The 1950’s: Kisses, television sets and second-hand bags
In the post-war era the cities grew and living conditions improved. Many moved into the new houses called “rintamamiestalo” – modern detached houses built after the war for the families of soldiers who fought in the battlefront – and started a family.
New trends came from around the world and the adolescents proudly wore “lättähattu”, a kind of beret, and used brylcreem.
Wide skirts and jeans were displayed in shop windows – and, in 1951, Brunberg’s “Negro Kisses”.
The know-how of Kisses came from Denmark, so did also the “Kissmaster” who was invited to start the production.
The Kiss with a round waffle, fluffy foam filling and thin chocolate cover soon became the most popular of the Brunberg sweets.
The Brunberg selection included around 40 sweets, a much smaller amount than before the wars. Main products were candies, chocolate and liquorice. The factory also made sweets with wrappings the customer could choose.
Television sets enter the Finnish homes
For the Brunberg-Lindfors factory the decade of the 50’s was not only sweet kisses and sweet dreams. Challenges were lurking behind the scenes.
One obstacle was the rationing which did not end until in 1954 when you could see bananas and oranges on store shelves.
Raw materials were available, at last – but, on the other hand, competition increased when markets were deregulated.
The demand for sweets fell, which caused economic problems to several domestic sweets manufacturers, including Brunberg-Lindfors.
The decrease in demand was partly due to increased excise duties followed by higher prices.
In the 50’s, advertising increased and at the beginning of the decade tobacco, alcohol and sweets were advertised. The television sneaked new products into the Finnish homes. Brunberg did not advertise, the company’s good reputation was spreading – and still is – thanks to high-quality products.
Börje Brunberg used to say that the only thing a good product needed besides recipe and machines was professional skill. The recipes were not hidden secrets, as the products turned out the way they were wanted thanks to professional skill and experience, “candy thumb”.
As a sum of many variables, the annual production dropped to below 150 tons. As late as in 1949 the production had reached 400 tons.
Brunberg looked for expertise elsewhere and appointed the Managing Director of Puristustuote Oy, a Porvoo-based company, Yrjö E. Miettinen, Chairman of the Board.
Life inside a sweets factory
The Brunberg-Lindfors sweets were mainly manufactured by hand, there were few machines.
The company had more than 100 employees, the majority women. The candy paste was kneaded and twisted by hand and the candies were wrapped using nimble fingers. Skilled women could wrap more than 40 kilos in a day’s work.
In the three-storey stone building, the bottom floor was used for the production of chocolate, packaging and delivery took place on the second floor and liquorice and Alku candies were cooked on the third floor. Stocks were kept in the attic.
The building was inconvenient. There was a lot of running up and down stairs and heavy pots and packages were hoisted from below to the floors above using winch, hook and wire. After the war a lift for transporting goods was installed.
As a young boy, Börje Brunberg’s son, Tom Brunberg, used to sneak into the factory in an unguarded moment – it was easy, his home was in the adjacent building. The factory was not a very secure place for children – but a very exciting one. When his father approached he hid under the work table of the women until they said “all clear”.
Every now and then people used to knock on the door of the factory and ask for second-hand sweets. Since then the Brunberg selection includes “second-hand-bags”, which, as far as we know, in the 60’s were the same kind of brown paper bags as they are today.
In 1958 it was decided to drop the name Lindfors and continue as Brunberg Oy.
At the end of 1958 the activities were profitable, once again.