Our manufacturers - today: Silva

At the end of the 1920s one of Silva’s founders, Gunnar Tillander, started to think about how compasses could be improved. Gunnar wasn’t just a dedicated orienteer, but also a technological innovator and top class inventor. A few years later, alongside his work as an engineer at LM Ericsson, he had during late nights developed the world’s first fluid-filled orienteering compass. This shortened the compass needle’s settling time considerably, thereby enabling quicker navigation through the forest. He contacted the brothers Alvar and Björn Kjellström, who were also dedicated orienteers, and together they founded Silva. The year was 1933, 75 years ago, and ever since then compasses from Silva have been the natural choice for orienteering and outdoor activities.

The company developed rapidly after it was founded and serious internationalisation began in the middle of the 1950s. Björn worked primarily on development in North America, Alvar on the other international markets and Gunnar worked with innovative product development and the expansion of production in Sweden.

Preparation for the transfer of the company’s management to the next generation took place during the 1970s and early 1980s, Gunnar’s son, Hans-Gunnar Tillander, took over the entire business. In association with this the product portfolio and production were changed, and at the end of the 1990s the company included many different business areas with various level of recognition to the Silva brand name.

Hans-Gunnar retired in 2000 and I, his son-in-law, began work on refining the business. Since then, focus has been on producing world class products, in close co-operation with our customers, and developing the Silva brand through innovation and end user support. We want to create products that provide extra value for active people around the world. Ever since Gunnar’s first invention, Silva’s aim has been that its products and the knowledge it conveys will help you gain more enjoyment from your outdoor activities. Today, 75 years on, this doesn’t just apply to compasses but also to headlamps, portable weather stations and, most recently, to products for everyday exercise within Silva’s highly appreciated exercise-4-life™ range. Product users are expected to become more demanding in the future, which means that Silva will continue to focus on developing new products for innovative and uncomplicated use.

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