Photographer's Note

Please look at the workshop version too!

I took the original photo here in the summer of 1960. This was the paper mill at Koppom, the place where I was born in 1942. A few weeks after the photo was taken, I left Koppom for Gothenburg to continue my studies at the Technical University. I had had summer jobs at this paper mill since I was 15 and intended to become a paper engineer.

In 1960, this paper mill was at the peak of its performance, but in 1964 it went bankrupt. It was taken over by Rottneros AB and they finally closed the mill in 1967.

There had been different mills here at the Koppom Rapids since around 1830 when a nail smithy was founded by a Norwegian, O H Juel. Later on he sold his smithy to F A Canell, who also started a manufacture of hand tools and, in end of the 19th century, a paper mill. The paper mill was bought by a Gothenburg company in the beginning of the 20th century, and that was how my father, who worked for that Gothenburg company, was connected to Koppom.

I have been to Koppom many times since I left it in 1960, but never for more than a few days at a time. This summer we rented at a place outside this village, partly of nostalgic reason. I took the WS version at exactly the same place, just some weeks ago.

In 48 years you can see that a lot of things can happen. In 1960 there was a large pond in front of the factory and there were also some large tubes from the actual dam (which is somewhere to the right outside the frame) to the electrical power station at the mill. Behind the tubes whs a wooden building with a transport band conveying logs to a drum barker. The logs were cut and processed into mechanical pulp. There used to be a sulphite boiler, but since that was closed in the thirties, sulphite pulp was purchased from other companies in Sweden.

In 1960 the production was made on four machines; three Yankee machines and one Fourdrinier machine. A Yankee machine has just one huge drying cylinder and a Fourdrinier machine has many cylinders. The specialities were thin tissue paper, mainly for fruit wrappings, and this was sold worldwide. This paper could also be supplied with a biphenyl treatment to prevent growth of mold and fungus on the fruit. I can still remember the distinct smell of that paper!

In 2008 the building is still there and the sign is still there, but a lot of changes have been made. After the paper production was terminated, the building hosted a lot of different companies, who superseded each other.

Today nothing remains. The high chimney is gone and behind the factory you can see that the forest is taking over again. The pond has been filled and a new but closed company had taken its place.

I never became a paper engineer. I realised after a few years in Gothenburg that all paper mills in Sweden were located to small towns in middle and northern Sweden and I just wanted to stay in Gothenburg. I had had enough of small factory towns and the ”factory town mentality” where everybody knows everything about everyone.

Update 2011-12-12: I added a workshop, a painted picture from the other side (A. Nordberg 1957).

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Additional Photos by Gunnar Holmertz (saxo042) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3641 W: 198 N: 5663] (38078)
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