Lövö Dish Stamp

The objects collections of the Serlachius Museums include a cast-iron stamp that was found on mill owner Gösta Serlachius’ island farm in Lövö, Southwest Finland. The stamp bears the monogram of Gösta Serlachius and the text ‘Lövö Gård Hitis’. It has been used for marking wooden dishes used to serve fish. 

His visit to meet friends on the Tammisaari archipelago in 1937 reminded Gösta Serlachius of his childhood, spent on the coast of Pietarsaari. That inspired him to start planning the purchase of a small island. Through a newspaper advertisement for a farm in Hiittinen, he found such a spot, with ample fishing waters. The purchase agreement for Lövö was signed in September 1938.

It was there that Gösta Serlachius, with his typical enthusiasm, undertook renovation work, farming, gardening, hunting, and fishing. On account of Lövö’s marine location, fishing played an important role in the farm’s production. Perch and pike were sold live; Baltic herring, whitefish, salmon, and cod were salted; and small fish were used to prepare Lövö fish broth, for which the label was printed at the Mänttä printing house. In addition, cod was used in the preparation of cod liver oil, and the heads were used to feed the hens.

For the fish, dishes made from spruce were obtained from J.A. Salmi’s dish factory, in Merikarvia, and from Kolho Oy, in Vilppula. The oval emblem of the Lövö farm was stamped on these dishes by burning with a stamp iron. The stamp iron in the Serlachius Museums collection is an object approximately 60 cm in length, with a cast-iron handle and stamping section. The oval stamp portion measures 12 by 7.5 cm. This utility article was manufactured at the Helsingin Leimasintehdas stamp factory in 1939. It had been designed by E. R. Achrén G. A. at Serlachius Oy’s construction department in Mänttä.

Gösta Serlachius hoped that the families of his children could use the Lövö farm as a shared haven for rest and leisure. The mining counsellor himself enjoyed spending time there and was welcoming to his friends. As the guestbook indicates, he could indeed cook excellent food. In summer 1939, Gösta Serlachius wrote that his experiments with smoking fish were so successful that the smoked fish could be deemed to be a commercial success in Finland, as well.

Gösta Serlachius spent his last healthy days in Lövö, before falling terminally ill in October 1942. He was transported from the island to a hospital in Helsinki, where he passed away on 18 October 1942.

Milla Sinivuori-Hakanen

Lövö Dish Stamp, 1939. Serlachius Museums' collections.
Lövö Dish Stamp, 1939. Serlachius Museums’ collections.