Lindfors sweets factory grows steadily (1906-1920)
After the death of A.W. Lindfors, Ivar Lindfors continued developing the factory. The subsequent years were prosperous.
In 1907 a 16 year old apprentice, Lennart Brunberg was employed. The young man learnt how to make sweets and little by little he started dreaming of a factory of his own.
Villa Ilomäki became too small for the growing factory. In 1908 Ivar Lindfors acquired new premises, a corner plot, adjacent to the Town Park.
The factory at Villa Ilomäki had reached its limits.
The sweets factory was installed in several wooden buildings, where previously a public laundry had been. A new building was also erected.
The inhabitants of central Porvoo were now able to enjoy fragrances of liquorice and chocolate.
New sweets from abroad
The sweets factory was still run by several family members. Karl Lindfors was candy master and boss. Karl had learnt the line of business in Sweden and America and used his knowledge in the factory. According to history books electricity was installed in the factory during this time.
Karl and his brother Viktor Lindfors were registered as owners of the factory from 1909 to 1913. In 1913 the factory was set up as a limited company.
At the same time Ivar Lindfors expanded the activities. He lived in Helsinki and, during 1910-1920, he acquired the companies of Paul Iljinoff, Ab William Wiik Oy and Ab Westerlund & Co which were incorporated as part of Lindfors sweets factory.
The new companies increased the selection of products of Lindfors. New sweets of their own were also produced.
The creamy Alku caramel candies came from the line of William Wiik. Russian candy masters Sladkoff and Kulakoff had given William Wiik the recipe. (Read more about the history of the Alku candies).
The Alku-caramel candy is one of Finland’s oldest sweets still in manufacture.
The building of the three-storey stone building is started
New sweets, acquisitions and the delicious fragrances increased sales, and the premises were once more too small. In 1914 it was decided that a three-storey stone building would be built.
It was not so easy to build as it seemed. The ground had to be piled as the soil was so soft that the buildings on the adjacent plot were close to gliding into the hole which was dug for the new building.
1914 was an eventful year also for Lennart Brunberg; he had mastered the art of making sweets and was soon appointed boss at the sweets factory.
23-year old Lennart had learnt that for the Christmas sales – the most important season for the sweets factory – preparations had to start in early spring. Stocks had to be filled. This knowledge was to prove useful some years later.
The year 1914 brought a third, very unpleasant, episode: World War I broke out on July 28. The war affected the day-to-day lives of the inhabitants in many ways, among other things as a shortage of food.
In order to meet the needs of food for everybody, rationing was introduced. The prices of food increased rapidly and sugar cards were implemented.
In the spring of 1916 sugar cards were handed out. Lindfors factory had 33 employees and the production amounted to 126 tons of candies per year. At the beginning each person was allotted half a kilo of sugar, but by 1917 the amount had fallen to 200 grams.
Associations, cafés and bakers – also sweets factories – were allowed sugar according to the town council’s consideration, provided there was sugar left from the citizens’ quota. The production at Lindfors naturally fell and next time the production reached the amounts of the year 1916 would not be until seven years later, in 1923.
Rationing was a problem for the sweets factory; furthermore, there was a shortage of other kinds of raw materials as well. 1917-1918 were difficult years for the factory, but one positive thing happened; the building of the three-storey stone building was completed in 1917.
The building still stands, empty for the moment.
Board members of the company in 1917 were Ivar Lindfors, chairman, Axel Lindfors and Ivar’s son, Ragnar Lindfors. They managed to hang on under difficult circumstances.
In 1920 Lindfors sweets factory was the second biggest company in Porvoo.