A Town Called Nokia

A Finnish town called Nokia and the birth of a mobile phone brand

Fredrik Edistam image by Wikimedia Commons

           This article was inspired by the TV series “A Town Called Eureka” for the same reason that when the mobile phone brand Nokia came into the world market the rest of the world seemed to have found what each had been looking for (unless someone was such a tech savvy type that any new phone model would leave them restless for an upgrade). For the record, there is really an existent place in Humboldt County, California, United States called Eureka City. The other origin of the word Eureka was claimed to have its roots from Archimedes who exclaimed “Eureka!” to mean “I found it” when he had a sudden realization of water displacement the moment he set foot on the bath tub and noticed the water level rising.

Nokia is a Finnish town situated by the banks of the Nokianvirta River. Finnish words attributed to its origins were the word “noki” which means soot in Finnish and nokia its plural form and the word “nois” (plural also nokia) referring to a species of martens (beaver like creature) called the sable found in Russia, Poland and nearby countries. Sables were hunted to extinction and the word was later used to refer to any dark furred creature like the marten which could be found in Finnish countryside. This creature was later immortalized on Nokia town’s coat of arms which represents the seal of the municipality. 

Image by Wikimedia Commons

            The telecommunications conglomerate Nokia started in 1865 as a pulp mill established by mining engineer Fredrik Edistam to manufacture paper. Joined by the Finnish Rubber Works Ltd which started a factory in Nokia in 1904 and the Finnish Cable Works Ltd, a merger was put up in 1967 forming the Nokia Corporation at the town of Nokia. The company’s deviation to telecommunications was started in 1970 by the introduction of the Nokia DX 200, a digital switch for telephone exchange. In 1979, its merger with another company Salora resulted in the founding of the Mobira Oy which focused on mobile phones. In 1984, Nokia bought Salora and gained 100% control of the company and the Nokia Mobira Oy department replaced the old name (Mobira Oy). This proved to be the milestone that saw the birth of the world’s first transportable phones in the launching of the Mobira Talkman in 1984. The rest as we knew it is the brand of mobile phone we mostly see in the world market as it is today.

             Moving its headquarters to Espoo, hundreds of miles south of Nokia in 2008, Nokia Corporation left a rich history of its humble beginnings at the town of Nokia where it was founded. This presented an issue where tourists frequented the town each year expecting to find some pieces of equipment in a museum to relate the origins of the mobile phone company but they were discouraged. The town refused to give honor to the history of the world’s phenomenal mobile phone company like erecting a museum on the grounds that Nokia Corporation’s operations ended in Nokia. It is equally understood that the word Nokia is easily attributed to a handheld phone brand and like in most circumstances, a loud bang could easily be forgotten by a louder bang as in most cases (I guess you know what Avatar means before it became a movie title). It was perhaps a wise decision for Nokia Corporation to leave Nokia as its manufacturing headquarters to allow the place to gain back her name as a town, not the phone brand.





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