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Johan Jacob von Julin

Johan Jacob Julin’s family comes from the parish of Julita in Södermalm, Sweden. His father, Johan Eldest was born in Västerås, and trained as an apothecary. He moved to Finland in 1762, and settled in Oulu, where he married Albertina Karberg. Johan Jacob, who called himself John, was born in 1787. He graduated from Uppsala and went on to train as an apothecary. In 1811, he bought the academy pharmacy from Turku, and a few years later, married his childhood sweetheart Lise Keckman. Their happiness was short-lived, however, as both Lise, and their daughter died a few years later. To give himself something else to think about, Johan Jacob decided to go on a study trips to Sweden and England. He intended to familiarise himself with mining and manufacturing industry.

In addition to his pharmacy, Julin started making medicine in his years in Turku. He was also a partner in a tobacco factory, a shipyard and a shop selling items from the European colonies around the world. He was interested in social conditions, and took part in developing Finnish educational and savings bank system. In the 1820’s, following the English model, he founded the first Bell-Lancaster school in Turku. The more experienced students helped younger ones, in accordance to the school’s teaching methods. He also founded Finland’s first savings bank. Julin was also interested in healthcare and the conditions of the poor. He offered two free beds for the poor in the Turku Akatemia hospital.

In 1821, Julin married an English priest’s daughter,  Emily Lindsay, but Emily died in 1835. His third wife, Charlotta Jägerskiöld, also died in labour only three years after they were married. Charlotta’s sister Louise took care of the motherless daughters, Helene and Hanna, as well as a son born of the previous marriage, Emil. After a time, Louise and Johan Jacob married and got children of their own. Their son, Albert, later became the first chairman of the Fiskars corporation.

Julin bought the Fiskars Ironworks in 1822. He developed the copper and iron refinery. His trip to England had a tremendous impact on how Julin developed the ironworks community into a functioning facility. He thought it paid off to pay attention to the workers’ social conditions. This separated the Fiskars Ironworks from the other ironworks of the time. The workers got flats, plots of land and other necessities, such as firewood. Julin also founded a school for the Ironworks, and hired a doctor. In 1849, Johan Jacob was knighted, and became von Julin. His motto was: “Work, Truth, Hope”.

Sources and literature:

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Blomqvist, Hjalmar. Skolgång i gamla tider. Västnyländsk årsbok. 2013
Holmström, Laura. Minnen från Fiskars. 1994.
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