Our History

1920s to 1950s



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The Early Days

Nefab was founded in 1949, but the actual story begins many years earlier, in the Swedish countryside during the 1920s. Carpenter Sigurd Nordgren fulfilled a dream when he built a small carpentry workshop in the village Ovanåker in Hälsingland, Sweden. Sigurd was described as a skillful carpenter but a poor businessman and eventually his oldest sons Sven-Erik and Hans-Elov took over the carpentry in 1946. The younger brothers Carl-Åke, Knut-Allan and Nils-Arne also worked in the carpentry business. The Nordgren brothers manufactured unique toys, kitchen furnishings and functional items such as ironing boards. Soon, the brothers would make a great invention, which would become the start of a business that has been growing ever since that day, some 70 years back!

Humble Beginnings

The Innovative Breadbox

The Nordgren brothers and their brother-in-law, Nisse Nilsson, came up with an innovative breadbox for bakeries. The new box was made of a wooden frame with a masonite bottom and came to replace the traditional cardboard boxes, which used to get crumpled from the heat when bakers placed oven-fresh bread in them. The two oldest brothers, Hans-Elov and Sven-Erik, were running the carpentry business and they received their first break-through order for breadboxes from the baker Kalle Modig in Alfta. The breadboxes turned out to be very functional, and soon more bakers in the neighborhood began to place their orders.

The Beginning of Packaging Solutions


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The Founding of the Modern Nefab

In 1949, Nordgrens Emballagefabrik AB was founded by the brothers Hans-Elov and Sven-Erik, in Runemo, Sweden. This was at a time when many suppliers of consumer goods centralized their warehousing, which increased transports and the demand for different kinds of packaging solutions. Nefab was off to an exciting start!

The production was old-fashioned and funds were low, but under those conditions, creativity flourished, goals were set high and the brothers’ enthusiasm was infectious. Perhaps the company could grow its market from local business to all of Sweden and maybe even neighboring countries like Finland and Norway? Success turned out to be right around the corner!

Production Challenges
Production Challenges

The First Big Order

In 1949 the Nordgren brothers received a large order for 1,000 bread boxes from Kooperativa Förbundet (KF) in Stockholm, Sweden. Amidst all the excitement, the order also caused many headaches, since the production facilities were not yet large enough for such a big volume. This first big order was soon followed by more, and it became clear that Nefab needed larger premises. In 1951, the company relocated parts of its manufacturing to a warehouse in Runemo, 15 kilometers from Ovanåker.