The era of inventors.
The early years.
The story of Hultafors Group started over 130 years ago when a young engineer called Hilmer Kollén invented the folding rule that would facilitate Sweden's conversion to the metric system. He started the Swedish Measurement and Folding Rule factory in Stockholm in 1883. 23 years later, in 1907 his son Joel Kollén took over the operation and moved the factory to Hultafors where it is still located today. In 1925 the company was given the name Hultafors AB.
The 1960's and 1970's.
The angry electrician.
The late 60’s and early 70’s were eventful years for several of our brands, laying a foundation for future success. At that time there was a rapid technical development of materials, tools and working methods in the industry. It was just one thing that did not change: the work clothes. This was noted by an electrician named Matti Viio which was to become the founder of Snickers Workwear.
In 1973, Per-Erik Berg & Co changed name to AB Wibe. The new name was a combination of the founders' surnames, where the first two letters of Wikstand and Berg formed the new name.
The story of Snickers Workwear started in 1975, when Matti Viio lost his cool because his work clothes simply weren't good enough. The clothes did not meet the demands of freedom of movement, strength and adaptation to modern tools and machines. Several times he had suggested modifications to the clothes he had to work in, but no one listened. Finally he took the matter in his own hands and designed his own workwear and Snickers Workwear was born.
1975 was also the year when the third generation of the Kollén family retired and Hultafors was sold to the Almedahl Group. This was the end of the era where the company was family owned, but the beginning of a new era that would eventually lead to Investment AB Latour, who are our owners today.
The 1980's and 1990's.
The carpenter who loved design.
The 80’s and 90’s were two decades influenced by acquisitions. During these years Hultafors acquired no less than three companies that would strengthen the brand. The 90’s was also the decade when a new brand saw the light, started by a carpenter who loved design.
In 1983 Hultafors celebrated its 100th anniversary and was at this point the overwhelming market leader within measurement tools in the Nordic region. Two acquirements especially had led to this success, the purchase of Mellösaverken AB in 1980 which provided the company with production equipment for aluminium folding rules and the acquisition of Danish company Danfiber Aps in 1982 adding folding rules made of fiberglass-reinforced polyamide to the product offer. Ten years later, in 1992 Tors Hammare was acquired by Hultafors, strengthening the offer even more adding axes forged in Hults Bruk to the product line.
Wibe also grew during the 90’s, acquiring the companies Norbas and Vikingstep in 1995. Under the ownership of Thorsman Group the production of Wibe Ladders was relocated from Bodafors to Nässjö in 1996 where a new central warehouse was established. The range was also extended to include rescue ladders for the Swedish fire brigade. Two years later, in 1999 Wibe Ladders became a part of the Schneider Electric Group.
During the same time Dunderdon was started, in Gothenburg in 1997. The company was founded by the carpenter Per-Ivan Hagberg with the mission to create clothing for craftsmen who appreciated superior construction without compromising with the design.
The 2000's and 2010's.
Rapid growth through acquisition.
In the 2000’s the pace of growth increased even more and in 2006 Hultafors Group was born, acting as an umbrella group for Hultafors, Wibe Ladders and Snickers Workwear. It all started with Hultafors acquiring Wibe Ladders AB (Wibe Stegar AB) from Schneider Electric Group in 2005 and Snickers Workwear AB in 2006. Many other companies and franchise companies in the Nordics and UK was also acquired by Hultafors Group during this decade, making the group grow rapidly. Some of these were Dansk Stålindustri, the German folding rule manufacturer Präsident, the company behind the TALMETER marking measure called T A Ljungberg and Fisco Tools Ltd, producer of measurement tapes.
In 2011 Hultafors Group AB was created and became the parent company owning Hultafors, Wibe Ladders and Snickers Workwear. Three years later, in 2014 Hultafors Group acquired TradePort AB, which included the brands Solid Gear Footwear, Toe Guard and Dunderdon Workwear.
In 2017 Hultafors Group acquired Puvab AB, specialised within protective workwear for the energy and utility business, as well as flame resistant safety wear for other industries.