Tuovilanlahti machine factory


Industry in Tuovilanlahti since 1917 

Tuovilanlahti received electric light as early as the 1920s, when the rest of Maaninka was experiencing an oil light. It happened thanks to the workshop, and the workshop was born due to the prevailing conditions and enterprising people. The ship was once an inexpensive means of chartering. Tuovilanlahti was the terminus of shipping for the goods from many merchants from Pielavesi and Keitele. Adjacent to the ship's dock were merchants' warehouses, (makasiineja in finnish), to which ships' cargo was unloaded to await horse and later even car transport. The means of transport often needed repair and men were found in Tuovilanlahti who knew how to repair and also build new. 

Eino Pulkkinen, a former engineer and farmer living in the church village of Maaninka, remembered the old events in Tuovilanlahti in the summer of 1984 and as a former "workshop man" remembered them very much.

Kalle Pesonen founded a repair shop in 1917 between Korkeakoskenjoki, which flows through the village and Mustalähde. He had the necessary repair skills, as he had graduated as chief engineer at the Kuopio School of Industry and gained experience as a ship's engineer. He enlisted the help of his brother-in-law Eino Pulkkinen, who had graduated from the same school with a master's degree. Blacksmith Vuokila, who came from Ostrobothnia, also worked in the workshop for a year. The steam engine provided heat and power to lathes and other work machines. In this workshop, land engines and ship machines were repaired. During the War of Independence, cars needed for military operations were serviced and repaired there. The operation of the workshop was considered so important that the authority ordered a recruitment aged Eino Pulkkinen to stay at his workplace. In that war, cars were needed, including Kalle Pesonen's car.

After the war, it seemed possible to set up a company larger than a repair shop. According to the information in the Trade Register, Tuovilanlahti Machine Shop Limited Liability Company was established on November 30, 1918, which was approved by the Government on February 27, 1919. The company was entered in the trade register on April 19, 1921. The founding shareholders were Chief Engineer Kalle Pesonen from Maaninka, at the same time CEO and Technical Director, a ship captain Eljas Pesonen from Kuopio, businessman Matti Pietikäinen from Kiuruvesi and farmer Risto Puurunen from Maaninka. Kalle and Eljas Pesonen were brothers, sons of Heikki Pesonen, a ship captain from Tuovilanlahti. Heikki's son was also Pekka Pesonen, who became famous as the captain of the Maaninka ship, a solid master of the ship and a man of humor. 

There was a lot of money, as the business premises needed by the company were completed quickly. On the shore of Tuovilanlahti, near the pier, a brick factory hall and a board shed for the protection of a frame saw and timber were erected. The Pesonen workshop building was moved to the same site as a carpenter's workspace and warehouse. The company's program also included the generation of electricity for both workshop power and sales. For this purpose, the Lokso dam on the Korkeakoski River was built. Next to the stone-built dam came a cottage that contained the generator and "janitor's" apartment. The turbine was located right next to the cottage, so the dam, the cottage and the turbine were almost stuck together.

The electricity grid covered the actual village and a little more in the area. The outermost points of the network were Kalapuro, Kumpuharju, Viitaranta and Jynkänniemi. Even skilfully regulated, Lokso's water was not enough for continuous use, so the power had to be increased initially with a steam engine and later with a suction gas engine. The main transformer was located near the factory hall, which was practical due to the control of electricity distribution. When talking about the company, the villagers began to use the generic name machine shop, and it contained a lot during that time. 

Source: Olavi Mykkänen, Industry in Tuovilanlahti since 1917. Published in Uutis-Jousi.

The great machines of the workshop

A generator was installed in the workshop to generate electricity and a two-cylinder steam engine as an additional power, which was replaced in 1922 or 1923 by a single-cylinder suction gas engine. As the name implies, it used gas as fuel, the formation of which and of course the engine was watched by the little boys and adults. Next to the engine stood a cylinder more than three meters high. The half-meter-long logs, cut with a circular saw, were towed along a sloping track to the edge of the cylinder in a purpose-made wagon and dropped in. The trees burned slowly in the cylinder, turning into gas. At some point in that event, bad-smelling and poor-quality tar also formed, which traveled all the way down the thick pipe to the shore, solidifying there into a tough layer. Because of this waste, the intake gas engine was named Terva-Pekka. Waste tar was called koljterva or konjterva (in finnish). Terva-Pekka was a great monstrosity and consumed a lot of wood. Its flywheel was one to two meters long in diameter. From this awesome engine through the generator, various work machines and the power grid were powered by additional electricity as the water level in Lokso decreased.

Power engines were replaced. The next two engines were also suction gas engines, of course Terva-Pekkas as well, because they produced tar, although not as much as Terva-Pekka I. Terva-Pekka II was two-cylinder and Terva-Pekka III was single-cylinder in the 1930s. The suction gas engine ran smoothly and reliably. Admittedly, the breaks in the straps caused little pauses. The broken strap once hit the actual "machinist" Ville Husso in the face. However, the accident was not very serious and Husso soon recovered to work. During Terva-Pekka II in the late 1920s, an embarrassing outage occurred when the engine did not receive coolant due to a blockage in the pipe. The fault was searched for a long time until it was found that the blockage was right at the beginning of the water intake pipe. At the end of the raised pipe was found a large burbot that had been able to drift into it but could not retreat away. That was the subject of the speech. It was told so succulently in the village that apparently the sayings used in the stories of Ahti Rytkönen immortalized the drift of the burbot in the pipe in his ethnographic work. Otto Jääskeläinen, who amused his neighbors with his narrative skills, said to the little boy: "Terva-Pekka grabs fish with such a commotion that Tuovilanlahti will soon run out of fish. Don't go to the pier to swim so that you won't find yourselves from the insides of Terva-Pekka."

The workshop thus produced electricity, the beginning of which was either Lokso or Terva-Pekka, depending on the water situation. The lathe, "strotsi" and other implements were powered by belts from an axis in the bulkhead which extended from the engine room to the foundry, the smithy, and the workshop. From the same source, propulsion was transferred to the frame saw and the cutting saw.

Source: Olavi Mykkänen, II The great machines of the workshop. Published in Uutis-Jousi

Kalle Pesonen swayed and ran as the technical director and CEO of Tuovilanlahti Konepaja Osakeyhtiö.

The company's accountant was Matti Remes, a merchant, for a few years. He would have gladly paid the wages as goods from his shop, but that did not satisfy the wage earners. The foundry is hosted by Juho Ahonen, who had come to Tuovilanlahti from Kuopio. Eino Borgman worked as a "keernapoika" (in finnish) and helped Ahonen. During Ahonen's time, the casting went smoothly. He accused his profession of being unhealthy and watched a new profession in good time. Apparently the café and inn business run by his wife produced well, so the family acquired first a horse and then farmland.

Eino Pulkkinen and Heikki Hyvärinen were the ones who mostly worked in the workshop. Pulkkinen also had a farm, but after the workshop ended, he still often had to help the engine owners. It was said that the tricky engine could start even from that Eino Pulkkinen was threatened to come. Heikki Hyvärinen had come to Tuovilanlahti during the War of Independence from Varkaus. In the workshop, Tatu Ryynänen and once even his father also forged. Old blacksmith Ryynänen only enjoyed working in the workshop for a day, as he did not accept a springhammer. Tatu Ryynänen owned also a workshop and burned coal in the summer.

Otto Hentunen and Eero Könönen were the first to "sorvata and strotsata" in the work room (kokoomkahuone in finnish). Könönen was from Varkaus and stayed in Tuovilanlahti for only a year, living with the tailor Muona. However, he had time to marry Muona's daughter. This romance probably happened in 1920. Since then, Hannes Hyvönen and Hannes Juutilainen worked in the workshop. After resigning from the workshop, Juutilainen became a motorist and lived in Tuovilanlahti until the end of his life. Hyvönen moved to Kuopio in the 1930s.

Carpenter Paavo Partanen made casting molds and boats. Ville Husso guarded Terva-Pekka in the engine room. He was an elderly man and probably a reliable watchman, as he had been entrusted with another key to the barn of the Seed Loan Grain. It was an important position of trust at the time. The dam and generator were managed by Antti Kasurinen and his family in Lokso. The cottage was small and you could always hear the sound of flowing water: from the emergency gate as a roar or a steady rumble, from a turbine as a splash, mixed with the noise of a stroller and the buzzing of a generator.

The sawmill's blademen were Heikki Haatainen and Antti Borgman. They sawed boards from customers logs as the company did not purchase timber for the Sales Saw. Haatainen didn't work in the workshop for a long time. He was then a miller and died quite young. Antti Borgman was seen and heard. The frame saw thumped loudly, but over it came Borgman's voice. He was a colorful man in appearance, dark-blooded and tanned looking even in winter. The colorfulness seemed to intensify as he recounted his adventures in the port cities. As he was waiting for the ship to arrive, listeners gathered around him, who during each story heard, "Then cups were made."

During the Prohibition Act, making a cup meant pouring pirtu (alcohol in Finland) into a coffee cup. The little boys did not understand it, and Borgman did not explain it to them. The division of labor did not become quite absolute, so everyone had to do a variety of jobs. The men in the workshop became multi-skilled. The man who went to the client had to survive alone.

Source: Olavi Mykkänen, Industry in Tuovilanlahti since 1917

IV Mestarj Pesonen