Salora is an important part of the Finnish industrial history. Salora, a small radio workshop from Salo, grew to become a remarkable employer and the leading European manufacturer of colour televisions, satellite tuners, monitors and components. Salora's history starts from 1928, when its predecessor Nordell & Koskinen was established. In June 1945 the name of company, that was now a limited company, was changed to Salora, which was formed of the words "Salo" and "radio". From the beginning, Salora's target was to be the leader of the development and conquer markets with new collections.
Salora manufactured various electronic devices, but during the 1960s, the television manufacturing became the central business of Salora. Salora's progressiveness as the television manufacturer elevated it to the market leader's position in Finland. The existence of Salora Oy as a company ended in 1989 , when Nokia merged it to the Nokia-Mobira. A few years later, the television business was terminated in Salo, after Nokia moved the television manufacturing to the Finlux factory in Turku.
In the 1960s, Salora started to invest on the television development work with determination. The breakthrough of television to the Finnish homes during a decade was helping this. At the end of the 1960s, 96% of Finns were in the area of Yleisradio TV 1 broadcasts. The role of the television as the Salora's core operation culminated in the 1970s. The development of the colour television was one of the most remarkable turning points in the Salora's history. The success of the colour television as an export article and after a slight delay, also in the domestic markets, meant a stronger position in the television business. Along the success, Salora's had conditions for economic growth and widening the business.
The development work of the colour television was being started at Salora in autumn 1966, and the first colour television, Salora Finlandia, was introduced in spring 1968. The Salora's colour television was advanced in many ways. Its modern features were the modular structure, of which some of the connections were implemented with circuit cards. Due to the advanced transistors in the gear of the television, the device had only three electronic tubes, when there were typically about 30 of them in other colour televisions. The Salora's new colour television had 67 transistors replacing the outdated CRT technology. The Salora Finlandia was put in serial production from the beginning of 1969. Finlandia was awarded with a gold medal in the same year at the Nurnberg International inventors' fair. The Salora's first colour television was considered only as the first step, and it was thought to be a compromise model, that would help in entering the new markets. However, the first model was manufactured and sold more than it could be predicted, and there are about 150 000 gears manufactured for the first model of Finlandia until 1974.
In addition to technical items, the 1970s was also an era of the breakthrough of the television, when implementing the look of the television was left for the designers' hands. Yet to the end of the 1960s, the look of the television at Salora was a secondary item, and the earliest design was based on structure solutions drafted by mechanical engineers. In the 1970s Salora employed designers specializing in industrial design, such as Heikki Kiiski, Tapani Hyvönen and Jorma Pitkonen. In 1979, as the Salora's organisation was renewed, a separate design division was started in the connection of the research department. In the beginning there were altogether five persons working in the design department, and the manager was the industrial designer Jorma Pitkonen.
The main task of the design division was to create and maintain a suitable, unique product and company image for Salora. The operation of the division was divided mainly to two different parts: design of models coming for production and sketching of ideas and drafts. The sketching was visualisation of products and solutions that were not yet decided on. The main focus in the production models was in the early phases of the project. Perspective and project images were compiled after the idea drafts as well as three-dimensional wooden models that were close to the final form and size. In addition to the product design, the division's tasks included the graphics of products and packages and the images in the user manuals. Negotiations and consultancy regarding colour and surface material solutions as well as quality issues were standard tasks of the division.
Television was the high-tech product of its time that became common very fast. The Finns adapted television to their home furniture, and since the 1970s the television has been a product that has been designed regularly. The television design became important the same way as the design of mobile phones a couple of decades later. At Salora, the designer was an appreciated expert, and designers voice was better heard, when the meaning of design in the competition was realised. The task was no longer to design the plastic surfaces of the receiver or the remote controls. They wanted the designers to take responsibility for the design strategy and to participate in the brainstorming and visualisation of wide entities.
At Salora, design was planning a concrete look for products that would enter the markets in 1-2 yeas from starting the design. This provided some extra challenge for the design work that had to consider the development of technology in the areas of electronic, mechanics and automation. At the same time, the design had to note the aesthetics of the product, the compatibility of forms, colours and ergonomics as well as the marketing points. Considering all these items emphasised the cooperation between various operations, because different views and ideas needed to be coordinated already in the early phases of the design. The designer had to participate in the product design from the beginning, when he or she was the link between the product development and manufacturing.
The Salora design was constructed on the Salora's product policy and the market objective of each product generation. The Salora's goal was to build a sufficiently unique and coherent product image, that had to suit for different types of wide markets and customers.
|1)||The design of functions and construction had to be realised with as clear forms as possible, because the target was the harmony of the product.|
|2)||The design of the look had to endure the short-term fashion phenomena, but at the same time it needed to introduce the mainstream of the time by being modern as long as possible.|
|3)||The finishing and quality had to be invested on in all parts connected to the look, and technically correct, sensible and modern manufacturing materials and methods had to be used.|
|4)||The design had to emphasize the reliability of the product in such manner that the customer would sense the technically high-level, user-friendly and secure product.|
|5)||The design wanted also to develop the uniqueness, but this needed to take place gradually and considerably.|
In 1985 Salora introduced the gigantic square television. Its screen size was the biggest in the European market - 28 inches. Due to the new CRT technology, the screen was rectangular and even, and the area was advertised to be about 10 % larger than in the corresponding CRT with round edges. The screen of the novelty model was told to show everything captured by the television camera and everything you had paid for in the television license. The smooth surface of the screen removed reflections, and the programmes could be watched from a wider angle than before.
Salora's new generation design was also completely renewed. The rectangular and flat screen that did not have round corners, gave the whole television a plain, modern look, and it was considered to respond to the requirements of the market at that moment. Also "the remote control concept" had a new and clearer form. Due to the Salora's patented IPSALO power saving connection, the television gear stayed cool, and this prolonged the life of television remarkably. Thanks to IPSALO, the energy consumption of the Salora televisions was the lowest in the world. In addition, it had the benefits that the number of components could be reduced, and thus minimise the potential faults. Salora's "Täyskuva" television was an innovative new generation television that was produced during the company's top years only a few years before Salora merged with Nokia Mobira.