Today we highlight Finnish innovations depicted on stamps over the last 30 years. This “Made in Finland” stamp sheet contains six domestic no-value indicator stamps that showcase many Finnish innovations that were born out of a need to make daily life easier. The stamps showcase six Finnish items that are now famous internationally: the heart rate monitor, the sugar substitute xylitol, the Rapala wobbler fishing lure, the Abloy lock, the pedestrian safety reflector and the winter tyre introduced into the market in 1934 by Suomen Gummitehdas Osakeyhtiö, the company that later on became Nokian Tyres.
These 1998 stamps feature, from top left; garden cutters designed by Olavi Linden; Zoel/Versoul guitars – Kari Nieminen’s “Versoul” guitars have been played by the likes of Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top, Ronnie Wood from the Rolling Stones and Pete Townsend from The Who. Kari Nieminen launched the Finnish guitar company Versoul in 1995 with just two acoustic models. He now offers more than 50 different models, including electric guitars; Ergo II/Silenta hearing protectors; a Ponsse Cobra HS 10 tree harvester; a Suunto Compass; and Exel ski poles – Exel was the first company to introduce carbon technology to the ski pole industry. The breakthrough took place in 1976 at the Innsbruck Winter Olympics, where 100% of top skiers used Exel carbon poles.
Two stamps from 1994 featuring successful Finnish industries. The 2,30 stamp features wood processing – the production of a wide range of products from planks to pulp and paper, a major sector of industry in Finland; an important discovery by Artturi Ilmari Virtanen (1895-1973) who in 1945 became a Nobel Prize laureate in chemistry for his research and inventions in agricultural and nutrition chemistry; Assa Abloy – a global leader in the manufacture of locks and locking systems; Finland was also once famous as a builder of ice-breakers, vessels needed by Finland’s ports every winter to clear shipping lanes through the sea ice seen here is the ice breaker MS Fennica. The stamp on the right features a Vaisala radiosonde – an electronic device that is used to measure meteorological variables in the atmosphere; the Rapala fishing lure; the mobile phone developed in the late ’70s by Nokia and television manufacturer Salora – in the 1980s Salora was incorporated into Nokia and as an indication of the progress made by the late ’80s, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was famously pictured using the latest handheld Nokia mobile phone to contact the Kremlin while on a visit to Helsinki in 1987; top right of the stamp is a wind power plant.