The story of Kuusakoski began in 1914, when Donuard Kuusakoski set up business in Vyborg collecting iron, metal scrap, and textile waste. Vyborg was the main city of the province of Karelia in Eastern Finland, which, until Finland’s independence in 1917, was part of the Russian Empire.
The First Half-Century
World War I, the 1920s, and the Great Depression were times of expansion for the young scrap-collecting company. Raw materials were hard to come by and waste was an alien concept. Everything was reused: bricks, wood, metal, textile fibers, rags, etc.
In the 1930s, before World War II broke out, Kuusakoski made its first forays abroad, selling high-grade non-ferrous metals to smelting plants and foundries in Germany and England. But war soon changed everything. In 1938, Kuusakoski set up headquarters in Helsinki, a move that proved crucial to the company’s long-term survival when, two years later, Finland ceded the territory around Vyborg to the Soviet Union as part of the Moscow Peace Treaty.
In 1944, Kuusakoski’s Helsinki offices were destroyed in an air raid, and, in a heavy blow to the company, its founder, Donuard, died in 1946. However, Donuard’s sons, Victor and Rafael, took up their father’s mantle and revived the company.
Post-War Through The 1980s
A once-in-a-lifetime deal in 1948 with the Finnish Armed Forces to buy part of their air fleet for metal scrap became the starting point of Kuusakoski’s ongoing success and expansion. It sparked the company’s switch from trading to industrial operations with its first aluminum smelting plant and kick-started the culture of research and development the company retains to this day.
Through the 1950s and 60s, Kuusakoski expanded its operations and invested heavily in advanced machinery—like the Morgan copper processing furnace and the Ponzen 5000 furnace for aluminum. During this time, the company’s laboratory established itself as the industry’s foremost authority on metal alloy analysis.
Expansion continued steadily. In 1970, Kuusakoski had 85 employees; by the end of the decade, that number had reached 200. In the 1980s and 90s, Kuusakoski accelerated its technological and environmental advancements, for example introducing planet-friendly induction furnaces and perfecting new methods for drying of turnings, sink and float, and melting-point separation.
A Greener Century Ahead
From day one, the philosophy that drives Kuusakoski has been one of zero waste—the idea that every piece of scrap has value and nothing should be discarded. More and more, this way of thinking is taking hold in the world at large, as it must, if we are to sustain economic growth and raise the standard of living for all people on the planet without depleting, even destroying, the environment.
At Kuusakoski, we look forward to another 100 years of doing our part to bring about a greener world with sustainable growth for all.