive the old Oslo road over Kambo station (then) and a little further north, turn left towards Son and a bit inward, it lay across the road that goes down towards Brevik. The cottage eventually decayed, they had built a couple of wall-mounted sofas and a table, as well as 2 bed bunks, and they actually stayed overnight there from St. Hans Day and one night in 1963. On the plot, lots of whitewash and other field flowers grew, and also a rarity, Platanthera bifolia (Norwegian: Nattfiol). Anne-Lill and CC had planned to build a house there. This never happened, and Christian and Marianne each inherited half when C.C. died.
Eikheim, after many misfortunes with the Vestby municipality, was finally sold to a property developer, which has developed a residential neighborhood in the area.
C.C. came back home in November 1972 and started working again. He came home sober every afternoon, and both Anne-Lill as well as Christian were very curious as to how it would go. Anne-Lill continued her work at Helly-Hansen every day, and everything went well. Anne-Lill remembers they also had a nice Christmas and New Years Eve together. The Danish accountant, Jørgen Larsen, whom Anne-Lill had learned to know quite well from works both in Videbæk and Moss, where he had attended to Management of the Board meetings, was one of the people who really tried hard to help as much as he could. He had met Anne-Lill and Christian at the airport in Copenhagen, when they visited one time in November, and he had been so curious to hear if everything had gone as well as he had hoped. He was invited for Christmas in Moss, and he came to participate, and it was all very nice. Christmas Eve was celebrated the way Christian wanted it, he had friends over, and they served dinner and confectionery, and we had agreed with the parents that they could stay until midnight, where they ignited some sparklers, and they followed all the friends' home afterwards.
It is unclear exactly when C.C. started to drink a bit again, but it seems that it must be before the summer 1973. Anne-Lill had been informed that the foam plastics department at Helly-Hansen would be closed on 1. July, but she was offered a job as secretary for one of the managers, which she denied, because she felt it would be better to stay home and take care of the family. They had planned to drive down Europe, but suddenly some people in Dynaco wanted C.C. and the Board Manager in Denmark, Nebelong, to travel to Philadelphia at the beginning of July. It would not have been appropriate to let the Americans know that we had to go on a vacation first, so instead Anne-Lill and Christian, and Sine (Mrs Nebelong), had to join. They were well received, but it is unknown to Anne-Lill what business was accomplished, because she and Sine were invited to shopping, etc. by their wives, of which only Mrs Hafler is remembered. During the dinner with the Americans it again became too much alcohol for C.C. and it was very much not OK. The return trip went over New York to Le Havre with the cruise ship SS France, from there to Krefeld to visit Dr. Kurt Müller (supplier of cones) to Videbæk and the 50th birthday of Arne Jacobsen, and the 10 year birthday of Christian.
The time period of 1969-1974 is considered a Klondike period, where SEAS are very successful and rises to be one of the stars on the international loudspeaker scene. Both companies (Norway and Denmark) experienced major growth and in 1974 there were 250 employees in Norway and 200 in Denmark. There is no particular reason for C.C. to turn to alcohol, it would seem, besides the fact that he had been betrayed by Hvass and this was painful and in a very bad way. Another issue is that the growth of the company means that C.C. has to give up on having control over everything that happens in the company, and instead he has to delegate jobs to middle managers. For many years, C.C. had full control over everything and also time to develop the products. Another issue at the time, is that meetings with customers includes alcohol, so for a person like C.C. to decline this was difficult (like, almost impossible) and alcohol was part of the job. This is unthinkable today, but in the 70ties this was the norm.
In 1973 many celebrations arise. For one, on 1. August 1973, C.C. celebrates 25 years of SEAS Fabrikker in Norway - which implies that C.C. considers 1. August 1948 as the day SEAS was founded, but today we consider the separation from Radionette in 1950 as the year that SEAS was founded. In the home of C.C. and the family, the celebration takes place and gifts are opened. Later the party continues at Refsnes Gods (a manor house on Jeløya). At the stairs to the restaurant, front left Jan Wessel and behind him Magnus Nesdam-Madsen and his wife is behind him (dark hair). In the back Ole Skoge and his wife (red dress). Center in a white dress, Anne-Lill, and behind her C.C.
Later in 1973 (where Skoge had joined SEAS, October 1973) there were meetings with Rygge County about a plot of land for SEAS and the planning of the building, but Hauge must have been involved as well. A lot isn't clear in chronological order, but Anne-Lill knows that C.C. had returned to the bottle.
In early September 1973 the company displays at shows in Copenhagen and Berlin. Later, on 26. September, the family celebrates the 80th anniversary of N.C. Madsen, the father of C.C. (in Videbæk). On the 13th of November 1973, the 40th anniversary of Videbæk Højttalerfabrik is celebrated (also in Videbæk), with many prominent guests.
Late 1974 the new facilities to SEAS Fabrikker is opened. Everybody was invited to the party, Anne-Lill estimates about 300 people, among them of course, all employees in Moss, the management of the board, the Mayor of Rygge, Ulf Knutsen, etc.
Ole Skoge organized much of the party. He took care of the invitations, voluntary assistance from a charity organization, maybe it was the Freemason who took care of the serving of catered food, drinks and music, the setup of the polonaise dance before we were allowed to go to the covered tables with table seating, organization of the various speakers, and he arranged with Mrs Dalaasen about her self-written and well presented prolog (a kind of "drama" introduction). Anne-Lill told Skoge she wanted to present a speak, and he told Hauge, who demanded that Skoge should hear her speech, and possibly censor unwanted criticism! Skoge invited Anne-Lill to the dinner at Refsnes Gods, where he read her speech, which was only and exclusively written for her husband, and for his unselfish efforts for SEAS through all the years. Skoge was emotionally touched by the speech and told Hauge that the speech was beautiful and harmless.
This image shows the Danish and Norwegian sites of SEAS (from an old Christmas card).
Christian remembers being 10 years old, and there was a large gathering of people at one end of the facilities in Moss / Rygge. He wandered off to the entrance (which is where a grocery store named MENY is located today) and found a forklift truck. He couldn't drive such a truck, but found the keys in the ignition and managed to raise the forks to the very top, found the acceleration pedal and drove around. This all came to a sudden stop, when the forks hit a large iron beam across the hall, which was lying high above, on a pair of concrete pillars. The beam wasn't screw mounted yet and so it came down with tremendous force and a lot of noise. It first hit the entrance port which totally curled up, then hit the concrete floor with a decidedly powerful dunk. Then people came running, and in particular Ulf Knutsen, who was mayor in Rygge county, stands sharply in Christians memory, with a tight look in his face.
C.C. and Anne-Lill at first had not known about the episode with Christian and the truck. They were dancing at the party and Ulriksen, who had been responsible through the entire process of building the new facilities, came and told C.C. and Anne-Lill what had happened, but also that Christian was OK.
Christian grew up in the loudspeaker factory. He has had many small jobs and his first job, around 1970, paid about one Norwegian kroner per hour. Christian is strategically nursed into a future position at the factory, and C.C. was always planning that his son would eventually take over the family business over time.
1975: SEAS (Norway) officially move into new and modern premises just outside Moss, but shortly afterwards the company had peaked.
As the company runs into trouble, and power struggles plague the top management, C.C. Nørgård Madsen becomes more and more of an alcoholic. He would at 10 a.m. in the morning be served a Bloody Mary. He is a humane and a fundamentally kind person. Much of the daily management is handled by factory manager Frydenlund, who on the other hand has a military background and is quite a different personality.
The crisis, which started around 1975 was partially caused by the oil crisis, and added to the cocktail some increasing competition from Japan. It worried C.C. that it was possible to land a complete loudspeaker shipped from Japan at Oslo harbor to a price, which is lower than the material cost for making the parts of a speaker (i.e. without labor cost) at the SEAS factory. How do you compete with that?
Jan Wessel had a lawyer named Jens Christian Hauge, who initially had taken care to merge Tandberg with Radionette, whereby Jan Wessel had lost all his savings. Anyway Wessel must have felt that he was OK and Jens Christian Hauge was made chairman for SEAS. Unfortunately Nesdam-Madsen made acquaintance with Hauge and he convinced Hauge that he should come to Norway and become the General Manager for SEAS, 1977. Nesdam became General Manager Wednesday 3rd August 1977, initially on a 2-year contract, later extended until the end of 1980.
At the same time Nørgaard Madsen had to resign, officially for health reasons. He still owned half the stocks in SEAS and as such was still in the picture, until around 1980, but essentially without influence and not part of the daily management.
At SEAS there's extensive documentation from 3 scrap books with literally hundreds of newspaper clips, mostly from Moss Avis (MA) and Moss Dagblad (MD), covering this time period, often on a daily basis and during less intense periods on a monthly basis.
On the 2. and 3. of February 1978, Moss Avis covers a layoff of 25 SEAS employees in Moss, Norway. The employees fight this through their organizations and not least the foreman of the employees (union) "club" - Reidun Johannessen. According to Moss Avis the conflict is solved on the 17. February when the management at SEAS (Magnus Nesdam) decide that layoffs are delayed a month, so the negotiations can continue, and on the 2. of March the newspaper reports that the layoffs are withdrawn. I believe 20 out of 25 jobs are saved. The situation isn't exactly good and over the year, people are taking sick leave. In October 1978 somewhere between 30-35 employees are sick every day (that's about 1/4 of the employees in production).
Anne-Lill is hired as manager of the proofreading department at Moss Avis, 6. February 1978. She had applied for a job as a journalist, but that was declined, maybe due to her connection with C.C. and SEAS. In return, the editor gave Anne-Lill a lot of writing assignments right from the start, both reports, interviews, minutes from political meetings, features, etc., once in a while she was co-editor of a home magazine. It meant a lot of overtime, and she desperately needed the money, because at this time she received nothing from her husband.
It didn't last long before one of the journalists, Bente Collier Jarl, found out that she could use Anne-Lill as a second-hand source of information for many first-page postings in the newspaper about SEAS. Jan Paus would often call her in the evening and inform about what had happened and Bente Collier Jarl therefore received inside information later in the evening. It was painful for Anne-Lill to hear about all the misery, the struggle for the workplaces, etc. while she at the same time knew the situation with C.C. would become worse and worse. He stayed either in Denmark or at institutions at home. But Anne-Lill also had to try to make everyday living as liveable as possible for Christian. Unfortunately, Christian experienced so much, that a child should be shielded against. At an early time he had joined the boy scouts, and he was eagerly sailing, and everywhere other childrens' fathers would show up, while Christian had a mother as a driver for the boy scouts and a boat on the top of the car. All of the parents of course knew what had happened in Christians life, and they willingly helped in carrying the boat out of the water and put it back on the top of the car roof. Later Christian grew up and became taller, and he tackled the job himself, and he always had a job after school to earn some pocket money.
When Vebjørn Tandberg oversees the collapse of his dear factory (Tandberg Radiofabrikk, Kjelsaas, Oslo), and eventually decides to commit suicide, on 30. August 1978, this hits C.C. very hard. This time period is marked by sadness. Maybe a personal depression.
SEAS Norway goes through a difficult period of time. SEAS is managed by Magnus Nesdam and he spends for some years a significant amount of time at the Norwegian site (like 4 days a week). While the Danish site is profitable, the Norwegian site is not. After Nesdam fails over the course of several years to turn the Norwegian site profitable, it is decided by the board that the site must close.
The economy is very messy, and essentially being pulled apart from several sides. In an attempt to keep things together, Anne-Lill asks C.C. to write a power of attorney to her, which gives her the control of all assets. Hereafter Svenn Stray, lawyer and former minister of foreign affairs in Norway, joins the board. Suddenly Bent Nebelong (lawyer for C.C.) was very busy to have this power of attorney canceled and another one written for him. C.C. accepted this, he was at his full senses, but he had basically given up at this point - he couldn't bear the battle. C.C. trusted Bent Nebelong since they had been associated for such a long time, but in reality he worked for the good for Nesdam and not for the best interest of C.C. Suddenly C.C. found himself surrounded by people he could not trust.
C.C. was so much the company man, that he was never paid a large personal salary, but rather he was able to manage the company funds however he wanted to. The houses in Norway are owned by the company, and so is the car, etc. These assets are no longer available to C.C. and the family looses basically everything. The idea to ensure your private funds the way things are run today, was never considered as an option, it was totally out of the picture. The family did privately own a farm in Denmark, near Bjerringbro (between Silkeborg and Viborg).
In the past, a considerable amount of money was offered for SEAS, among these are some very large offers from the US, but C.C. never took any such consideration seriously. It was never spoken of, to sell the company, it was out of the question.
It is suggested that the primary reason that the Norwegian site was not profitable was because of mutual trade with Videbæk and in this process money was transferred from Norway to Videbæk. It is known as a fact, that the Norwegian site had a large press and was used for manufacturing top plates and back plates for magnet systems, whereas the Danish site had automatic turning machines for manufacturing pole pieces. Frequently (maybe daily, but at least on a weekly basis), trucks would transport goods back and forth between the two sites.
Personally, I wonder if the special management style of Magnus Nesdam (being old fashioned) maybe was a bad match with the Norwegian employees. If you didn't understand his style, you could falsely have the impression that he was disrespectful. He would sometimes be harsh yet after giving his "kick-in-the-ass" he would quickly turn around and continue unaffected, expecting employees to absorb (and react as intended) on his management-by-fear style. Somewhat of a dictator style (which was never observed by customers).
Christian goes at high-school/college from 1979-1982 (Kirkeparken Videregående Skole, Moss). He was very good and his teacher was somehow a bit bewildered, but in a positive way, she said that Christian was equally good at language(s) as with mathematics.
C.C. and Anne-Lill divorce April 1980. Hereafter the brother of CC, Frants Oluf, takes over and Anne-Lill is not aware exactly what is happening with C.C. after this point. Anne-Lill had signed a prenuptial agreement before they married and she leaves empty handed. The assets, including the real estate in Denmark, are lost.
Jan Wessel (born 16. November 1903) dies 12. August 1980, 76 years old. The assets of Jan Wessel are transferred to his son Peter Wessel, who holds no interest in the SEAS business.
1980: From Madsens Hotel in Bjerringbro (Denmark), C.C. Nørgaard Madsen allows (gives power-of-attorney to) lawyers to manage his assets in SEAS Fabrikker A/S, A/S Videbæk Højttalerfabrik and Skandinavisk Elektroakustikk A/S. This is dated 20. October 1980. By the way, Madsens Hotel was founded in 1898 and has nothing to do with N.C. Madsen or C.C. Nørgaard Madsen and that the name of the hotel coincides with the family names is a coincidence.
In a subsequent letter the lawyers transfer all stocks belonging to C.C. Nørgaard Madsen to Peter Wessel (the son of Jan Wessel), November 1980.
- SEAS Fabrikker A/S (worth 428.000 kr)
- A/S Videbæk Højttalerfabrik (worth 5.000 kr)
- Skandinavisk Elektroakustikk A/S (worth 500 kr)
C.C. Nørgaard Madsen becomes dementia, this in a fairly young age, probably to some extent from the stress and some extent the alcohol consumption. He is committed to a nursing home for old people with dementia in Thisted (in Denmark), 1982 (I believe).
Christian educates as a mechanical engineer, specialized in ventilation, heat pump technology and fire safety, and later becomes CEO of Multiconsult in Norway, a company with approximately 1500 employees (from 2012 and until 2019). He has during his younger years and also his studies at university had jobs at SEAS Fabrikker (e.g. summer jobs) even after his father was no longer involved, and he also wrote a university project for SEAS and had good contact through the 1980s with the owners and the general manager, Jan Paus, and the employees.
The last job for Christian at SEAS was around 1985, when he was studying at NTH (today NTNU) in Trondheim to become a mechanical engineer. For this project, he worked with ventilation and SEAS Fabrikker introduced the high shelving units with built-in ventilation, which are still used today. Before this time, there was no local ventilation at the workplaces and parts were simply glued together at work tables with the fumes evaporating into the factory building.
Anne-Lill visited C.C. in 1991, she had not seen him since 1979. C.C. recognized Anne-Lill immediately and called her Lillebit, so that part never left his memory, and he asked her to take him back to Fjordveien, because there were probably many things that needed to be done there. She had to explain that Christian was not a boy anymore, but a full grown man. It was heart wrenching.
Christian visits his father approximately once a year. At the late stage of dementia, his father doesn't remember Christian as his son anymore, but sometimes thinks that Christian is one of his brothers, sometimes he is back to his childhood, and sometimes in a glimpse of the past is reminded he needs to go to the factory and take care of his employees. C.C. always had the factory and his employees very close to his heart.
Christian remembers that he was at a technical conference in Aalborg (Denmark), named CLIMA200, where he was presenting a paper. He only saw his dad, maybe once a year, so given the opportunity he decides to rent a car and drive the 1.5 hours to Thisted. He is 29 years old at this point in time. C.C. dies just 3 weeks later. C.C. dies in 1992 (71 years old), and is put to rest in the family grave at Hjerm Gl. Kirke in Denmark.
As a side note, Christian has inherited the interest for Motorsport from his father, and all the silver trophies. He is very knowledgeable about cars and has had many (countless), and he travels to Motorsport arrangements around the world, sometimes with friends and sometimes with his son.
Sometime in the early 2000's, Anne-Lill comes in contact with her former boyfriend, Tore, who still lives in Canada. They get married and Anne-Lill while officially living in Bekkestua, Oslo, spends part of her time in Vancouver, Canada.
Sources: Communication with employees at SEAS Fabrikker, as well as Christian Nørgaard Madsen (November 2017 and onwards) and his mother (wife of C.C. for ca. 20 years) Anne-Lill Madsen Christoffersen.
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