185x banner

Celebrating 185 years of Wärtsilä


At a time when companies across the world are rising and falling within a few decades, the existence of Wärtsilä for 185 years is remarkable and unique. Particularly since its business is thriving and growing.  

“Not many brands these days make it to the 100-year mark, let alone 185 years. That’s why we at Wärtsilä feel this anniversary is definitely worth celebrating together with our people,” says Ritva Seppänen, Vice President of Brand at Wärtsilä. 

Wärtsilä’s story harks back to 1834 when industrialist Nils Ludvig Arppe founded the company by acquiring a sawmill and later an ironworks in Finland. An enterprise which later expanded to become a modern smelting plant and steel mill. 

In the 1920s, Wärtsilä underwent a renaissance of sorts when legendary Finnish industrialist, Wilhelm Wahlforss, took the helm. Under his guidance, the company grew from strength to strength, entering industries as varied as galvanised wire, locks, ceramics, glassware, diesel engines and shipping. 

In the 1970s, an ambitious expansion programme saw the company make several global acquisitions and enter international markets. Over the next few decades, the company quickly gained a global reputation for manufacturing efficient engines and innovative ship and power plant designs, and for pioneering the use of smart technologies.  

Recent innovations like the Wärtsilä 31 – the world’s most efficient four-stroke engine – automated vessel operations and the construction of the largest engine-solar PV hybrid power plant in Africa have helped establish Wärtsilä’s role as a trendsetter in sustainable technology on the global stage. 

Wärtsilä has come a long way and in 2019, it will witness its 185th anniversary. With over 18,000 employees and operations in 80 locations across the world, the company has shown that it has the tenacity, the flexibility and the determination to deliver ever smarter solutions and services to its customers. While Wärtsilä has evolved over the years, the one constant has always been its employees. 

“Without the continuous efforts of every Wärtsilian who has worked for the company in our 185 years, none of this would have been possible,” emphasises Päivi Castren, Executive Vice President of Human Resources at Wärtsilä.  

This is why Wärtsilä has decided to celebrate its anniversary by honouring 185 everyday Wärtsilians, who have helped make the company what it is today. From experienced individuals hailing from different countries and cultures to fresh young talent motivated by our purpose, these stories will give you an up close and personal look into their remarkable lives, and the different factors that drive them in their daily work.  

“This is definitely the time for all these stories to be shared. We wanted our people to speak for themselves about their part in our journey to our 185th anniversary. They show us the direction for the future, for many years to come. And we still have plenty of more stories to tell,” says Päivi.

These 185 stories will be told over the course of 2019, allowing employees, customers and stakeholders to know the real secret behind Wärtsilä’s success – its people.  

Watch this space. 

Read the stories here.

© 2019 Wärtsilä