KONGSBERG celebrates its 200th anniversary on 20 March. The company can boast the longest industrial history in Norway, with continuous operations since the foundation of the Kongsberg weapons factory in 1814.
Throughout 200 years what is now known as KONGSBERG has been an industrial trailblazer in the defence, maritime, oil, gas and aerospace sectors.
“There are not many businesses in the world that can boast 200 years of continuous operations, and this is something we are very proud and respectful of. We can look back on a unique and memorable history, and we are now a leading international high-technology corporation,” says CEO Walter Qvam of KONGSBERG.
1814: The establishment of the Norwegian defence industry
Kongsberg weapons factory (KV) was founded by Poul Steenstrup, mining superintendent and participant at the national assembly at Eidsvoll, on 20 March 1814. This represented the establishment of Norway’s first factory, even before the industrial revolution in Norway.
During the spring of 1814, Norway had gained its constitution. And the work of building the country’s first factory began in Kongsberg. The establishment of Kongsberg weapons factory in 1814 must be viewed in the light of other events of the same year. In January 1814, Norway had been ceded to Sweden, after centuries of union with Denmark. However, in Norway forces were working to give the country independence, and the need for a defence industry developed.
From the industrial revolution to international high technology supplier
KONGSBERG has experienced numerous eras, including Norway’s incipient industrial revolution in the 1800s, the development of the post-war technological industrialized Norway and the internationalization of Norwegian technology and expertise in the final decades until today.
Press Release, March 20, 2014; Image: Kongsberg