Husqvarna Group is celebrating its first 325 years of innovative Swedish engineering. On the founding date April 27, Husqvarna Group reflects on a unique history, from weapons to robotic mowers, constantly setting new standards in technology and usability.
Since starting out in 1689, Husqvarna Group has manufactured a wide range of quality products. Excellent engineering skills, a strong entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for quality has led to innovative solutions, successfully taking the company from weapons, via sewing machines, stoves and motorcycles, to today's cutting-edge outdoor power products.
"For 325 years Husqvarna has developed and manufactured quality products, to help users achieve great results," says Kai Wärn, President and CEO for Husqvarna Group. "As we look to the future we will continue to deliver high performing products and solutions building on our values of entrepreneurial spirit and staying close to our customers."
In the late 1600's, the wars that raged across Europe resulted in an increase in Sweden's weapons production. Hydropower was required for production, so in 1689, a drilling works was established beside the waterfalls in Huskvarna in southern Sweden (at that time spelled Husqvarna), where many products are still produced today.
As the need for weapons declined, the company saw an opportunity to branch out by applying the precision engineering skills achieved from producing weapons, to a whole new set of other products ranging from sewing machines, hunting weapons, wood stoves, mincing machines, bicycles, motorcycles, gas stoves, microwave ovens and much more.
Since the 1960's, the company focuses on outdoor power products for parks, gardens, forests and the construction industry.
Environmental and ergonomic concerns
The know-how gained from developing and manufacturing so many different products became an asset when designing new products and challenging existing solutions, an early way of "thinking outside the box".
Throughout the years, Husqvarna Group has proved its technological leadership by introducing ground breaking and award winning solutions and products with a strong user focus:
• X-Torq®, predominantly used in handheld products, it delivers lower fuel consumption and reduced exhaust emission levels in accordance with the most stringent environmental regulations.
• AutoTune™, a technological and environmental breakthrough in professional chainsaws, minimising exhaust emissions and optimises engine performance, omitting the need to spend time on carburettor adjustments.
• Battery-powered mowers and chainsaws for semi-professionals; light-weight, quiet and free from direct emissions.
• Robotic mowers, the quiet self-operating mowers that frees up time for homeowners and facility managers produces no direct emissions during use and consumes very little energy.
• Demolition robots for the construction industry deliver high power despite their low weight, and are equipped with remote-control that enables demolition tasks in areas where it is too dangerous for workers to enter.
1689: Rifle factory
When Swedish weapons production took off in the late 17th century, hydropower was needed to handle certain mechanical operations. The drilling work at the waterfalls in Huskvarna, southern Sweden, is our first plant.
At the beginning of the 18th century this state-owned rifle factory had some 1,000 employees. The last shotgun was produced in 1989.
1867: Limited company
The limited company Husqvarna AB is formed.
1872: Breaking new ground
Husqvarna's rifle contract with the Crown comes to an end and the company decides to branch out. This becomes the start of a very innovative and ambitious period, resulting in a broad array of new products including sewing machines (1872), hunting weapons (1877), wood stoves (1884), mincing machines (1890), the first Swedish typewriter (1895). Household equipment is still sold in the Nordics by Electrolux. The sewing machines are now part of SVP Worldwide.
The era of bicycles is started in the factory and Husqvarna-branded bicycles become popular. A large number of patents are registered. The last bicycle is produced in 1962.
1903: The motorcycle era begins
The production of motorcycles gives Husqvarna a world-wide reputation, when lightweight yet powerful engines helped make some of the most successful track racing and motocross bikes in history.
Years later, in 1982, a Husqvarna motorbike, MC 258, wins the 250cc class of the legendary Paris-Dakar rally. The motorcycle division was divested in 1987, and is now part of Pierer AG in Austria.
1919: The first lawnmower
When Husqvarna acquires "Norrahammars Bruk", the product range expands to include heating boilers and lawn mowers. This acquisition turns out to be the first step in the Group's current focus on outdoor power products.
The first motorized Husqvarna lawnmower for commercial use is launched in 1947, and in 1959 the first homeowner model reaches the market.
1959: The first chainsaw
As demand for bicycles, mopeds and motorcycles declines, forestry becomes increasingly important in Sweden. Husqvarna's expertise in engines from the production of motorcycles is now utilized in new product areas. Husqvarna introduces its first chainsaw, Husqvarna 90.
The chainsaw was shaped by iconic Swedish designer Sixten Sason and used motorcycle muffler technology to achieve lower noise levels than its competitors. The chainsaw is later further developed into power cutting tools for the construction industry.
Acquisition of the hover lawn mowers company AB Flymo.
1969: Setting new standards for ergonomics
When the Husqvarna 180 chainsaw is released it features a groundbreaking anti-vibration function that prevents 'white fingers disease', a common problem for forestry workers around the world.
In 1973, Husqvarna introduces the world's first chainsaw with an automatic chain-brake. In 1999, the feature TrioBrake™ is introduced enabling users to activate the chain break with the right hand - further reducing the risk of injury for forestry workers.
1970: First female board member
When Lil Wettergren is elected to the Husqvarna Board of Directors, she becomes the first female board member of a Swedish listed company.
1978-79: Outdoor power products expands
Electrolux acquires Husqvarna and the outdoor operation continues to expand both through organic growth and through acquisitions, such as AB Partner and Jonsereds AB. Power products now include chainsaws, motorcycles, lawn mowers and power cutting machines.
1980's: Strengthened positions in the U.S.
Organic growth and acquisitions expand Husqvarna's operations in lawn and garden. Two major acquisitions, Poulan/Weed Eater and Roper Corp, are complementing Husqvarna's product range making the U.S. the largest market for garden equipment.
1995: The birth of the robotic mower
Husqvarna Group pioneered the market by launching the world's first solar powered robotic lawn mower. This is the world's first fully robotic lawnmower, running on nothing but solar power; a predecessor to today's Husqvarna Automower®.
In 2013, a third generation model with built-in GPS is introduced. It took almost 15 years until sales started to take-off for robotic mowers making it a big success story.
2002: Power cutters and diamond tools
When Partner AB launches the first power cutter as a saw accessory in 1958, it was the starting point of Husqvarna's Construction business. When Diamant Boart International was acquired in 2002, the construction business doubled its size, turning into a world leader within its segment.
2006: On its own feet
Husqvarna becomes independent again and is listed on NASDAQ OMX Stockholm. Headquarters is based in Stockholm.
Husqvarna expands in watering when acquiring the Gardena brand. The acquisition of Zenoah in 2007 brings strong brands, complementary products and geographic expansion in Japan.
In 2008, the production in China is expanded through the acquisition of the Jenn Feng operation and the construction of a new plant for chainsaws and other handheld products.
2009: Husqvarna demolition robot
Husqvarna's first remote-controlled demolition robot is launched, designed for all demolition tasks, also where it is too dangerous for workers to enter.
2009: Environmental care
By including environmental, safety and ergonomic considerations when designing products, the Husqvarna Group continuously improves its products and processes.
There has been an increased focus on creating more energy-efficient products lately. In 2009, Husqvarna introduces AutoTune™, a technological and environmental breakthrough in professional chainsaws.
The new innovation regulates fuel flow automatically to optimize performance and minimize exhaust emissions. In 2012, Husqvarna introduces a range of battery products for professionals; chainsaws, grass trimmers, hedge trimmers and a rider. These are emission-free, with less noise, vibration and maintenance.
2013: Chainsaw chains
A wish to optimize the full performance of the chainsaw by utilising the Husqvarna Group's technical expertise in chainsaws leads to investments in a new production facility for producing saw chains.