In 1649, a dutch merchant was being granted a license to operate furnace in a small village, Fiskars. Though the iron ore was to be imported from Sweden, the operation was still deemed profitable. Somewhere between Turku and Helsinki, one of the great Finnish companies was born.
Since Peter Thorwöste, the company’s founder was prohibited from manufacturing cannons, he instead focused on nails, horseshoes and other similar items.
After shifting its focus to cutlery in the early 19th century, the company eventually became listed on the Helsinki stock exchange in 1915. Though already relatively successful before, 1967 was Fiskars’ breakout year with the commercialisation of its most famous pair of scissors.
This success soon translated into expanded operations, including an expansion in the american market, in 1977.
The company now
Part of why I’m writing this blog is because I was surprised to learn that Fiskars was a Finnish brand. Coming from Canada, it is well represented there, and its products are reputed for their quality.
Beyond manufacturing ergonomic scissors, the company now manufactures a very wide array of products, from Finnish design to US Army equipment. Since it owns Iittala, Fiskars is also directly involved in the production and commercialisation of Finnish design.
Just to give you an idea of how big the little ironworks have become, the company’s assets are estimated to be worth around 1.7 billion euros. With more than 8,500 employees, it is fair to say that things have changed since its foundation.
The village of Fiskars is definitely worth a visit. In addition to being very picturesque and relatively close to both Turku and Helsinki, it hosts the Fiskars museum, and it is still possible to see a number of the old ironworks buildings through the village.