Ironworks in Finland

Fiskars

Fiskars is the best known of a number of ironworks villages that were established in the early 17th century to the Pohja area. A crushing mill was established by the lower rapids in 1649, with a blastfurnace on the opposite bank. The founder of Fiskars ironworks was the Dutch businessman Peter Thorwöste, who was allowed by Queen Christina of Sweden to manufacture cast iron and forged products, with the exception of c ...
Founded: 1649-1900 | Location: Raasepori, Finland

Strömfors Ironworks

Strömfors Ironworks is one of the oldest in Finland. It was founded in 1695 by Johan Creuz. The ironworks was renamed to Strömfors in 1744, when A. Nohrström and J. Forsell acquired the site and business. They also expanded Strömfors by building a new forge and sawmill.In 1790, the iron works got a new manager, the 31-year-old Virginia af Forselles, who managed Strömfors Iron Works for almost 60 years. A large part o ...
Founded: 1695 | Location: Loviisa, Finland

Kellokoski Ironworks

Kellokoski ironworks was founded in 1795 and it manufactured all kind of agriculture tools until 1963. The wooden church was built in 1800. The nearby Kellokoski manor is functioned as a mental hospital since 1915.Today Kellokoski is a well-preserved milieu representing habitation and industry of the 19th century. The hospital museum, handicraft shops, restaurant and arboretum are located to the old ironworks buildings.
Founded: 1795 | Location: Tuusula, Finland

Fagervik

Fagervik ironworks, one of the oldest in Finland, was founded in 1646. The ironworks consisted of two iron forges and one blast furnace. The remarkable rococo-style manor was built in 1773 by Johan Hisinger. It’s located near the "King’s Way", a road from Turku to Vyborg. Both Gustav III (the king of Sweden) and Alexander I (the tzar of Russia) have stood overnight in Fagervik. The large baroque-style park with the Ch ...
Founded: 1646 | Location: Inkoo, Finland

Billnäs

Billnäs ironworks was founded in 1641 by Carl Billsten. It faced many difficulties during 17th and 18th century. Local peasants destroyed the ironworks already in 1659 because of too heavy taxation. During the Great Wrath Russians occupied and destroyed it again in the 18th century.Billnäs Ironworks moved to Hisinger family's possession in 1723. Bar hammer workshops with forges and waterwheels, and coal rooms were built ...
Founded: 1641 | Location: Raasepori, Finland

Mathildedal Ironworks

Mathildedal is one of the three Teijo area ironworks villages. It offers all the elements of an idyllic environment: Wooden houses painted with traditional red paint, buildings of the ironwork, history, culture, nature and of course the living village itself. The origins of Mathildedal ironworks go back to 1686. Mr Lorenz Creutz from Teijo was granted a right to build a forgery in Hummeldal. In 1825 Mr Robert Bremer dis ...
Founded: 1852 | Location: Salo, Finland

Teijo Ironworks

Teijo ironworks was established in 1686 to the lands of old Teijo manor by Lorentz Creutz. The industrial work ended in 1908, but today there still exists old buildings, restaurant and fascinating manor building and park. The manor is privately owned, but you can walk the road adjacent to it. Teijo church on the hill near the manor is the smallest stone church in Finland. It was built in 1830.
Founded: 1686 | Location: Salo, Finland

Juankoski Iron Foundry

In 1746 Brynolf Brunou was granted to establish an ironworks to the Juankoski rapids. Juankoski was in the periphery of Sweden borderlands with no roads or cities. Water routes were the only way to transport goods. Juankoski became the only ironworks in Finland which used only the bog iron to manufacture different kind of tools.The heyday of Juankoski was between 1851 and 1900 when it was owned by Anastasia Ponomareva, a ...
Founded: 1746 | Location: Juankoski, Finland

Kimo Ironworks

The ironworks in Kimo was founded by Petter Heijke in 1703. Petter Heijke chose the place because there was an enough deep harbour in Oravainen, waterpower and wood for making charcoal. The ore was brought from Utö in the southern Baltic sea and from Herräng mines in Roslagen. In Kimo it was forged into iron-pigs. The iron-pigs were then tranported further up the river to the forges in Kimo where it was refined ...
Founded: 1703 | Location: Oravainen, Finland

Jyrkkäkoski Ironworks

In 1831 Mr. Franzen, the owner of the Salahmi Ironworks was given permission to establish a blast furnace and a bar-iron forge at Jyrkkäkoski. The early years were difficult, because Jyrkkäkoski was not at any close distance of main travel routes and sufficient labour was not available. In 1856, the ironworks was obtained by Paul Wahl & Co. as part of a larger consortium. A new Scottish-type blast furnace of ...
Founded: 1831-1874 | Location: Sonkajärvi, Finland

Möhkö Ironworks Museum

Möhkö Ironworks was built in the middle of wilderness in the eastern part of Ilomantsi, by Möhkönkoski rapids of Koitajoki river. Ilomantsi born Carl G. Nygren was granted to build the ironworks in 1838. After him the factory was built by Adolf von Rauch from St. Petersburg between 1847 and 1849. Industrialist Nils Ludvig Arppe modernised the ironworks.The conditions for the foundation of ironworks wer ...
Founded: 1838-1908 | Location: Ilomantsi, Finland

Leineperi Ironworks

The history of Leineperi (Fredriksfors in Swedish) village dates back to the 1630s. The ironworks was founded in 1771 by Berndt Johan Hastfehr. Until the end of 19th century ironworks manufactured all kinds of iron tools like nails, bolts and spades. The ironworks expanded little by little and in the the 19th century Leineperi was one of the largest iron manufacturers in Finland. The ironworks area consisted several manuf ...
Founded: 1771-1902 | Location: Ulvila, Finland

Kauttua Ironworks

The iron manufacturing in Kauttua started in 1689, when nobleman Lorentz Creutz was granted to establish an ironworks to Kauttua rapids. The ironworks business created an historically valuable industrial village milieu, which is called today as “Kauttua Ruukinpuisto”. In 1907 the ironworks was acquired by Ahlström Oy and it was changed to manufacture paper.Most of village buildings are from the 19th centu ...
Founded: 1689 - 20th century | Location: Eura, Finland

Antskog

Antskog ironworks, one of the oldest industrial sites in Finland, was established in 1640. The heyday of Antskog was in the 17th century, when Pohja town became a center of iron manufacturing in Finland. Industrial buildings were mainly destroyed in the Greater Wrath (1714-1721) and it caused the financial downturn. The ironworks went bankrupt couple of times. The next upswing was in the 1860s, when Antskog started to pro ...
Founded: 1640-1900 | Location: Raasepori, Finland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte

The Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte is a baroque French château built between 1658-1661 for Nicolas Fouquet. It was made for Marquis de Belle Île, Viscount of Melun and Vaux, the superintendent of finances of Louis XIV, the château was an influential work of architecture in mid-17th century Europe. At Vaux-le-Vicomte, the architect Louis Le Vau, the landscape architect André le Nôtre, and the painter-decorator Charles Le Brun worked together on a large-scale project for the first time. Their collaboration marked the beginning of the 'Louis XIV style' combining architecture, interior design and landscape design. The garden's pronounced visual axis is an example of this style.

To secure the necessary grounds for the elaborate plans for Vaux-le-Vicomte’s garden and castle, Fouquet purchased and demolished three villages. The displaced villagers were then employed in the upkeep and maintenance of the gardens. It was said to have employed eighteen thousand workers and cost as much as 16 million livres. The château and its patron became for a short time a focus for fine feasts, literature and arts. The poet La Fontaine and the playwright Molière were among the artists close to Fouquet. At the inauguration of Vaux-le-Vicomte, a Molière play was performed, along with a dinner event organized by François Vatel, and an impressive firework show.

After Fouquet was arrested and imprisoned for life, and his wife exiled, Vaux-le-Vicomte was placed under sequestration. The king seized, confiscated or purchased 120 tapestries, the statues, and all the orange trees from Vaux-le-Vicomte. He then sent the team of artists (Le Vau, Le Nôtre and Le Brun) to design what would be a much larger project than Vaux-le-Vicomte, the palace and gardens of Versailles.

The Marshal Villars became the new owner without first seeing the chateau. In 1764, the Marshal's son sold the estate to the Duke of Praslin, whose descendants would maintain the property for over a century. It is sometimes mistakenly reported that the château was the scene of a murder in 1847, when duke Charles de Choiseul-Praslin, killed his wife in her bedroom, but this did not happen at Vaux-le-Vicomte but at the Paris residence of the Duke.

In 1875, after thirty years of neglect, the estate was sold to Alfred Sommier in a public auction. The château was empty, some of the outbuildings had fallen into ruin, and the famous gardens were totally overgrown. The huge task of restoration and refurbishment began under the direction of the architect Gabriel-Hippolyte Destailleur, assisted by the landscape architect Elie Lainé. When Sommier died in 1908, the château and the gardens had recovered their original appearance. His son, Edme Sommier, and his daughter-in-law completed the task. Today, his descendants continue to preserve the château, which remains privately owned by Patrice and Cristina de Vogüé, the Count and Countess de Vogüé. It is now administered by their three sons Alexandre, Jean-Charles and Ascanio de Vogüé. Recognized by the state as a monument historique, it is open to the public regularly.

Architecture

The chateau is situated near the northern end of a 1.5-km long north-south axis with the entrance front facing north. Its elevations are perfectly symmetrical to either side of this axis. Somewhat surprisingly the interior plan is also nearly completely symmetrical with few differences between the eastern and western halves. The two rooms in the center, the entrance vestibule to the north and the oval salon to the south, were originally an open-air loggia, dividing the chateau into two distinct sections. The interior decoration of these two rooms was therefore more typical of an outdoor setting. Three sets of three arches, those on the entrance front, three more between the vestibule and the salon, and the three leading from the salon to the garden are all aligned and permitted the arriving visitor to see through to the central axis of the garden even before entering the chateau. The exterior arches could be closed with iron gates, and only later were they filled in with glass doors and the interior arches with mirrored doors. Since the loggia divided the building into two halves, there are two symmetrical staircases on either side of it, rather than a single staircase. The rooms in the eastern half of the house were intended for the use of the king, those in the western were for Fouquet. The provision of a suite of rooms for the king was normal practice in aristocratic houses of the time, since the king travelled frequently.

Another surprising feature of the plan is the thickness of the main body of the building (corps de logis), which consists of two rows of rooms running east and west. Traditionally the middle of the corps de logis of French chateaux consisted of a single row of rooms. Double-thick corps de logis had already been used in hôtels particuliers in Paris, including Le Vau's Hôtel Tambonneau, but Vaux was the first chateau to incorporate this change. Even more unusual, the main rooms are all on the ground floor rather than the first floor (the traditional piano nobile). This accounts for the lack of a grand staircase or a gallery, standard elements of most contemporary chateaux. Also noteworthy are corridors in the basement and on the first floor which run the length of house providing privacy to the rooms they access. Up to the middle of the 17th century, corridors were essentially unknown. Another feature of the plan, the four pavilions, one at each corner of the building, is more conventional.

Vaux-le-Vicomte was originally planned to be constructed in brick and stone, but after the mid-century, as the middle classes began to imitate this style, aristocratic circles began using stone exclusively. Rather late in the design process, Fouquet and Le Vau switched to stone, a decision that may have been influenced by the use of stone at François Mansart's Château de Maisons. The service buildings flanking the large avant-cour to the north of the house remained in brick and stone, and other structures preceding them were in rubble-stone and plaster, a social ranking of building materials that would be common in France for a considerable length of time thereafter.

The main chateau is constructed entirely on a moated platform, reached via two bridges, both aligned with the central axis and placed on the north and south sides. The moat is a picturesque holdover from medieval fortified residences, and is again a feature that Le Vau may have borrowed from Maisons. The moat at Vaux may also have been inspired by the previous chateau on the site, which Le Vau's work replaced.

Gardens

The château rises on an elevated platform in the middle of the woods and marks the border between unequal spaces, each treated in a different way. This effect is more distinctive today, as the woodlands are mature, than it was in the seventeenth century when the site had been farmland, and the plantations were new.

Le Nôtre's garden was the dominant structure of the great complex, stretching nearly a mile and a half (3 km), with a balanced composition of water basins and canals contained in stone curbs, fountains, gravel walks, and patterned parterres that remains more coherent than the vast display Le Nôtre was to create at Versailles.

Le Nôtre created a magnificent scene to be viewed from the house, using the laws of perspective. Le Notre used the natural terrain to his advantage. He placed the canal at the lowest part of the complex, thus hiding it from the main perspectival point of view. Past the canal, the garden ascends a large open lawn and ends with the Hercules column added in the 19th century. Shrubberies provided a picture frame to the garden that also served as a stage for royal fêtes.

From the top of the grand staircase, this gives the impression that the entire garden is revealed in one single glance. Initially, the view consists of symmetrical rows of shrubbery, avenues, fountains, statues, flowers and other pieces developed to imitate nature – these elements exemplify the Baroque desire to mold nature to fit its wishes, thus using nature to imitate nature. The centerpiece is a large reflecting pool flanked by grottos holding statues in their many niches. The grand sloping lawn is not visible until one begins to explore the garden, when the viewer is made aware of the optical elements involved and discovers that the garden is much larger than it looks.