World’s largest collection of corporate history

The Centre for Business History is an independent organization working in the area of corporate and industrial history in all forms.

We were founded in 1974 as a non profit association with the assignment of preserving and presenting corporate history.

Currently, our 20 employees oversee the world’s largest archives, images, films and objects from companies and industrial organizations.

Over seven thousand historical companies are represented, a part of them have ceased to exist, but most of them are still in operation via mergers with larger groups. The oldest existing company is Brandkontoret, a fire insurance company founded in 1746, and among the youngest are newly formed companies in the consulting branch.

The collections are comprised of over sixty thousand shelf meters of archives that cover everything from banking and finance, insurance, construction and real estate, industry and shipping to media and entertainment.

Swedish and foreign large scale enterprises dominate among member companies, but there are also small and mid-sized companies in the archives.

The image material is unique and consists of five million photographs dating from the 1870’s until today. The file collection has over 10,000 films, advertising films, industrial documentation and many other moving pictures.

Among the objects are advertising and packaging. A part of the collection, for example Henkel Norden (Barnängen) stretches from the mid 1800’s.

In 2007 Designarkivet (The Design Archive) was inaugurated by the Minister for Culture, with the assignment to document the processes behind designed products. The work is conducted in collaboration with Svensk Form (The Swedish Society of Crafts and Design) and has also resulted in a new web portal on design history on the Internet.

The operation is self-financed and based on membership fees, and that member companies pay for our services (for example storage and different levels of archive services).

Having a history also means that companies often realize and understand the advantage of communicating their background, both to internal and external target groups.

For the last ten years the Centre for Business History has produced various formats to relay a company’s history. Books are naturally important as are exhibitions. But there are also interactive presentations – CD, DVD and the Internet – and other established channels by which we, along with the companies, can reach target groups in schools, research and media.

Another important assignment is to aid in research with material, and identify new topics and materials. The Centre for Business History has a research secretariat that collaborates with both colleges and universities. Every year the secretariat manages a number of preliminary research projects with financing from funds and foundations. Seminars and other public events aim to present the historical background behind concepts like CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), globalization and the development of the modern welfare society.

We welcome visitors and researchers to our offices, as well as groups with general interest and company management desiring to learn more about their company’s history. Our web site reaches a large number of users from schools and research centres, and has outstanding credibility for presenting both text and source material with the ability to use exercises in, for example, source critique.

It is important for us to have a permanent, ongoing dialog with our principals among company management and company owners, but also with other interested parties. Our periodical publication, Företagshistoria, helps us in this capacity. In Företagshistoria we publish articles on industrial history and also cover literature, exhibitions and research within the field. However, it is only published in Swedish.

Among our English language projects are, for example the web site and The AGA Story, a presentation of the company founded by Nobel Prize recipient, Gustaf Dalén. AGA is since 2000 a part of The Linde Group.

For further information on our operations and how we can help to preserve and present your company’s history, contact CEO Alexander Husebye, or Sara Johansson, Editor of the Företagshistoria publication.

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