Browsing by Author "Yrjänä, Jouni"

Sort by: Order: Results:

Now showing items 1-1 of 1
  • Yrjänä, Jouni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    The Forest devil. Businessman Erik Johan Längman (1799 1863) in the transition of economic system In Finnish historiography, Erik Johan Längman (1799-1863) bears a bad reputation of his own level: a mean, profit-seeking businessman who did not care too much about methods in his operations. Although little known, Längman has been praised as one of the pioneers of modern industry in the Grand Duchy of Finland, which belonged to the Russian Empire. From the mid 1830s Längman owned iron mill and several sawmills around the country. The growing demand of the markets in the 1830s, especially in Great Britain, marked a strong stimulus to Finnish lumber industry. At the same time claims for stricter rule over the sawmill industry were raised by high officials. The momentum of the conflict, the Forest Act of 1851, brought an end to illegal overproduction. In this biography, particular emphasis is laid on the entrepreneurial behaviour of Längman, but also on the effect the entrepreneurs had on the Crown s policies. On the other hand, how did the limitations imposed by the Crown guide the actions of the sawmill owners? The solutions adopted by the sawmill owners and the manoeuvring of the government are in a constant dialogue in this study. The Finnish sawmill industry experienced a major change in its techniques and methods of acquiring timber during the 1830s. Längman particularly, with his acquisition organisation, was able to find and reach faraway forests with unexpected results. The official regulating system with its strict producing quotas couldn t follow the changes. When the battle against the sawmill industry really started on, in 1840, it didn t happen for the benefit of iron industry, as argued previously, but to save Crown forests from depletion. After the mid 1840s Längman and the leader of the Finnish nationalistic movement, J. V. Snellman questioned the rationality of the entire regulation system and in doing so they also posed a threat against the aristocratic power. The influential but now also badly provoked chairman of the economic division of senate, Lars Gabriel von Haartman, accused the sawmill-owners harder than ever and took the advantage of the reactionary spirit of imperial Russia to launch the state forest administration. Längman circumvented the conditions of privileges, felled Crown forests illegally and accusations were brought against him for destroying his competitors. The repeated conflicts spoke primarily about a superior business idea and organisational ability. Although Längman spent his last years mostly abroad he still had interests in Finnish timber business when the liberation of sawmill-industry was established, in 1861. Surprisingly, the antagonism around the Crown forests continued, probably even more heated.