Annual Celebrations of Fiskars Company
Fiskars Oyj Abp, is Finland’s oldest listed company still functioning. Its roots lie in the ironworks founded in Fiskars in 1649. This year, in 2014, Fiskars celebrates its 365 years in business. Jubilee years have been celebrated in a spectacular manner at least since the 19th century, when Fiskars turned 250 in 1899. An especially important jubilee for the museum, is the 300th birthday in 1949, when the local history society opened the museum. Its opening was one of the main events of the jubilee, and now, 65 years later, the museum celebrates its own journey with a renewed main exhibition.
The Lukaali, built in 1868, was the main stage for the 250 year celebrations in 1899. The expression is apt, because the guests had indeed been entertained with theatre. Paul Fager had written a play, “En midsommarsafton på Fiskars 1650”, for the party. The play takes place, as the name suggests, in the summer of a year-old Fiskars Ironworks. The Thorwöste family appears in it, as well as, for example, fisherman Anders with his wife Lisa, and smith Kalle, who is enamoured with a Thorwöste servant girl, Lisa. In addition to the play, the guests could enjoy a steak dinner, with pancakes and fruit soup as dessert. Guests of honour included the president of the Fiskars corporation and lord of the Kivimuuri Albert von Julin and his wife Sophie von Julin. Their daughters, together with the factory clerks, were in charge of the menu and entertainment.
The Lukaali again served as one of the main stages for the 300 hundred year celebrations of the Ironworks. The party was held in the 31st of October, 1949, with over 800 invited guests, and the plough workshop serving as a side venue. The party began at nine o’clock in the morning, when the flag was hoisted up with a round of fire as a salute. After this, a visit to a statue dedicated to those people of Fiskars who had fallen in the war. The actual party began at the plough workshop at one o’clock. 432 loyal Fiskars workers were awarded at the party, and the guests could also enjoy song and music, speeches and poetry recitals. After coffee, people moved to the Lukaali for the evening. A Fiskars film was showed there, as well as a play, “Kronikkanäytelmä” which Nanny Westerlund had written for the Serlachius jubilee. The evening culminated in a dance at the plough workshop and fireworks which had been arranged for the event.
The 300 year celebration brought up Fiskars’s past, and honoured the old workers in the spirit of post-war love of hometown and rebuilding. The foundation of Fiskars Ironworks was strongly highlighted at the party, as well as the hard work the von Julin family had put into it beginning in 1822 and spanning four generations. The main party that year, as well as its jubilee publication, raised into spotlight stories of the everyday life of the people of the ironworks and the surrounding area. Fiskars, which had survived the WWII, was going through one of its golden periods during the 1949 jubilee, and production in Fiskars, as well as in Billnäs and Åminnefors, both owned by the company, continued.
World changed drastically in 50 years, and so had Fiskars changed by 1999. Factories were closed in Fiskars in the 1980’s, and the buildings were faced with complete desertion. Thanks to the vision and persistent persuasion of the Fiskars vice president and head of property management Ingmar Lindberg, Fiskars’s life was rekindled. This time in a completely different manner. Lindberg intended to offer cheap housing and work space for artisans, designers and artists, in order to keep the ironworks lively, inhabited and functional. This vision proved successful, and nowadays Fiskars is known in Finland and abroad as an original centre of handicraft and art. Three years earlier a cooperative for artisans, designers and artists, called Onoma, had been established, and it was well represented in the 350 year jubilee event. Already at that time, it attracted about 100.00 visitors a year.
The revitalised Ironworks celebrated in 1999 in the spirit of design and internationality. The Fiskars corporation had along the decades become an international company, and the orange Fiskars scissors which had been launched in 1967, had become a real icon. Fiskars was known for its quality around the world, and it was also represented by local small entrepreneurs. One could also look for similarities to the national situation, where the great depression of the early 1990’s had been overcome, and the boom rekindled people’s hopes for the future.
The main party of the Fiskars 350 year celebration was held in the black hall of the Copper Workshop. Over 400 guests had been invited, among them Finland’s President Martti Ahtisaari with his wife Eeva Ahtisaari. The festivities began at four in the afternoon, and the Pohja youth choir provided the traditional opening performance. After that, the chairman of the board of directors at Fiskars Oyj Abp, Göran J. Ehnrooth gave a speech in three languages. Speeches and music continued all through the evening, and culminated in a lavish dinner.
To celebrate the jubilee, an exhibition showing Fiskars products, called “Fiskars Today”, had been set up in the white hall of the Copper Workshop. The exhibition was designed by Barbro Kulvik and Antti Siltavuori. The same designers also set up an exhibition at the Helsinki Design Forum, where they showed how a Fiskars product was born from idea, and through development became a finished product. The company also celebrated its journey with two publications, the “Fiskars 300” jubilee book edited by C.E. Carlson and illustrated by Erik Bruun, and the “Fiskars 1649 – 350 years of Finnish industrial history”. The Finnish Post also published a collection of stamps, called “Finnish Design”, picturing Fiskars products and designed by Jaana Aartomaa. As in 1949, loyal workers were awarded in 1999. This time it was done by the President, who granted them Medals of the White Rose. Fiskars local society and its long-time chairman Margaretha Gripenberg was awarded with a Jacob von Julin – award for her diligent volunteer work for local history and culture.
In 2014, Fiskars’s 365 year jubilee has been celebrated with different events, and guests have been able to familiarise themselves with Fiskars’s history and its products in the Fiskars 365 exhibition in the white hall. The exhibition was designed by the very experienced Barbro Kulvik and Antti Siltavuori. In addition to the Copper Workshop exhibition, Fiskars shows its business through other exhibitions, for example the “Orange & More” exhibition in Helsinki Arabia. At the threshold of summer in the 1st of June, the new main exhibition opened at the Fiskars museum. In the spirit of the 2000’s, Fiskars also celebrates on the Internet, http://365.fiskarsgroup.com/.
Fiskars – Tänään ja 300 vuotta sitten juhlavuosijulkaisu
Fiskars – Focus 1999 juhlavuosijulkaisu
Fiskars 365-julkaisu ja www.fiskarsvillage.fi