History of Karhula industrial park

Karhula industrial park gets its strength from a strong industrial tradition. The core of the industrial park is comprised of the factory area established on Karhulanniemi at the end of the 19th century.

The history of Karhula industrial park started nearly 140 years ago, when the first sawmill was founded on Karhulanniemi. William Ruth started industrial activity on a larger scale in the area in 1887. Over the course of four years, a modern steam-driven saw, a small tile factory, a groundwood mill, the largest glass factory in the country of the time, and an engineering workshop were erected on Karhulanniemi.

The company A. Ahlström Osakeyhtiö bought the share capital of Karhula Osakeyhtiö in 1915. During the time of the Ahlström company, the largest factories of the industrial park still belonged to one owner well up to the 1980’s. Then, globalisation began at the industrial park.

Nowadays, several companies at the park are owned by large international corporations. The industrial park still has domestic businesses as well. The change in the ownership structure has brought small companies and completely new kinds of businesses to the area. And what’s best: Karhula industrial park is still has vibrant, efficient, and well-functioning as during the time of William Ruth.

Karhu ja Tähti- exhibition

Nainen ja valaisin

The unique history of Karhula industrial park was presented at the Karhu ja Tähti (“Bear and Star”) exhibition at Merikeskus Vellamo in winter 2011-2012.

In connection with the exhibition, the Karhu ja Tähti website was launched, which makes it possible to become acquainted with the industrial park’s history through photographs. The picture bank is constantly updated, and over 600 photos are available already. The oldest photos in the picture bank date back to the 19th century, to the first years of an industrializing Finland.

You can start your photographic trip to the past from here:

Karhu ja Tähti

A historic multimedia source of Karhula’s history can take you on a versatile journey to the past by clicking here:

Karhula industrializing

Valimo- exhibition

Pictures and stories from Karhula foundry, click the pictures open and find the story!

Pictures: Timo Vesterinen
Text: Hannu Oksanen