A Husqvarna - Viking Sewing Machine Company History
by Pat Bilderback
In 1620 the King of Sweden, Gustavus II Adolfus, decreed a drilling and grinding plant for musket barrels to be based in Jonkoping. Originally based in Jonkoping, the factory was moved to Huskvarna because a gunpowder factory had already been built there. The arms factory belonged to the government up to 1757 when it was passed into private ownership. The arms production continued but in the middle of the 19th century manufacturing of civil products started. The first products were hunting rifles and later sewing machines.
New machinery was bought in the middle of the 19th century for the production of the Remington rifle for the army. These machines were excellent also for production of sewing machines. 1872 the first Husqvarna sewing machine was delivered. The development from that one to the electronic wonders of today can be studied in detail.
On February 5, 1872, the Board of Directors decided to start manufacturing sewing machines. The first model was given the name "Nordsjernan" (The Northern Star). In 1883 the Freja model was an immediate success. It was capable of sewing stitches in a neat line - something earlier models could not do. This machine was driven by gears, and all small mechanical parts were enclosed. In various guises, the Freja model was manufactured until 1925. 1903 brought the introduction of the oscillating bobbin - "the sewing machine for families and craftsmen." This dominated the world market for more than 50 years.
1947 saw the first free-arm machine introduced: the Husqvarna Zig-Zag. The free arm offered easy access to tubular areas, while the zig-zag stitch opened the door to many new sewing possibilities.
Soon followed by stoves and a multitude of cast iron household items, bicycles, motorcycles and many other products such as chain saws, lawn mowers, riding mowers, trimmers.