A couple of years ago, Microsoft reached a deal to acquire Nokia’s struggling devices and services business, and just recently, the Finnish company sold its HERE mapping unit to a group of German car-makers.
It’s true that Nokia had terrible last five years, but this doesn’t take away the fact that it was this very company that effectively defined the mobile industry for over a decade prior, and gave us some of the most memorable phones. In this article, we take a trip down memory lane to revisit Nokia’s history, which – hold your breath – spans a whopping 150 years.
While Nokia may remind most of us of only mobile phones, the company in fact started out as a paper mill, which was established in 1865 by mining engineer Fredrik Idestam at the Tammerkoski Rapids in south-western Finland.
However, the name Nokia wasn’t yet born. It was the location of his second mill – on the banks of the Nokianvirta river – that inspired Idestam to name his company Nokia Ab, something which happened in 1871. After around three decades, the company also ventured into electricity generation.
Meanwhile, Eduard Polón founded Finnish Rubber Works in 1898, and Arvid Wickström established Finnish Cable Works in 1912. In 1918, Finnish Rubber Works acquired Nokia to secure access to the latter’s hydro-power resources, and in 1922, Finnish Cable Works was also acquired by the newly formed conglomerate.
While the three companies were jointly owned, they continued to work independently until 1967, when they were finally merged and Nokia Corporation was born. The newly formed company mainly focused on four markets: paper, electronics, rubber, and cable. It developed things like toilet paper, bicycle and car tires, rubber footwear, TVs, communication cables, robotics, PCs, and military equipment, among others.