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Swedish Paper Industry

The manufacture of paper in Sweden is of very ancient date as in most other civilised countries. The numerous papermills of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, however, were all engaged in making hand-made paper intended for local requirements or, at any rate, for consumption in the country. As late as the fifties of last century, about fifty years after the invention of the paper-machine, the eighty papermills of Sweden did not produce more than some 10,000 tons of paper per annum, nowadays the average output of a medium-size mill. Only a couple of hundred tons were exported, chiefly to the other Scandinavian countries. The modern paper industry of Sweden dates its origin from the time when methods had been invented for the production of paperpulp of materials more abundant than rags. The founding of the Munksjo Papermills near Jonkoping in 1861 by J. E. Lundstrom initiated the new period in Swedish papermaking. The paper made there was produced from strawpulp, of rather considerable importance in the manufacture of wrapping papers of various kinds for some time. Even ten years later, two mills were started with straw-boiling plants for supplying the raw material. These were the Katrinefors and Fiskeby mills which, like Munksjo, have since developed into very important papermills. About that time, however, a still cheaper and more serviceable pulp for papermaking had been invented, and had come into fairly extensive use elsewhere. This pulp was produced from grinding wood, and a large number of such nulls was built from the close of the sixties onwards, until 1874. when a reaction set in in Sweden after the busy period immediately following upon the Franco-German war. The pulp produced by these mills enabled the Swedish papermills to compete on the foreign markets with cheap grades of paper. In addition to ground woodpulp another material possessing even greater adaptability for papermaking was shortly afterwards placed at the disposal of the papermills, viz. chemical pulp. With the aid of such increased facilities the paper industry advanced during the period 1891—1895 considerably attaining to an average output of 18,000 tons, i. e. five times that of the sixties, and of this quantity one half was exported.

If the results'of those days be gauged by present day standards, they naturally seem quite insignificant. But the eighties and nineties were periods of learning and for gaining experience, and in which the foundation was laid for the future strong expansion of the Swedish papermaking industry, years which fitted it for conducting this industry on lines conforming to the requirements of the world markets. To mention only a few early achiements; the Munksjo mills were successful in the eighties in producing »kraft» paper of unsurpassed toughness and strength. When the manufacture was resumed at the Molndal mills by the A.-B. Papyrus the object of the company was to establish themselves on the international markets with a line of high-grade coated, enamelled, patterned, and goffered papers, and they have been eminently successful in their venture. With the erection of the Kvarnsveden papcrmill by the Stora Kopparberg Company for production of newsprint paper Sweden obtained its first papcrmill on really large lines, comparable with those existing in the United States at that time. This happened in the last decade of the nineteenth century, and was the outcome of the advance that had taken place in the production of the various grades of woodpulp.

The position to which the Swedish paper industry attained at the opening of the twentieth century has been strengthened year by year. Whereas large mills of the old-established type added other lines to their production from time to time, the ones established in the years immediately before the war, and in the next few years, followed in the footsteps of Kvarnsveden and specialized strictly on either newsprint or wrapping papers. Thus the Hylte Bruk mills produce nothing but sulphite wrappings, and the Molnbacka-Trysil mills at Deje only Kraft paper. The mills having the largest output of news so far are the Hallsta on the coast of Uppland, which are equipped in the most up-to-date fashion in every department.

In 1916, before the mills had began to feel the restrictions enforeed on manufacturing and commeree by the war, the paper production in Sweden reached its highest point with an output of about 410,000 tons. The new mills built since that time, principally engaged in the production of newsprint and wrapping paper of the Kraft and greaseproof qualities, have increased the capacity of the Swedish works to about 170,000 tons per annum, of which a surplus of some 350,000 tons are available for export. The last phase of the expansion of Swedish papermaking is the establishment of papermills in the northern provinces of Sweden, which were formerly content to export the pulp and cellulose in the crude state.

The following figures of the resourees of raw materials and production of the largest Swedish papermills give a good idea of their capacity as well as their possibilities of expansion.

Stora Kopparbergs Bergslags A.-B., with an annual output of 53,000 tons of paper, owns 392,000 hectares of forest land, about 180,000 HP. of waterpower of which 98.000 HP. already in service. The corresponding figures for the Skonvik Company are 33,000 tons of paper, 315,000 hectares of forests, 15,500 HP. waterpower in service and about 20,000 HP. not yet harnessed; for the Holmens Bruk. 70,000 tons of paper (the capacity will soon be increased to 100,000 tons), 30,000 hectares of forests, and 12,000 HP. from its different waterpower plants, besides 18,000 HP. from the state powerstations at Alfkarleo: for Billeruds A.-B. 20,000 tons of paper, 143,000 hectares and 14 16,000 H. P.; for A.-B. Molnbacka-Trysil 28,000 tons of paper, 85,000 hectares and 12,000 H. P.; for Fiskeby A.-B. 30,000 tons of paper, 55,000 hectares and 8,000 H. P.; for A.-B. Axel Christiernsson's works at Munkedal and Hylte Bruk 27,000 tons of paper; 23,000 hectares and 6,000 H. P. equipped, besides a further 6,000 H. P. not yet in service.

The industrial evolution which has just been briefly outlined has, for historical and and technical reasons, given rise to a fairly large number of different types of mills.

There still exist a few of the old hand-paper mills, e. g. Mariedahl, Qvill, Osjofors, Langasjonas-Forsa and Tumba.

At the last mentioned mill the notcpaper of the Bank of Sweden is made as well as stamped paper for the different Government departments. The other handpapcr mills manufacture filter paper, grey rag paper, and bookbinder's board, the latter in great demand on account of its fine quality.

All mills in Sweden now engaged in the manufacture of fine paper trace their origin back to hand mills. At a couple of them, Lessebo and Grycksbo in particular, handmade paper is still produced though only as a sideline to their very considerable manufacture of machine-made paper. The world-renowned Grycksbo filter paper is made by hand. At Lessebo and Gransholm the chief manufactures are writing, printing, and blotting paper from rags and bleached cellulose. Other mills of this class have in addition gone in for the manufacture of new grades of paper: Grycksbo Kraft paper, Klippan tissue paper, cardboard, etc., and Papyrus, as already mentioned, a large line of fancy papers.

Quite unconnected with the old production of fine paper, and all the more with the latest developments in paper making are the three enterprises Brusafors—Hallefors, Hjarpen, and Munkedal, where the work is concentrated on the production of bleached celullose. The last mentioned mill has also made a name for itself as producer of an exceedingly fine grade of cardboard for building purposes.

The processes involved in the production of white and brown air-dried cardboard, evolved in conjunction with the operation of the earliest wood-grinding mills, is represented by several establishments: Alstermo, Djupafors, Forssa, Karlsfors, Katrinedal, Kohlsater, Lagerfors, Lindefors, Marback, Nissastrom, Ransberg, and Ranan.

Closely allied to this group, but without being operated in direct connection with wood-grinding mills, are a couple of mills of a later date near Gothenburg, belonging to the A.-B. Konstladerfabriken, and A.-B. Industripapp. These, like the Alstermo mill, produce especially leather board for the textile and shoe trades, and for travelling requisites, the production also including ready-made articles for shoe manufacture such as toe caps, etc.

Mass production of ground pulp boards is carried on at the Forssa, Fridafors, Inland, Oppboga, and Sundsvall mills.

The production of Havanna paper — nature brown — is represented by the Amotfors, Nyboholm, Paulistrom, and Hansfors mills. This is a speciality of very old standing.

The group of mills manufacturing special sulphite wrapping paper, with or without a pereentage of ground pulp, are rather numerous. The papermills at Brattne, Emsfors, Essvik, Hylte, Katrinefors, Koppom, Stalldalen, Saffle, Sorstafors, and Asen, all of them having their own sulphite mills, may be included in this group. To this list may be added mills like Gamlestaden, Gothenburg, and Goteborg-Dal, which do not operate pulp mills. Certain of the above mills, like Brattne, Hylte, Saffle, Asen, and Skarblacka, devote themselves largely to butter paper and similar grades of paper.

Among mills exclusively engaged in the production of newsprint paper there are some medium-size establishments like Hafverud, Langed, Ljusfors, and Ostana in addition to the already mentioned large mills of Kvarnsveden, Hallsta, Holmens Bruk in Norrkoping, and Skonviks A.-B. at Matfors, some of them among the largest in the world. All of these have their own mechanical pulp mills and,with the exception of Ostana, also sulphite mills.

The Backhammar, Deje, Fengersfors, Frovifors, Skapafors, and Wiiija mills are exclusively devoted to the production of wrapping paper from sulphate cellulose supplied by their own sulphate mills. Wrapping paper of both sulphate and sulphite is made by the Klarafors and Stromsnas mills, the proprietors of which have both sulphate and sulphite mills of their own for the requirements of the papermills.

Of mills which produce miscellaneous specialities may be mentioned Munksjo with a line of buildingboards in addition to sulphite and sulphate paper. Fiskeby is another mill with a large line of specialities, as well as the Lagamills, and Orebro mills, all of them making cardboard and paper from pulp produced at their own mechanical and cellulose mills. The products of the Nykvarn mills also comprise a good many lines though the establishment has no pulp mills of its own.

Both newsprint and wrapping papers are made at Jossefors, Skarblacka, and Vargon from their own pulp, as well as the newly established Tollare mills in the vicinity of Stockholm.

A rather unique position is occupied by the Thorsvik mills, engaged in the production of paper from knotter pulp as well as corrugated board, and the same applies to the small paper making department at the large Skutskar pulp mills, manufacturing cellulose wadding as well as paper from knotter pulp.

Although the tendency in the trade seems to lean toward a specialisation on the production of newsprint and wrapping papers the foregoing brief survey indicates that other branches of papermaking have also gained a firm standing.

The figures given below gives an idea of the part played by the paper industry in the general economic life of Sweden.

In comparing the paper industry with other large Swedish industries its growing importanceis made evident. The value of the paper production in 1900, 25 mill. kronor, vas only one-half or one-third of the production of each of the various branches of the iron and steel trade — pig iron, steel, and manufactured metal goods — and the engineering industry. The figure was quite as insignificant when compared with those for the textile trade, sugar refineries, breweries, and flour mills, all of them, moreover, producing merely for the domestic market. By 1920 only the engineering trade could hold its position in comparison with the value of the paper production for that year, 350 mill. kronor, and the figures for iron and steel and the textile production was merely on a level with paper. For all the others the relation had been reversed from that occupied in 1900.

It goes without saying that there has been a strong reciprocal action between the paper industry and other Swedish industries. This applies more particularly to the woodpulp industry with which the paper industry is inseparably united. This union has in most cases been brought about by the papermills building pulp mills of their own, or, when the demand for paper seemed to warrant such a course, the pulp mills having added a papermill to their establishment for converting their pulp into a more highly worked product. The papermills of the country operated in connection with pulp mills account for no less than 95 per cent of the total production. In most cases these industries must therefore be considered as a unit in trying to estimate their influence on outside affairs. About one-third of all electric energy produced for manufacturing purposes is consumed by the paper and pulp mills. Of the wood taken out of the forests almost one-third is converted into pulp and paper. Both of these industries in common have served to establish an engineering industry in Sweden manufacturing special machinery of outstanding merit for these trades, in part leading to a considerable export of such machinery. In the footsteps of the paper machine manufacture has followed the manufacture of machine felt, wire cloth, chemicals for the trade, and utilization of the country's resourees of ferrous sulphide, limestone, china clay, and taleum. Upward 89 % of the cost of the raw materials including pulp used in the manufacture of paper is paid over to other Swedish industries, and it is estimated that the present importation of raw materials for the paper trade could be cut down to one-half.

In the foreign trade of Sweden the paper industry is an important asset. In 1900 the export of paper amounted to only 12 y2 mill. kronor or 3-14 % of the total exports, but in 1920 paper was third on the list accounting for 244 mill. kronor, or 10-72 % of the total. It was surpassed only by woodpulp and woodgoods.

If Sweden be compared with some of the great industrial countries its position as producer of paper, it is true, will seem rather modest. The output is only one-fifteenth of that of the United States, one-quarter of that of Germany, one-third of that of Great Britain, and one-half of that of Canada, and two-thirds of that of France. In the export markets the situation is quite another, however. In 1920 the quantity exported amounted to 300,000 tons, a figure outstripped only by Canada who, it is true, exported no less than 870,000 tons, but whose special orientation on the United States' market places it in a position not comparable with any other country. The temporary high export figures of the United States in 1920, and Germany in 1922 were no doubt a mere ephemeral cireumstance, and it appears likely that Sweden will retain the first position in supplying the export markets for a reasonable length of time, closely followed by the neighbouring countries of Norway and Finland. There can be no doubt that the facilities for a further expansion of the paper manufacturing in Sweden are greater than almost anywhere except in Canada whose close alliance with the United States, as previously stated, places her in a different category.

Elis Bosaeus

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