Few companies live to see 150. But Atlas Copco has remained relevant since 1873, not least by reshaping the company several times. That’s a heritage that must be kept alive, the company said when it turned 150 and asked us to create a new history book.
Founded in 1873, the company has over the years undergone both name changes – from AB Atlas to Atlas Diesel to Atlas Copco – and also changes in focus – from manufacturing railcars to diesel engines to mining tools to today’s focus on compressors, vacuum technology, industrial technology, and power technology. However, the focus on engineering and technical expertise has been a constant throughout its history, serving as the foundation that has allowed the company to remain relevant through every technological shift.
The history of Atlas Copco has been told in many previous books. As recently as when the company turned 140 years old, we helped the company create a history book.
So now, at 150 years, it primarily wanted a popular history-oriented chronicle, to be told mainly for the employees in the many companies worldwide that together constitute the Atlas Copco Group.
The result was the book “Atlas Copco Group – 150 years of innovation” (Business History Publishing, 2023), which was completed in time for the anniversary celebration last spring. The book, after a brief history of global technological development and Atlas Copco’s contributions to it, mainly focuses on the areas where the company operates today and the many employees who continue to build on the generations that came before them in the company. As CEO Mats Rahmström writes in the foreword, “We wouldn’t be here without the work that all those who came before us did. We stand on the shoulders of giants.”
A part of something greater ..
The book, not available in the open market but only shared with Atlas Copco employees, was itself just a part of Atlas Copco’s 150th-anniversary celebration. How the company used the anniversary year to strengthen its brand and organization was further elaborated by Linda Ekwall, corporate communications manager at Atlas Copco, at this year’s History Marketing Summit.