My Elematic Story
Once a small-town machine shop in Toijala, Finland, the company has consistently outgrown all of its business goals. Here to tell her version of the story is Sinikka Soljamo, who soon celebrates her retirement after 47 years of being part of Elematics’ success. “June 1st, 1962, was the day I walked through the doors of Toijalan Teräsvalmiste for the very first time. I was 15 years old, straight out of confirmation school, and had been hired by Pentti Virtanen because of my drawing skills. I started out as an assistant to advertising manager Seppo Kallakari. Seppo taught me to use drawing pens, drawing ink and drawing board; and after a few initial hardships I became quite good at drawing mold-casting equipment. I also wrote offers, leaflets and price lists, which were then sent on to construction companies and architects. “One of my tasks was making photocopies. Back then, the photocopy machine was located in the office of the factory. It was a big, wooden construction, where copies were developed with ammonia, which we used to get in one-liter bottles from the pharmacy. The ammonia vapor from the machine was so strong that after the first day it seemed like even food tasted like ammonia! “Already back then, the company was visionary: we worked longer hours during the weekdays, and contrary to the custom in those days, we had Saturdays off. There was only emergency duty present: often it ended up being me, as the men in the factory thought it reasonable for the “school girl” to work on weekends. Luckily, emergency duty was easy, to say the least: one only had to answer the phone and ask the person calling to call again on Monday. The factory was also ahead of its time in the way it paid salaries -- not in cash, but directly to the bank at the end of each week. I started drawing more and more, and assisted Pentti Virtanen in writing some of his presentations and offers. I specifically remember the offer we made to the Haka factory in Vantaa, because we had a party afterwards. We got the deal, and that battery mold was always my favorite. It was so awe some -- 4×15 slots, if I remember right. “The design and manufacture of hollow-core machinery began in 1970. We watched the dispatches of the first machines with excitement through the office windows. Sometimes they would come right back. Apparently everything didn’t always work as it was supposed to! Then Paraisten Kalkki bought us in 1973, which led to some rearrangements of office facilities and organizational structures. In addition, Partek Machines Limited was founded. “We then started working on projects for the DDR. For almost ten years, I was drawing as a draftsman the basic background drawings and writing visa applications – sometimes day and night, weekend included! The new office building was completed in 1976, and we were finally all under the same roof. After that, there have been many, many others to tell their story….” Sinikka Soljamo Assistant, technical designing Elematic. What actually happened at Elematic when Apollo 11 landed in the moon, when John Lennon claimed the Beatles to be more popular than Jesus, when Princess Diana died, when Mohammed Ali lost his first match to Joe Frazier, when the Concorde did its first flight or when Barak Obama becomes the President of United States? Get a closer look here!