Kiilto celebrates anniversary: A century of R&D and innovations

Teknokemiallinen Tehdas O/Y Santalahti was founded in Pispala, Tampere, on 27 October a century ago. The company started out by making cosmetic substances for chemists; paints, polishes, waxes and adhesives for shoe factories; and spirit lacquers and polishes for furniture makers. A century later, it is a big player in the chemical industry and operates in 12 countries.

Today, Kiilto is known as a company with four business areas, employing almost 1,000 people internationally. However, the company’s operations are still firmly rooted in an operating culture whose key components are a comprehensive partnership with the customer, the start-up spirit, enabling staff to have an impact, and environmental leadership.

Towards international markets

Teknokemiallinen Tehdas O/Y Santalahti became Kiilto in 1924 when the then owner, chemist Ville Solja, realised that the long business name was a drawback in marketing. He organised a name competition among staff; the new name was descriptive of one of the products of that time. Kiilto had been born.  

In the 1960s, Kiilto focused on glue production, which remains one of its core business areas. The company expanded into the cleaning sector in the 1980s, when it included cleaning products in its product range. This was when it also began to offer extensive customer training.

The first country in which Kiilto had overseas operations was Sweden, where a subsidiary was founded in 1987. In spring 2019, Kiilto gained employees in Norway and Denmark through a company acquisition, becoming the Nordic countries’ leading supplier of hygiene solutions.

Kiilto has expanded its expertise into new areas in recent years. In 2018, Kiilto acquired a Swedish company providing floor coating services, enhancing Kiilto’s already strong construction business. A year earlier, the industry business was expanded with environmentally friendly flame retardant products.

The strongest bond

In the autumn of 2018, all of Kiilto’s four business areas – construction, industrial bonding and hygiene solutions, professional cleanliness and hygiene, and consumer products – were placed under the joint Kiilto brand, when the brand and logo were changed. The Kiilto Pro product and service brand for professionals was launched as part of this change.

During this revamp, we also wanted to reconsider what it is that makes Kiilto ‘Kiilto’. We identified key elements as follows: close relationships with customers, commitment to the future, and environmental leadership. These three things have paved Kiilto’s way to what it is today, and will continue to do so in the future.


We at Kiilto have been engaged in research since 1919. That means a hundred years of elements, compounds and chemical bonds. Now we can finally announce that we have found it: the strongest bond of all. It’s love. Now and in the future.

Love for work, an uncompromising ambition to aim for the best. Love for the smallest details, nano-sized particles, and a burning passion for the big picture. Love for Finland, its delicately beautiful nature and its people, whose lives we’ve been part of for generations. Love for history, which binds us to the present, which is all there is. And love for the future which lives in us all and makes us stand shoulder to shoulder, ready to face the challenges of the next hundred years.