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Fálkinn - History

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During the interwar years Fálkinn expanded its activities considerably. During the years of 1928 to 1932 it imported and sold cars from Dodge Brothers, and from early on it also sold and repaired sewing machines. In 1925 it imported and sold phonograph records and gramophones for the first time, a line that in the years to come gave Fálkinn the dominant position on the Icelandic market for recorded music. At the instigation of Haraldur Ólafsson, one of the founder’s sons, Fálkinn also became a pioneer in recording Icelandic music.

Magnússon must have imported various machinery parts from early on for his repairing activities, but it was in these years that steps were taken towards an active distribution of ball and roller bearings, transmission and conveyor chains, sprockets, etc., a line which later played a major role in the development of the company. During the Second World War, when imports were severely hampered by unavoidable circumstances, Fálkinn also set up a bicycle factory to meet the demand of the home market.

In 1948 Fálkinn became a private limited company. Prior to that date Fálkinn had been a private company solely owned by Magnússon. That same year a new main building was completed on the premises of Laugavegur 24. In 1955 a separate machinery division was set up within the company at the instigation of Bragi Ólafsson, another of Magnússon’s sons, adding lines like oil seals, geared motors and ventilating fans to the bearing and power transmission products. The resulting expansion meant that the Fálkinn premises at Laugavegur 24 gradually became inadequate. In the years 1968-1970 the whole operation was transferred to a new and spacious building at Suðurlandsbraut 8 in Reykjavík, where the operation has been located since.

Ólafur Magnússon had nine children, who, on their father’s death in 1955, inherited the company. In 1964 three of the brothers, Haraldur, Sigurður and Bragi, acquired the ownership of the whole company, and from that time on lead the company together.

For the most part of its history Fálkinn was active in the three before mentioned main spheres: music, bicycles and machinery. Breadth was one of the company’s hallmarks. In later years, on the other hand, roughly the last three decades, specialization has substituted breadth. In 1986 Fálkinn sold to the heirs of Haraldur two of its divisions that had to do with music and hi-fi equipment, and in the year 2000 the division encompassing bicycles and consumer products was sold from the company. At the same time Fálkinn endeavored to expand its business with machinery parts and related products. In 1993 Fálkinn acquired the inventory and business connections of the electrical division of Jötunn hf., as well as its electrical workshop. This move lead to the establishment of a division of electrical technology within Fálkinn, which presently operates as one of the two main divisions of the company. The oldest bicycle company of Iceland and one of the leading record selling companies in the country during the 20th century thus takes on the 21st century as an advanced and specialized company in the fields of machinery and electrical technological equipment.

Fálkinn is not only one of the very oldest companies in Iceland, but probably by far the oldest active company still in the ownership of the same family. Haraldur retired in 1970, and Bragi and Sigurður died in 1975 and 1976. After the heirs of Haraldur departed from the company with the selling of the musical arm in 1986 it remained in the hands of the heirs of Sigurður and Bragi. From 2002 Fálkinn has been in the ownership of the heirs of Bragi: Páll Bragason, Ólafur Bragason, and Helga Bragadóttir, and their families.

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