The history of Färna
Färna has been inhabited since the 16th century. The oldest evidence for the place name is from 1467 (Fegernæ). As an ironworks, you can certainly follow Färna back to 1607. At that time there was a hammer here with two hearths. The facility was originally a crown mill, but was granted in 1617 by Gustaf II Adolf to a Halfvar Olsson. However, the mill’s actual fou nder was the powerful businesswoman Edla Widiksdotter, widow of Comrade Abrahamsson. Under her leadership, the mill movement was expanded in 1632–40 and in 1641 the mill was privileged to forge 1,200 ship pounds of bar iron.
A decade later, the mill was in the ownership of Abraham Momma, and Abraham and his brother Jakob developed the mill operations considerably. A third bar iron hammer was added, an anchor forge was built in 1678 and a hammer for the production of forged roofing sheets was added in 1685. Abraham was also in the Crown’s service and he started several mines, such as Kengis in Norrbotten and Svappavaara in Lapland. For this effort he was knighted Reenstierna. He also lent large sums of money to the Swedish Crown and introduced salt during the Anglo-Dutch naval war. However, Abraham was forced to pledge Färna to the businessman Claes Wilkens, whose descendants and relatives ran the mill during the years 1692–1789
In 1737, Färna is mentioned as a steel mill with a furnace and plate hammer and three bar iron hammers. In 1742, the young and talented Jacob Ramsell became bookkeeper and administrator at Färna Mill. Jacob, who grew up in poor conditions but studied mining on his own, came to enforce a series of modernizations of the operation.
Hin drich Wilkens and his one year older sister Eva Margareta Wilkens, who were both unmarried, owned the mill during this time. Jacob later began a romance with Eva Margareta, something her brother did not consider appropriate. In the end, however, he had to give in and Jacob and Eva Margareta got married.
After Hindrich Wilken’s death in 1767, Jacob Ramsell became the sole owner of Färna. He expanded Färna mill significantly by buying other properties, i.a. Bockhammar and Trummelsberg. The Ramsell couple rem ained childless and in 1789 they established Färna and Bockhammar’s fideicommiss as they wanted access to forest for charcoal. The Fideikommisset was the largest in Sweden to the surface at the time.
Jacob Ramsell was known as a very skilled and successfu l businessman, for which he was later praised when he became a knight of the Order of Wasa. Finnbo and Björnhyttan together produced 6 2/5 mill. kg pig iron per year. The pig iron is then further processed at Bockhammar’s, Kedjebo’s and Virsbo’s Lancashire forges into cast pieces. These were then sent to Färna bruk’s rolling mill for rolling into rebar.