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History of Hults Bruk Axes | Duluth Pack

History of Hults Bruk Axes

Woodburning fires were a primary heat source for homes and buildings for centuries. The need for a sturdy log-splitting axe was paramount during these times. In the 1920s, most people swapped out these old fashion heat sources for gas-burning furnaces. Though our wood chopping needs may have changed, it does not mean our axes' quality needs to downgrade. Buying a top-notch axe is extremely important for the outdoors person. A great axe ensures a cleaner cut and a longer-lasting blade. It is essential to always pack an excellent axe for any wilderness adventure.

With plenty of brands and products to choose from, it can be hard to pick the best axe for your needs. Hults Bruk is a manufacturer truly at the top of the axe game; they have been building top-tier products since the late 1600s. With such an extensive history, Hults Bruk stands out compared to the rest of the competition. 

Dutchman Jacob Reenstierna founded the company in 1697. Reenstierna started the Hults Iron and Steel Factory, which began production in 1709. He also started a separate Brass Mill in Norrkoping at this time. Exporting to mainly Europe, the company was centered on making steel nails. Their trade became very popular as the need for strong nails grew. They supplied the Swedish Royal Navy with bolts and nails for their vessels. The company’s reputation was built on their product’s unsurpassed quality.

The factory did not start making hammers until 1732, when the company was sold to Brigitta Wallrave. Under new leadership, they expanded on their steel items and began crafting axes, spades, and other types of nails. During this time, the letter “H” was stamped on these steel products. Upon Wallrave’s death, her daughter would continue the female leadership of the company until 1752.

When Magnus Lorentz Ekelund took over in 1818, the factory had expanded to various buildings to support the growing business. With this, the name Hults was added to make their well-known name today, Hults Bruk. "Hults being the valley and Bruk being the factory town that beings to take shape at the forge.”  As the company grew, so did its menu of products. They started crafting steel “frying pans, pots, boilers, bells, and garden tables.”

As the years continued, a new need for steel chains and anchors was met by the company in 1821. By the 1860s, these become some of the most in-demand steel products produced by Hults Bruk.

Magnus Ekelund’s grandson, Gunnar, later became the new head of the company in 1886. He was well-traveled and understood that the company needed to evolve with the ever-changing market. It was decided that they would start to focus solely on manufacturing axes.

With the popularization of electricity, the factory switched out its old power source of running water for electricity in 1916 and 1917. Gunnar Ekelund also "founded Bruk AB and incorporates, and 100 percent of the shares remain in the family."

In 1930, the new electrically powered factory began using electric ovens to speed up and maximize production. Though the process was quicker, Hults Bruk decided to stick with hand-forging because it ensured the best quality. However, finding forgers becomes challenging as the town's younger people start to move away during the 1960s and ‘70s. Despite this challenge, Hults Bruk pushed on with the traditional handcrafted way of axe making.

In 1992, “Hults Bruk was acquired by Hultafors AB, who continues to operate the company today.” Even under new leadership, the company still makes some of its original axes. These tools are always popular, and in 2015, they started selling an exclusive line of axes to the U.S.

Like the Hults Bruk Gran Splitting Axe, these beautifully crafted axes have long been a customer favorite here at Duluth Pack. Like Hults Bruk, we too value quality, longevity, and craftsmanship in all of our premium products. With values like these, our products will hold up and get the job done.

Make sure you have a sturdy pack to go along with your new axe. The Rambler Pack is excellent for any hiking adventure. Built from rugged canvas and premium leather, this pack is built to last. If you find yourself on a canoe trip, we recommend using our famous #3 Original. As the name suggests, this is one of our original packs, and it has been tested on countless adventures. Our last suggestion is our Axe Holder. The ideal complementary item to any Hults Bruk axe you purchase.


Happy adventuring, friends!

PC: Carl Pawlowski