1920’S TO 1950’S


Nefab was founded in 1949, but the actual story begins many years earlier in the Swedish countryside during the 1920’s.

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. The Nordgren brothers manufactured unique toys, kitchen furnishings and functional items such as ironing boards.
And soon the brothers were going to make a great invention, which became the start of a business that has been growing ever since that day, some 70 years back!

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 ovenfresh bread in them. The two oldest brothers Hans-Elov and Sven-Erik were running the carpentry 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 started to place their orders.

The start of packaging solutions

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

Powered by enthusiasm

The production was old-fashioned, and finances were bad, but the creativity flourished, the 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!

Big order and production challenges

In 1949 the Nordgren brothers received a large order for one thousand bread boxes from Kooperativa Förbundet (KF) in Stockholm, Sweden. In all the excitement, the order also caused some headache, since the production facilities were not large enough for such a big volume. The first big order was soon followed by more orders and Nefab needed larger premises. Therefore, in 1951 the company relocated parts of its manufacturing to a warehouse in Runemo, 15 kilometers from Ovanåker.