The story begins with an Indian motorcycle
First there was an anvil..
Kicksled series production begins
By teaching himself and experimenting Samppa became a skilful machine builder. The motorcycle business did not increase very successfully, but by disassembling them he got good parts to satisfy the needs of machine building.
The self-designed and built production machinery especially helped in the manufacture of kicksleds, beginning in 1933. Some of those remarkable machines are still in use. In the wood work department there was a band saw which was in use for over 70 years, which had been assembled using parts from the famous Model-T Ford.
Marketing through wholesalers
Kicksleds distributed nationwide by train
In the early days, kicksleds were delivered to customers via train. Koura had its own stop on a railway siding, where sleds could be loaded onto wagons. Many hundreds of kicksleds could be loaded onto each wagon using a racking system to stack them in layers.
Samppa builds a steam engine
Electricity comes in 1947
Koura village did not receive electricity until 1947. In the meantime, they had to cope using steam power and other methods. Kicksled runners are made from spring steel, and it requires a lot of processing power to shape them. The image shows the back of a large flywheel, which was rotated first with steam from burning wood or a motorcycle engine and sometimes even with muscle power.
A new factory
More products to balance the seasons of the year
The export begins
New factory site
E. S. Lahtinen Oy
Going on to wheels
In 1985, the first computer was acquired from IBM PC / AT with a colour display. It cost 100,000 Finnish marks, equivalent to 17,000€ in 2016. This single unit was used by a number of employees according to a schedule. Enthusiasm was high, and Esla began to build and use production management programs, etc. as was deemed necessary.
Subcontracting boosts production
The company has been subcontracting steel parts for other companies since its founding. Subcontracting know-how has focused on using punch press work to produce components from sheet metal. In 1991, the company began further processing of aluminum profiles for Mäkelä Alu. Since then, aluminum parts manufacturing has grown steadily.
Own tool manufacturing
For a long period of time within Esla there was a seperate workshop for the sale and repair of bicycles and cars. When subcontracting increased, the workshop building was converted to tool manufacturing, where Esla can produce its own press tools. Having the ability to produce tools in-house is particularly important for subcontracting work, which often features a short delivery period.
To the Olympics on a Kicksled
The Millionth Esla
In the early hours of the 9th of September, 2003, a raging fire was about to consume the kicksled factory. Fortunately, the fire was extinguished correctly and the major appliances were rescued before the roof collapsed. Production didn’t need to have a big break, although 600 m2 of factory had to be rebuilt. Then the benefit was clear to have work in two different locations.
The company has many long-term employees and redundancies have been avoided through the years. In the same role, our longest serving employee was Jaakko Mäki. Jaakko came to work at the age of 15 in 1955 and retired in 2008, he began as a riveter, then moved on to welding when that process became accessable. Jaakko held the same job for a continuous period of 52 years and 3.5 months.