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OUR HISTORY

Everyone has a story and in this year we are going to review our unique history as a
120 years old company. Piece by piece we all are going to learn a bit more about Merivaara.

 

1901 The story of Merivaara begins

Two young blacksmiths Juho Sjöstedt, later Merivaara and Richard Polsa establish Helsinki New Iron Bed Factory, Polsa & Sjöstedt in a stone shed in Helsinki, Grand Duchy of Finland, on 8 November 1901. The new company has four employees. Juho Sjöstedt is only 23 years old, Richard Polsa 33 years old. In the beginning, production is limited to iron beds and all kind of forge work.

 

1903 High-quality products bring new customers

Customers appreciate Polsa & Sjöstedt’s high-quality products and stone shed expands from a workshop to a factory and moves to new premises in Helsinki, Finland.

 

1906 Juho Sjöstedt changes his name to
Juho Merivaara, first public award received

The national awakening of Finns means that many change their originally Swedish last name into Finnish language. Juho Sjöstedt becomes Juho Merivaara and the company’s name is changed to Polsa & Merivaara.

The company wins the second prize in an industrial exhibition in Finland for its iron bed.

1908 Juho Merivaara becomes
the sole owner of the company 

Juho Merivaara buys Richard Polsa’s share of the company for 24 000 golden marks. 

Products are again awarded in an industrial exhibition in Finland. 

 

1909 Satisfied customers bring more business 

The company is growing fast and employs already about 60 people. Good quality and satisfied customers are the reasons for the growth. 

 

1910 The first operating table comes out from production 

Merivaara follows carefully the emerging industrial development in Finland and starts producing hospital furnitureThe first operating tables are manufactured. 

The sales network is expandedstores are established in Terijoki and St. Petersburgrepresentation in Tallinn. 

1911 Products are awarded again 

Products receive an award in an industrial exhibition in Finland. 

 

1913 First price in an exhibition in Tallinn 

Products receive the first prize in an exhibition in Tallinn. The company has already 78 employees and the value of the production is respectable 614.000 marks. 

 

1917 Own factory built 

The own factory building is completed in Helsinki the same year that Finland becomes independent. The company has now over 100 employees. 

 

1923 Merivaara becomes a limited liability company 

Corporation is formed and registered as J. Merivaara Oy. Majority of the shares is owned by Juho Merivaara. 

1920’s Close cooperation with doctors in hospital sector 

During the first years of Finland’s independence the development of Finnish hospital system in rural areas is very strong. Merivaara specializes more and more in hospital equipment in close cooperation with doctors in developing new, innovative models to the hospital sector. 

 

1925 Products receive golden and silver medals 

Merivaara receives golden and silver medals from the Finnish Fair for its high-quality products. 

 

1930’s Large-scale hospital deliveries in Finland 

Large-scale hospital deliveries start to many large hospitals around Finland. Merivaara is not only furnishing hospitals and homes, but also offices, hotels, prisons, and armed forces. 

1932 New, innovative operating table launched 

Merivaara starts to manufacture a much-improved Laryngo-Brocho-Esophagoscopy operating table. 

Merivaara receives golden medal from the Finnish Fair for its high-quality products. 

 

1935 Merivaara’s products receive a golden medal 

Merivaara receives a golden medal from the Finnish Fair for its high-quality products. 

 

1937 In the Paris world exhibition, a golden medal awarded to Merivaara 

Merivaara receives the highest Grand Prix award, golden medal in the Paris world exhibition for its high-quality products. Merivaara exports furniture made of iron and hospital equipment. 

 

1938 Juho Merivaara passes away 

The founder of Merivaara, Juho Merivaara, dies on 15 April 1938. He created a business from scratches into a leading company of its area in Finland. He visited several countries to learn about production and to establish commercial relations to various countries, such as Sweden, Germany, France, UK, and USA. His motto All products leaving Merivaara's factory must be of high quality” is still today the guideline of the Merivaara’s operations. 

Pietinen Viljo, December 9th 1940. The Finnish Heritage Agency. History image collection: Pietinen's collection

1939-1944 Merivaara adapts its operations to meet war efforts

Being a metal factory, Merivaara has to adapt its operations to manufacture products for the war efforts. The most important customer is Finland’s armed forces. The company manufactures to the armed forces field and ambulance trolleys, other needed supplies in medical care, and loading trolleys. Company also develops and manufactures wood gas generators that are needed to replace petrol in cars. Production of wood gas generators ends in 1945 when petrol is again available. Ambulance trolleys were designed so that they could be stacked in an ambulance on three layers on top of each other.

 

End of 1940’s – 1950 The value of the production already over 20 million marks

After the war, Merivaara participates in deliveries that are part of the payment of wartime reparation to the Soviet Union. In Finland, most important deliveries are to the medical sector where almost all hospitals are Merivaara’s customers. The demand for beds increases all the time. In 1942 J. Merivaara Oy has 131 employees and the production value is 24,4 million marks.

To be continued…

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