Our last blog entry focused on Otis Elevator, considered the biggest elevator company in the world, and company of the father of modern elevators, Elisha Otis. This week, we’re taking a look at Finland’s answer, a company that creates not just elevators, but also escalators, and even automatic doors and gates. This company, is Kone, the 4th largest elevator company in the world, whose Canadian branch is Kone Canada.

The company that would be known as Kone (pronounced “ko-nay”, not “cone”), was originally a subsidiary of another company, Gottfr. Strömberg Oy, in 1910. It was originally known as Osakeyhtiö Kone Aktiebolag, and was the company that Gottfr. Strömberg Oy’s license to import Graham Brothers elevators was transferred to. The license didn’t last long, however, and in 1917, it was terminated. The company was not dissolved however; in 1918 it was instead transformed to create and install its own brand of elevators.

In 1924, Kone was bought by an entrepreneur named Harald Herlin, a man whose family is one of the wealthiest in Finland, and who would own Kone elevator to this day. Under the control of the Herlin family, Kone would acquire a former margarine factory, and convert it into an elevator production facility. From that point onward, from 1932, Kone would continue to expand. And unlike most companies, who were forced to restructure or close down during World War II, Kone was actually given the opportunity to expand, learn new production techniques, and learn to cope with a high demand for products. This happened when the Finnish government called upon Kone to contribute elevators, electric hoists, and cranes to the war reparations to the Soviet Union.

Since then, under Pekka Henlin, the company would undergo massive expansion and growth. It would acquire a number of foreign companies, like Sweden’s Asea-Graham and its Norwegian and Danish affiliates. In fact, their expansion was so great, that they even acquired companies that are older, and larger than they were. Not only did this allow them to expand their original business, but also gave them the capacity to produce a number of other equipment from different industries, like hospital and laboratory machines.

It wouldn’t be, however, until the 1980s that Kone would reach the American market. And even then, the company made a massive impact by acquiring the Armor Elevator Company of N.Y., though it was a company they operated independently as a subsidiary. They continued then to expand even further, adding more and more products to their lineup. Everything from equipment for paper and pulp mills, to conveyor machines and specialized steel components made from Kone’s own factories.

But it wasn’t all success, because by the early 90s, the recession that hit forced Kone to sell a number of its businesses. Only the company’s elevator, escalator, and automatic door businesses were saved, and would be the main focus of the large company to this day.

In fact, it was Kone, during the late 90s, that would introduce a number of new elevator technologies, technologies that are now used widely today. They unveiled the Kone EcoDisc hoisting machine, along with the Kone MonoSpace elevator concept in 1996, which caused a dramatic shift in the advancement of elevators all over the world. In addition, they were one of the first companies to introduce, then widely use, the machine-room-less or MRL elevators.

And while the early 2000s up to 2007 was again plagued with some difficulties, again forcing Kone to sell its newly established businesses, in addition to other hurdles like industry fines, Kone continues to this day to be a pioneer of many elevator advancements. In 2007, they ceased production of all their hydraulic elevators, and replaced them with the EcoSpace machine-room-less elevators.
Davies Elevator, the premiere choice for elevator maintenance in Toronto, is a company that is truly in touch with all of Kone’s cutting-edge elevator tech. Davies Elevator is highly skilled and highly trained for servicing, maintaining, and repairing elevators distributed by Otis Canada, Kone Canada, ThyssenKrupp Canada, Schindler Canada, and more, in the GTA! For the best elevator maintenance in Toronto, contact Davies Elevator today!

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