Husqvarna AB is a huge company with a passion for quality products and a highly trusted brand by many people.
This company manufactures a large product range for both commercial use and consumer use. It is more than 300 hundred years old — making it one of the oldest companies in the world — and has a rich and fascinating history.
Despite the Husqvarna group having a fascinating history, very few people know about Husqvarna history. In this short blog post, I will try to lay out the history of Husqvarna. Its journey from the beginning to the present day.
Heritage As Weapon Manufacturers
Husqvarna was founded in the year 1689, about 328 years from now, in Huskvarna city in Sweden. The Husqvarna Vapenfabriks Aktiebolag — “Husqvarna Rifle Factory —, initially began as a weapons factory owned by the state. The Husqvarna factory produced mostly rifles and had around one thousand employees working for it initially.
This company also later produced shotguns and modern hunting rifles. Their weapon production went on for about 300 years, lasting till 1989.
The factory where manufacturing took place was located near a waterfall in Huskvarna, southern Sweden. It was built there due to the use of hydropower needed to manufacture their machinery. A water wheel was used to create this mechanical energy.
Husqvarna Sewing Machine
During the 19th century, when the need and demand for weapons became less, this innovative company, Husqvarna, introduced and started producing sewing machines.
This was mainly because the machinery it had for manufacturing weapons was highly suitable for making sewing machines.
Sewing machines started to be produced in 1972 and their production continued on until 1997.
The sewing machine operation was divested in the year 1997 and the Husqvarna sewing machines are now being produced by VSM Group.
Husqvarna Kitchen Equipment
Two years after the production of sewing machines started, an iron foundry was built and the manufacturing of kitchen equipment started. This equipment was made from cast iron and included equipment such as wood stoves — and later, gas stoves and electric stoves — ovens and meat grinders.
Their meat grinders, in particular, showed great success, in the electric appliance market, with millions being exported around the globe.
Husqvarna Motorcycles & Bicycles
As the 19th century came to an end, similar industries were expanding rapidly across the globe. Husqvarna refused to stay behind and then started producing bicycles in 1896. The manufacturing of bicycles was kept up until 1962.
At the start of the 20th century, in 1903, to be more exact, it started producing Husqvarna motor bikes, which were a huge success for the company. The first Husqvarna motorcycle could reach the speed of four to five kilometers per hour, which was an impressive feat for that time.
Around the 1930s, Husqvarna’s high performance engines were being used for highly successful track racing and motocross bikes. Prior to becoming part of the KTM group, it won titles in the motocross world championship in 1959 and 1960.
In 1986, the company sold its motorcycle division to Cagiva, which was later to become part of the KTM family.
Husqvarna Garden Equipment & Outdoor Products
Not too long after the production of motorcycles started, in the year 1918, Husqvarna created a brand of outdoor garden equipment and garden tools. Their garden machinery market manufactures a range of other outdoor power products such as motorized lawn mowers, chainsaws, power cutters, demolition robots, snowblowers, leaf blowers, trimmer line tilling machines, safety equipment, and chainsaw chains.
Husqvarna as lawnmower manufacturers, in fact, created the world’s first solar-powered robotic lawnmower.
Husqvarna Chainsaws Breakthrough
Going from motorcycles to chainsaws. Husqvarna is well known for its production of chainsaws. These professional chainsaws are of top-notch quality with a great selection of expensive machines.
Husqvarna chainsaws range from heavy-duty machines — for professionals in the forestry business — to machines that are more suitable for home use.
The most sought after Husqvarna chainsaw range is said to be the Rancher. The Husqvarna Rancher 445, has in fact, received more chainsaw reviews than any other model of chainsaw.
The Husqvarna Rancher 445 — along with many other products — is made in many countries.
Husqvarna Thinking Outside The Box
The knowledge gained through producing so many outdoor products came as a benefit to them when they had to design new products and solve already exciting problems.
One example was chainsaws that were already on the market which carried with them the problem of noise pollution. Husqvarna thought ahead and used motorcycle muffler technology on their Husqvarna 90 chainsaw model, reducing the noise level by half.
Not long after, the noise reduction invention for power equipment was followed by other fantastic solutions, such as the ground-breaking anti-vibration function and later creating the first ever automated chain brake, minimizing the danger of injury for forestry workers and forestry professionals.
Other award-winning solutions include a variety of products such as:
Mostly used in products that are handheld. It works by delivering higher fuel efficiency while reducing exhaust emissions.
This was an environmental breakthrough regarding the use of chainsaws. Minimizing exhaust emission and optimizing performance, without having to spend time on carburetor adjustments.
Battery Operated Lawn Mowers & Chainsaws
This range of battery products with petrol performance don’t make a noise, are lightweight and create no direct emission.
Robotic Lawn mowers
Self-operating mowers — or engine driven lawn mowers — that don’t need an owner to operate. A product that consumes minimal energy and is free from direct emissions.
This product — mainly used in the construction industry — is lightweight and operates at a high power. It is remote controlled, making it safe and reducing the risk of injury for whomever has to operate it.
The old Husqvarna logo, from when the company started to produce muskets and hunting weapons, is a representation of the end of a rifle barrel on which the three nibs represent the sights of the gun.
First Husqvarna logo
The later version still has this facsimile of a gun sight, and is said to represent the fact that Husqvarna has the future in sight.
Husqvarna In Sweden
Husqvarna was acquired by Electrolux in 1978, which is a company based in Stockholm known for the production of home appliances, and it was spun off as a separate company again in 2006.
This was my best attempt at laying out the entire Husqvarna history. The information presented in this blog post is fascinating if you are a business history nerd like me.
After more than 300 years of its existence, the Husqvarna company is still growing strong in the consumer durables industry.
As of now, the company employs more than fourteen thousand employees and has an income of SEK 414 m. The success of the company can be certainly attributed to its continued innovation and venturing into new markets. The journey of Husqvarna can be a lesson for any business owner that is looking to build a business that lasts for decades, if not centuries.