Fredrik Idestam

Businessperson, Organization founder

1838 – 1916


Who was Fredrik Idestam?

Knut Fredrik Idestam was a Finnish mining engineer and businessman, best known as a founder of Nokia. Fredrik Idestam's training was in Mining, in which he held a Master's degree; and, following in his father's footsteps, he planned a career as a civil servant in the Board of Mines of the Grand Duchy of Finland. In 1863 - 64, on a Finnish Senate scholarship, Idestam undertook further studies in basic metals in Germany at the School of Mines in Freiberg, Saxony. While there, he was appointed as a mining engineer at the Finnish Board of Mines. But as early as the summer of 1864 his career plans changed. On his way through the Harz Mountains on his return trip from Freiberg, he visited a groundwood mill. This was a new invention: a factory which produced raw material for paper from wood. The process and equipment had been developed by the paper manufacturer Heinrich Voelter. The plant that Idestam saw had already reached the stage where it was capable of commercial production.

The demand for paper was increasing rapidly in the industrialising world - in Europe and North America. But production could not grow, because there was a shortage of the rags used as raw material and there was no way of increasing the supply. Idestam believed that Voelter's solution to the raw-material problem was the correct one. He realised the importance of this innovation for Finland. There was an unlimited supply of raw material in Finland's forests, and amidst the woods were rapids and waterfalls that could provide power for mills. As soon as he returned to Finland he ordered machines designed by Voelter from Germany, and he was granted an operating permit by the Senate on 12 May 1865, the date which today's Nokia group of companies regards as its foundation day. The mill began production beside the lower falls of the Tammerkoski Rapids in Tampere early in 1866.

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Oct 28, 1838
Häme Province
Also known as
  • Knut Fredrik Idestam
  • Finland
  • Freiberg University of Mining and Technology
    (1863 - 1864)
  • Nokia
Apr 8, 1916

on July 23, 2013


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