The Formfinér company was for many years run by Knut Hallvard Roald. The factory was located in the barn of the old family farm, but moved to Oslo in 2001. In 2012 Mr. Roald sold the Formfinér company to Norsk Formblåsing AS, which is the company, that for the latest years, have been Formfinér`s supplier of net needles.
Norsk Formblåsing AS is plastic manufacturing company, located in the town of Notodden in the eastern part of Norway. It was eatablished in 2008, and start production from January 2009.
The history of net needles is most likely as old as the making of fishnets. In old Norse poems from early medieval times, we learn that fishnets were made of women’s hair.
Originally, net needles may have been made of bone, but in more recent times they have been made of wood, preferably hardwood, like birch or oak. Just like weaving, where the technical term would be shuttle rather than needle, there have basically been two shapes: The flat type with a tongue to hold the twine or thread, or the open split type, with a «jaw».
Here is a birch needle from 1881, belonging to the great grandfather of Formfiner’s present owner, Knut Halvard Roald.
Like most adults in the Northwest region of Norway, he had to make his living from a combination of fishing and farming. This needle would be typical for making and repairing cod gillnets, used during the ample cod fisheries in the season starting February 2nd and stopping March 20th every year. (The equivalent Formfiner needle now would be 27 x 200 mm, or 1″ x 8″, i.e., Roald Needle #14).
A/S Formfiner was established in 1945 by Ole Valderhaug and Harald Roald, two young men returning from Great Britain as commando soldiers from the Company Linge, formed to liberate Norway from Hitler’s Festung Europa. The company worked with a number of ideas, such as office furniture made from laminated pasteboard. As fate would have it, the two ex-soldiers established their factory in military barracks build for German coast artillery, and one machine used as a rotating hardening chamber for the laminated furniture was constructed from the gun mounting of a German cannon.
Soon, the possibilities of the new material, plastics, caught their interest, and they experimented with a number of commodities: Bracket lamps, napkin rings, toilet paper holders, drawer handles, pencil holders etc.
But of all the ideas, the production of fishnet needles turned out to be the most successful. These were made of H-profiled PVC plastics. They were cut in suitable lengths and though a time-consuming process, this material was drilled, ground, polished and eventually the tip of the needle was tensed by hot water.
In the 1970s, Formfiner invested in moulds. The needles were then made of ABS plastics, but during the 1990s, we changed to POM plastics, a material that has proven to be very suitable for the purpose.
The Formfiner company was up to2012 run by Knut Halvard Roald. The factory was located in the barn of the old family farm, seen on this photo,but moved to Oslo in 2001. …..ing to the great grandfather of Formfiner’s previos owner, Knut Halvard Roald.
The farmhouse was built in 1847, and the barn in 1860, pretty much like this photo from 1911.
On this farm there can still be found tools from pre industrial fishing, when any farmer also had to be a fisherman. As a matter of fact, he had to be a fisherman first and foremost, while everyday life on land was a matter for the women. The farmhouse was built in 1847, and the barn in 1860, pretty much like this photo from 1911.