|Union Geithus is the oldest paper mill in operation in Norway today. Situated in the village of Geithus - some 90 kilometers west of Oslo. The company was founded on March 19, 1873 by a group of investors from the Drammen area. The initial name of the company was "Actieselskabet Eker & Giethus Papirfabriker". Only a month or so later the name was changed to Drammens Papirfabriker. When new, the mill was the first modern, integrated ground-wood and paper mill in Scandinavia.|
On September 1, 1889 - about 2 am - the disaster struck. A fire broke loose and destroyed all machinery and most of the buildings. The following year an intensive work brought the mill back on it's feet. In reconstructing the building structures, 1,5 million bricks were used. The new PM 1 was started on November 10, 1890. Start-up of the PM 2 came within three weeks. Both new paper-machines were built by Bertrams Limited of Edinburgh, Scotland. They had both the same width - 83,5 inches (212 cm). Products were the same as before the fire - printing papers and brown-wrap.
|The idea of installing a third paper-machine had been there as early as spring of 1889, but because of the fire it dragged on until fall of 1895 before anything further happened. Many machine-makers were considered by the board of directors before the bomb went off in June 1896 - Drammenselvens Papirfabrikker is going to install an American high-speed paper-machine. A little less than a year later - on May 24, 1897 the new machine was started. The man standing between the 2 drum upright reel and the winder in the 1897 photo above is thought to be the Pusey and Jones start up engineer from the United States.|
|It was 112 inches wide on the wire. It had two presses and sixteen dryers, and was built by the world's largest supplier of paper-machines at that time - The Pusey & Jones Company of Wilmington, Delaware. Speed was 400 ft/min. (122 m/min.). Speed of European paper-machines in the 1890's were mostly around 70 m/min. At that time Pusey & Jones had already built machines that were capable of running 490 ft/min. Production on the PM 3 was mostly brown-wrap, but also news-print was produced from time to time.|
In late 1912 a fourth machine was started. It was built by KMW (now a division of Valmet) of Karlstad, Sweden. Wire-width was 120 inches. The machine had two presses and sixteen dryers. Speed was around 90 m/min. The intention was that the PM 4 should serve the market for brown-wrap, PM 3 should produce news-print only, PM 1 should run on heavier printing-papers, while PM 2 was shut down for good. The intention was good, but the market for brown-wrap failed within a few years after installation of the PM 4 and after 1916 production was news-print on both the newest machines. In March 1915 the owners of Drammenselvens Papirfabrikker had sold the company to A/S Union (Union Co.) - another and much bigger news-print mill in Skien, some 130 km south of the Geithus mill.
|On December 17, 1927 disaster struck again. About 4 o'clock in the morning fire came loose in the drive-side of the PM 4 and severely damaged PM 3 and 4. Also the machine house suffered severe damages. Both machines were rebuilt by the Thune Machine Works of Oslo. PM 3 now had three presses - two were originals and a new one was made by Thune after the original Pusey & Jones pattern. All frames in the dryer-section were new. All the original dryers were put back in, together with fourteen new ones. Speed was now 200 m/min on news-print. Much of the same goes for the PM 4, but only six new dryers were added. New winders from J. M. Voith of Germany were installed for both paper-machines.|
|Towards the end of 1936 it became obvious that the PM 4 no longer could be run profitably on news-print. A change-over of production took place - news-print was out and Greaseproof came in. During World War 2 the mill was shut down for the most part and the PM 1 was not started after the war. It was sold in 1952 to Fridafors Bruk - a small mill in southern Sweden where it was in operation until 1965. The year 1953 was the record year of all times for PM 3, 11,266 metric tons of News and Bulky Print was produced during that year.|
In July 1963 both PM 3 and the ground-wood mill were shut down for good. The old-timer was no longer profitable on news-print. But after a while it was realized that the PM 3 could be run at a profit on Greaseproof. The following winter PM 3 went through a major overhaul. The wire-section was made longer, one dryer was pulled out and a size-press was put in. Start-up was on March 5, 1964 and since then PM 3 has been running on Greaseproof.
is pretty much the situation today, except for the fact that over
the years both machinery and products have been improved.
In November, 1997 the company name was changed once again - from Drammenselvens Papirfabrikker to Union Geithus. The machines are running and their products are shipped all over the world.
As footnotes to this article: The watermark and logo shown
to the left are those of the Pusey & Jones Company-The Water
Lily (top) and the logo of The Union Company, (bottom), the parent
company of Union Geithus.
This article was composed and submitted by Oyvind Haugen, an employee of Union Geithus (Drammenselvens Papirfabrikker) since May 2, 1983 and is a condensation of a book he authored titled, "PM 3 - 100 Years". When asked how he developed such an interest in the Pusey & Jones Company, his response was, " My interest in Pusey & Jones Company came when I saw the script on the dryers in the PM 3. I asked around if anyone knew anything about Pusey & Jones, only to experience that nobody did. I had to find it out myself - and that has kept the ball rolling ever since." Click here to read Mr. Haugen's profile.
Much thanks and appreciation to The Union Company and the Union Geithus Mill for permission to post this article and for the assistance and cooperation of the Hagley Museum and Library of Wilmington Delaware.
The Paper Industry Web.com