James Finlayson, a Scottish engineer, founded a machinery by the Tammerkoski rapids in 1820. Eight years later his company Suomen puuvillateollisuus (Finnish Cotton Industry) started producing cotton textiles with the machines built by him. In 1836 the Finlayson cotton mill was sold to businessmen from St. Petersburg, Wilhelm Nottbeck and Georg Rauch. The oldest building in the area, the Old Factory, also called Kuusvooninkinen (an archaic name for a building with six floors), was completed in 1837.
The Finlayson factory was a guiding star in Finnish industrial production and the largest employer in the field. Newest cutting-edge technology in Finland was implemented there. In the 1870s, one in four Finnish industrial workers was employed by Finlayson. In the 19th century, the products, cotton yarns and textiles, were mainly sold to Russia.
An Everyday Miracle
In the days of its construction, the factory area was regarded as an architectural miracle for the innovative solutions used in the building process. All in all, there were 71 buildings in the area, of which the wooden ones have been taken down, but almost all of the brick buildings have been renovated and are still in use. The letters TR in the buildings' names refer to tehdasrakennus ("factory building"), and the numbers after that run according to the order in which the buildings were completed. The first full-metal water wheel and the first automatic fire extinguishing system in Finland, and the first electric light in the Nordic countries were taken to use in the Finlayson area. In the 1870s, the Finlayson company also built the largest covered space in Northern Europe, the Plevna weavery.
An Area Transformed
In the 1800s Finlayson grew to be a city within a city with its own school, a hospital, police force, and for a while, even its own currency. For the workers, it was easy to identify yourself as a Finlaysonian. Until the 1920s, the Finlayson company was the biggest industrial business in the Northern countries. The Finlayson company shut down its industrial functions in Tampere in the 1980s, but there is still a factory boutique nearby at Kuninkaankatu.