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Logging Industry in Fiskars

Fiskars owned vast areas of land, 25,000-30,000 hectares in the 19th century. Forests were important sources for coal production, and coal was vital for the functioning of the ironworks. When the rolling mill was built in 1857, forging techniques were renewed. Gradually, coal was replaced by firewood. Sharecroppers and peasants living on Fiskars land transported the coal and firewood to the ironworks. From the 1920’s to the 1940’s, Fiskars’s forests yielded annually 50,000 square metres of timber, roughly 87,000 logs and 25,000 square metres of firewood.

Logs were hauled from the forests by horses, and this could only be done in the winter. The logs were gathered on lakes, and as soon as the ice melted, log driving could begin. Log driving temporarily employed many people, many of whom came from the Finnish speaking areas North of Fiskars. Logs were driven from the lakes North to Fiskars, down to the Pohjankuru harbour by the River Fiskars. There the logs were sorted out and bundled, before they were towed to the Skogby sawmill. Log driving continued in Fiskars until 1961, after which logs were hauled to Pohjankuru with lorries.

In addition to getting the logs to the sawmill, workforce was also needed to get firewood. Firewood was transported from the logging site to the ironworks by roads. They were drawn by horses, and the way was longer than it was for the logs which were driven down the river. In 1900, 15,600 square metres of softwood was delivered to the factory, and 2650 square metres of birch to homes and offices. In 1930, the rolling mill was moved from Fiskars to Åminnefors, and this reduced the need for firewood in Fiskars. At the same time, some of the furnaces started to use coke as fuel. The plough workshop was heated by firewood until the 1950’s, after which it was replaced by oil. The use of firewood in Fiskars practically came to an end. At the end of the 1950’s, roads were built to the logging sites, and tractors competed with horses for the same jobs. Chainsaws were also taken into use at this time.

Lumbermen were typically bachelors, who came from other municipalities to work in Fiskars. According to the population and housing censuses of 1941, there were nine lumbermen in Fiskars, only one of whom had a family. The youngest of them was only 16 years old. The 1958 census had 13 lumbermen living in Fiskars. The oldest of them was 69 years old. The lumbermen who lived alone were boarded in modest dwellings. They often popped down to visit Kaffe-Hilda for a cup of coffee or a meal. Kaffe-Hilda, or Hilda Sjöholm, had a small coffee shop in her flat in one of the barracks on Ruukinkatu. The lumbermen who logged firewood, tended to go to Hilda’s place to drink a cup of coffee, which cost one mark. It could become crowded when there were 10-20 lumbermen simultaneously at Hilda’s, and when that happened, almost everyone had to stand. Hilda also cooked and baked bread, so that the lumbermen could come to her coffee house and eat after a day’s work at the logging site.

There is a room in the Fiskars Museum, that has been furnished to be a flat of a lumberman who lived alone. The small room has a wood burning stove and blinds. During war time, every home in Fiskars had blinds. They kept lights hidden, so that enemy bombers could not locate any buildings.


Blomqvist, Per-Olof: Transporter i Pojo genom tiderna. (2001)

Unpublished sources:
Intervju, LBA 10:1-5. Pojo lokalhistoriska arkiv
Mantalslängder för Fiskars bruk. Pojo lokalhistoriska arkiv