Nokia

1865 to 1967 Fredrik Idestam, co-founder of Nokia. Statesman Leo Mechelin, co-founder of Nokia. The predecessors of the modern Nokia were the Nokia Company (Nokia Aktiebolag), Finnish Rubber Works Ltd (Suomen Gummitehdas Oy) and Finnish Cable Works Ltd (Suomen Kaapelitehdas Oy).[13] Nokia's history started in 1865 when mining engineer Fredrik Idestam established a groundwood pulp mill on the banks of the Tammerkoski rapids in the town of Tampere, in southwestern Finland in the Russian Empire and started manufacturing paper.[14] In 1868, Idestam built a second mill near the town of Nokia, fifteen kilometres (nine miles) west of Tampere by the Nokianvirta river, which had better resources for hydropower production.[15] In 1871, Idestam, with the help of his close friend statesman Leo Mechelin, renamed and transformed his firm into a share company, thereby founding the Nokia Company, the name it is still known by today.[15] Toward the end of the 19th century, Mechelin's wishes to expand into the electricity business were at first thwarted by Idestam's opposition. However, Idestam's retirement from the management of the company in 1896 allowed Mechelin to become the company's chairman (from 1898 until 1914) and sell most shareholders on his plans, thus realizing his vision.[15] In 1902, Nokia added electricity generation to its business activities. In 1898, Eduard Polon founded Finnish Rubber Works, manufacturer of galoshes and other rubber products, which later became Nokia's rubber business.[13] At the beginning of the 20th century, Finnish Rubber Works established its factories near the town of Nokia and they began using Nokia as its product brand.[16] In 1912, Arvid Wickstrom founded Finnish Cable Works, producer of telephone, telegraph and electrical cables and the foundation of Nokia's cable and electronics businesses.[13] At the end of the 1910s, shortly after World War I, the Nokia Company was nearing bankruptcy.[17] To nsure the continuation of electricity supply from Nokia's generators, Finnish Rubber Works acquired the business of the insolvent company.[17] In 1922, Finnish Rubber Works acquired Finnish Cable Works.[18] In 1937, Verner Weckman, a sport wrestler and Finland's first Olympic Gold medalist, became president of Finnish Cable Works, after 16 years as its technical director.[19] After World War II, Finnish Cable Works supplied cables to the Soviet Union as part of Finland's war reparations. This gave the company a good foothold for later trade.[19] The three companies, which had been jointly owned since 1922, were merged to form a new industrial conglomerate, Nokia Corporation in 1967 and paved the way for Nokia's future as a global corporation.[20] The new company was involved in many industries, producing at one time or another paper products, car and bicycle tires, footwear (including rubber boots), communications cables, televisions and other consumer electronics, personal computers, electricity generation machinery, robotics, capacitors, military communications and equipment (such as the SANLA M/90 device and the M61 gas mask for the Finnish Army), plastics, aluminium and chemicals.[21] Each business unit had its own director who reported to the first Nokia Corporation President, Bjorn Westerlund. As the president of the Finnish Cable Works, he had been responsible for setting up the company's first electronics department in 1960, sowing the seeds of Nokia's future in telecommunications.[22] Eventually, the company decided to leave consumer electronics behind in the 1990s and focused solely on the fastest growing segments in telecommunications.[23] Nokian Tyres, manufacturer of tires, split from Nokia Corporation to form its own company in 1988[24] and two years later Nokian Footwear, manufacturer of rubber boots, was founded.[16] During the rest of the 1990s, Nokia divested itself of all of its non-telecommunications businesses.[