Mannerin Konepaja was founded in Hanko in 1890 by tinsmith Juho Manner to make kitchenware and tin roofs. Later projects included the iron structures for the Bengtskär lighthouse, construction of water supply and sewer networks, ship repairs and fortification works. The first industrial product was the tin biscuit box made for Hangon keksi using tools developed in-house.
Yrjö Manner who took charge of the workshop in 1917 expanded operations in Hanko. A new foundry was built on Pitkäkatu street in 1926 at the address in which the company operates even today. The product range was extended to include high and long iron structures, such as radio masts and bridges. In addition to contract manufacturing, the workshop developed serially produced products for the emerging Finnish industry. Among the products were industrial and household equipment, castings such as pipe fittings, well covers, wagon bogies and bearing blocks.
In 1931, Manner already employed around sixty people. Towards the end of 1930s when signs of the imminent Second World War were already in the air, the workshop focused on manufacturing war supplies. Aside from making mine-sweeping equipment and mines, the workshop turned and loaded artillery shells. During the 1940 truce between the Winter War and Continuation War, Manner relocated production to Lohja and Lahti, southern Finland. Work to repair the workshop destroyed in the war was begun in 1942. Production was resumed in Hanko in 1942 and in 1943 Manner was established as a limited company.
When Aarne Manner representing the third generation of Manners started at the company in 1949, its main product lines were metal and wood-working machines, foundry products and high-pressure water tanks. Aarne found it important to focus on specific products and decided to specialise in castors, starting with the manufacture of pressed steel castors in 1951. In 1954, castors already accounted for 27 per cent of net sales and were the biggest single product line.
Plastic castors have been marketed by Manner since the 1950s. The first injection moulding machines for the manufacture of plastic castors were purchased in 1966. Under Aarne’s management, the company gradually gave up other products and finally saw the manufacture of wheelbarrows and high-pressure water tanks as the last businesses to be divested.
Since 1974, castors have been Manner’s only product line and first marketed to all Nordic countries.
Since 1984, this family-owned company has been headed by Tapio Manner, representing the fourth generation to do so. Under his management, the determined efforts initiated by his father Aarne to develop the company have been continued by purchasing new machines and tools and increasing the degree of automation.
During 1997–98, the production facilities were renovated and all operations housed under the same roof. As a result of improved efficiency, the markets have also been expanded.
Extending the markets beyond Scandinavia was one of the primary objectives and duly accomplished – today Manner castors are exports to over 20 countries worldwide. The success was made possible by Manner’s qualified staff committed to developing and manufacturing castor products from first-rate materials and by using modern production techniques.
Major investments have been made in product development while customer-orientation gains in importance – castors are designed in response to customer needs. Value-added innovations are the cornerstones of product development. At the same time, the importance of attractive design is increasing. Manner’s long history and experience from working metal and plastic combined with active R&D efforts and top expertise have made Manner an internationally known and highly-valued castor brand.