Paper Devil

The life and business affairs of G. A. Serlachius

Serlachius Museum Gustaf 11.5.2013—19.11.2023

The permanent exhibition Paper Devil at the Gustaf Museum tells the story of the petulant paper mill owner in a completely new way. Paper Devil offers an intensely dramatized and visual experience. The phases of the mill owner’s life takes the spectators from one scene to the next and from one atmosphere to another. Serlachius himself, his family, enemies and friends each have their say.

Gustaf Adolf Serlachius, who established a paper mill in Mänttä, was one of the pioneers of paper industry in Finland. He made path for Finnish forest industry’s later success. At the same time the determined mill owner literally made a path from Mänttä to world market for his products. Establishing a paper mill and initializing the production in Mänttä created great problems for Serlachius. He had a constant money shortage. Moreover, transportation of groundwood pulp from behind a long distance of poor traffic connections caused insurmountable troubles.

The persistent Serlachius, however, succeeded in saving his company that had been on the brink of bankcrupcy. With the same iron will he persuaded even a railway line from Tampere to Ostrobothnia to take its route near Mänttä so that he could transport his products better to the market. The fight for his company, money troubles and mocking of enemies consumed the health of Serlachius and molded his character. Even his own family did not understand his wish to search for constant troubles. More understanding he received from inhabitants of Mänttä, for whom the success of the paper combine guaranteed work and livelihood.

The exhibition Paper Devil is based on the biography of the mill founder Serlachius written by PhD Teemu Keskisarja. Pauli Sivonen and Sami Parkkinen have made the scenography of the exhibition. Tarja Väätänen has created the visual design.