Old Kauttua formed over just over 320 years around iron and paper processing. However, Kauttua was already a significant settlement more than one thousand years ago, and for example, Kauttua is home to the largest studied Viking-age burial ground, Luistari. Before iron production, in the 16th century, the Eurajoki rapids that flowed through Kauttua provided power for grain mills.
Baron Lorenz Creutz, who owned the mill rights and rapids, was familiar with iron production in central Europe. Creutz was governor of Turku and Pori county, and led Finland’s historical mining. Wood from local forests could be used for charcoal burning and farmhands could work alongside smiths, so the preconditions for iron production were met.
In 1689, a mining colleague awarded Creutz privileges to set up an ironworks. No foundry was built for iron production at Kauttua, and iron was first transported from Teijo and later Sweden as pig iron.
Iron was later brought from Leineperi in Kullaa to Kauttua for forging. After Creutz, the Timm and Falck families took over the running of the ironworks. Production was greatest in the mid-19th century, when Kauttua was the country’s leading producer of bar iron.
A smaller hammer was built alongside the tilt hammer for making thin rods and nails. Other products included crowbars, chains, and horseshoes.
Antti Ahlström, a businessman from Satakunta, purchased the Kauttua ironworks in 1873. Ironworking declined at the end of the century, when the iron manufacturing technique in Kauttua became obsolete and the markets shrank. Agricultural production began to achieve higher profits than iron production. At the turn of the 20th century, wood processing began to undergo development alongside iron production, first in the form of a sawmill and then various forms of paper processing.
Iron was later brought from Leineperi in Kullaa to Kauttua for forging. The ironworks continued to operate under the Timm and Falck families after Creutz, and in 1989 the area had been used for industry for more than 300 years. The old ironworks village opened up more and more to outsiders. The municipality of Eura, industrial actors and other interested parties collaborated to develop the area and tourism. The Pyhäjärvi Institute was set up in the area. In the 1990s, the industry was corporatised. A new unit started up in 1992 in the form of the Finnish-Japanese thermal paper manufacturer Jujo Thermal Oy.
Kauttua is a unique place in Finland, as industry has been practiced without interruption in the area for over 330 years. Together with Eura, Kauttua forms Finland’s most industrialised growth area.
Eura has been part of the Finnish Network of Alvar Aalto Cities since 2017. The network aims to increase awareness of Aalto in Finland and abroad. The Alvar Aalto Route was chosen by the European Council as the first cultural route in Finland, and Kauttua’s Aalto sites are included in the esteemed cultural route. The Yrittäjyyttä Ruukinpuistoon (Entrepreneurship at the Ironworks) project is currently under way and aims at year-round services for the area.