Take a look at the early stages of Finnish industry. Haapakoski Ironworks is of national significance due to its long history, surviving old buildings and remarkably beautiful surroundings. It is well worth a visit, especially, if you are interested in cultural history and the history of industrialisation.
Haapakoski Limonite Ironworks is a truly authentic 19th century industrial location with a rustic charm. This old factory site has previously been closed to visitors. The plant shut down in 2010 – 2011 and in 2011 Pauli K Vaananen became the new owner. Members of the family, Jari Vaananen and Jaana Ruotsalainen, the current residents, fell in love with the unique place and its fascinating history. They are now working on the site, renovating and repairing the buildings and the surroundings to gradually open the place for the public.
The place is a true treasure of the history of industrialisation in Finland, one of its kind. In the factory hall all the machinery is still in place and the workers’ overalls are hanging in the hooks, as if time has stopped and you would expect them to be back any minute. There is something sublime about the foundry and the workshop with the smell of iron still in the air. In this conserved ironworks and its surroundings the different stages of industrialisation are still visible today. The Ironworks is located in an area of natural beauty bordering Suonenjoki and Pieksamaki.
Guided tours for groups.
10 € per person, minimum 7 people / group. Duration 1 – 1.5 hours.
You can explore the old buildings of the factory site escorted by our guide. You will get a peak into the history of Haapakoski Ironworks and a glimpse of what life might have been like for all those living and working on the site in the past.
On request, it is possible to have catering for coffee and pastries at the end of the tour.
Coffee and Danish pastry 5 € / person
In 1841 Captain Johan Fredrik Molander applied for permission to found an ironworks at Haapakoski. On setting up the ironworks he had Johan Reinhold Holmberg as his partner. On the 11th of May in 1842 the senate granted with Emperor Nicholas I’s approval a permission for Captain Molander to start the ironworks. In 1843 Johan Ernst August Boije joined as a third partner of the ironworks. A bit later Captain Molander pulled out from the ironworks partnership. After Holmberg suffered a bankcruptcy, the ironworks and the farmlands that belonged to it, were sold to a tradesman from Saint Petersburg. He, in turn, sold the ironworks to Nicholas Putilov – another businessman from Saint Petersburg - already on the same autumn of 1857. Putilov was one of the main manufacturers of rails, locomotives and carriages for the extensive Russian railways. In addition to Haapakoski, he also owned in Finland the Huutokoski and Oravi Ironworks in the 1860s and 1870s. These ironworks were producing the raw materials for the iron and steel foundries in Saint Petersburg. During the 1870s Haapakoski Ironworks produced materials for Putilov’s factory in Saint Petersburg (in Kirov), where they were turned into rails. Putilov used to bring some upper class visitors over to Haapakoski. For these people from the court in Saint Petersburg, the summer days in the middle of the wilderness in Savo were an exotic and refreshing change.
The first furnace broke and caused a massive fire in August in 1859. This was replaced with a French style furnace made out of grey stone. In addition to the Haapakoski furnace, there is only one other this type of furnace left in Finland these days. Once smelting iron from limonite became unprofitable, the Haapakoski Ironworks moved into the foundry business and manufacturing metal products. For instance, a lot of the sewer pipes under the cities of Helsinki and Turku have their origins in the Haapakoski Ironworks. During the wars grenades were made in Haapakoski and after the wars machinery (war reparations) and giant valves, for example.