HISTORY OF TILGMANN
Timeline
1860–1870
1880
1890-1900
1910-1930
1940-1950
1960
1970-1990
2000-2010

Tilgmann was founded in Helsinki in 1869. The company’s rich history gives us an interesting insight into the development of this distinguished printing house. Throughout the decades its products have included maps, banknotes and board games as well as packaging materials.

Familiarise yourself with the company’s fascinating history using this timeline.

1860–1870

The Tilgmann printing house was built in the centre of Helsinki

Company

In 1869 Ferdinand Tilgmann, of German descent, founded a lithography business bearing his own name in Helsinki. He was well educated and he was also a talented artist with a  professional interest in printing.

In 1872 Ferdinand Tilgmann bought three plots of land on the corner of Annankatu and Lönnrotinkatu, where he built his printing house.

Printing press

The Miu printing press that was invented by Ferdinand Tilgmann and used rolls of paper, received a great many commendation in professional circles, but no more than three of them were ever made. It was a little too much ahead of its time. 9,000 Markkas was used to make the prototype, which was a lot of money back then.

Did you know?

Ferdinand Tilgmann was tasked with printing the large general map of Finland. As he also had also had special training in drawing maps, he engraved the stone slabs himself.

1880

Banknote printing begins

COMPANY

Ferdinand Tilgmann founds the Bank of Finland printing house for banknotes in 1885. This is a mission of great honour, because this is the country’s first establishment of this kind.

Printing press

The first banknote printed by the Bank of Finland’s own printing house is designed by Ferdinand Tilgmann and Friedrich Wanderer. The printed banknotes have a value of five and ten Markkas and they come into circulation in 1889. The banknote designed by Tilgmann is not officially annulled as legal tender until as late as in 1945.

Did you know?

The first provisional one Markka banknote is a different shape to the modern banknotes: it is 13.5 cm wide and 9.5 cm high. It is manufactured at the F. O. Liewendahl printing press, SKS printing press and Tilgmann’s printing press before the official printing press for banknotes is founded.

1890-1900

Printing develops

COMPANY

The company status is changed to a Limited Company. Tilgmann’s reputation as a great printing house is strengthened. It is tasked with handling several commissions for maps as well as receiving the honour of being the first to print so-called correspondence cards and international response coupons for the Post Office (referred to as Postihallitus at the time).

Ferdinand Tilgmann’s son Ernst joins the company’s management team together with lieutenant and baron Gösta Sackleen.

PRINTING PRESS

Ferdinand Tilgmann puts greater emphasis on mechanics and automation and invests in express presses. Chemigraphy, i.e. printing slabs made with chemical and photographic methods, is introduced. The risky investment pays off and brings the company economic growth.

They are also using a fast “accident” printing press which is capable of printing 1600 impressions an hour. In 1905 Tilgmann founds a paper processing company Ab Chromo, which specialises in manufacturing printing paper and cardboard for artistic purposes.

DID YOU KNOW?

Ferdinand Tilgmann and his family move back to their home country Germany for a year, where he starts studying composing at the local conservatoire, at the tender age of 61.

In 1903 his son Ernst Tilgmann is fired from his position as a company director because he fails to make a Russian client pay for a large order. He returns to the company in 1906, starting off as an auditor until he again progresses into management tasks.

1910-1930

The family business goes to Amos Andersson

Company

Ferdinand Tilgmann dies in 1911. In 1916 Amos Andersson acquires the majority of the shares in the company. He merges Tilgmann with Öflund & Petterson, Helsingin Kirja- ja Kivipaino, Weilin & Göös kivipaino, Lilius & Hertzberg and Turun Kivipaino. Now a major company it immediately dominates the lithography business.

Printing press

Tilgmann boasts 1,000 employees, a quarter of whom work in offset printing. 40 percent of Tilgmann’s turnover comes from offset printing, which is why the company is increasingly specialising in this particular printing technique.

Offset printing is also especially suitable for making packaging material. Tilgmann’s exceptional performance in this field provides solutions to packaging problems. In addition to the actual printing work the company also takes care of post press finishing, through e.g. laminating, polishing and die-cutting packaging products.

Did you know?

The last representative of Tilgmann family leaves the company as Ernst Tilgmann steps away from the business. Oskar Öflund, who started his career as Ferdinand Tilgmann’s apprentice as well as working for a number of its competitors at times, is taken on as the company’s managing director.

1940-1950

From books to packaging materials

Company

After the war years Tilgmann concentrates more and more on manufacturing packaging materials instead of printing books. Tilgmann’s Kuvataide publishing house publishes products ranging from simple playing cards to high quality images. In 1951 Tilgmann publishes the board game “Afrikan Tähti” (Star of Africa) which still today is a favourite Finnish board game.

Printing press

In 1955 Tilgmann calls an end to its lithography line and demolishes the last fifteen express lithography machines which are sold on as scrap. The majority of the 40,000 lithographed blocks are also destroyed.

In 1957 Tilgmann takes up photogravure printing technique, which is used alongside flexographic printing, for the production of packaging materials. The company is even able to create unusual shapes, such as round cheese boxes.

Did you know?

Ferdinand Tilgmann’s grandson Arnold Tilgmann illustrated some 1,500 postcards, of which the soldier-themed ones proved very successful, especially during the war years.

1960

Tilgmann celebrates its 100th anniversary

Company

The sixties are a golden age for Tilgmann. It has achieved a particularly strong position in the market and increasingly focuses on printing packaging material. There is good reason to celebrate at the end of the decade, because in 1969 Tilgmann will be 100 years old. In honour of this special day an historic print is created to showcase the company’s stunning work is printed.

Printing press

Tilgmann is Finland’s largest printing press company and leads the way in almost all forms of printing from books to board games and from art materials to packaging materials.

Did you know?

In 1962 Amos Andersson dies and bequeaths all Tilgmann’s shares to Föreningen Konstsamfundet foundation, whose key founder he was back in the 1940’s. In reality the foundation is Amos Andersson’s sole beneficiary.

1970-1990

Decades of change

Company

The ensuing decades are the time of great change for Tilgmann. The operational environment undergoes a sea of change because, as is typical of the time, Tilgmann also bears witness to increased specialisation. Demand is changing and the company differentiates its business into units which each focus on their own know-how.

In the 1970’s share capital is being sold. First up, Tilgmann is bought by Kymmene, and in the1980’s ownership is transferred to Yhtyneet Paperitehtaat. At the end of the 1990’s Edita Oy (previously Valtion Painatuskeskus) buys out Tilgmann and another leading label operator, Lauttasaaren Paino, and the merger takes on the title of the Edita Label division.

Printing press

From the 1990’s the company concentrates solely on printing labels.

Did you know?

In 1971 the production departments are moved from the centre of Helsinki to the Suomenoja site in Espoo, where there is a greater potential to expand. The building on the corner of Annankatu and Lönnrotinkatu becomes a more classic office building, which is today used by the European Chemical Agency.

2000-2010

Tilgmann returns

Company

At the start of 2000 Tilgmann switches to German ownership as part of company restructuring, but as part of a transaction it returns to Finnish ownership in 2014. Today, Tilgmann once again plays an active role in the packaging business in the Nordic Countries supported by its new ownership and capital structure. The much respected old company is now being returned towards its former glory, whilst honouring its long tradition.