In 1865, mining engineer Fredrik Idestam established a ground wood pulp mill on the banks of the in Tampere, Finland (then a part of the Russian Empire). Three years later, Idestam opened a second mill fifteen kilometers (nine miles) away near the town of Nokia by the Nokianvirta river.
Fast forward three more years, in 1871 Idestam renamed his company to "Nokia Ab" and began selling shares with the help of close friend, professor and politician Leo Mechelin, who eventually became the chairman in 1898 (through 1914) and steered the company toward hydroelectricity generation -- an expansion that Idestam previously opposed but his retirement in 1896 cleared the way.
In 1902, Nokia added electricity generation to its business activities and after nearly going bankrupt post-WWI in the 1910s its electricity business was sold to Finish Rubber Works, which in 1922 also acquired Finnish Rubber Works, a maker of electrical cables, telephones and telegraphs.
Those three companies officially merged as conglomerate named Nokia Corporation in 1967, which had a product list that ranged from bike tires and rubber boots to TVs and a gas mask for the Finnish Army.