At the binning of the 20th century, Sven Spånberg took over “Bruket” as managing director and the largest shareholder. He took office in the middle of a general strike with a subsequent lockout in 1909. It would take many years before the relationship between the union and the management thawed and eventually got back on track.
It was found that the iron production at small mills was not profitable, and therefore all operations were shut down and “Övre Bruket” was closed in 1911, and shortly after that the blast furnace at “Nedre Bruket” also followed the same fate. The continued operations was focussed on developing the foundry business and structural activities.
Due to the First World War, there was a shortage of raw materials, price increases and countless restrictions. “Bruket” was able to keep its production going with help of government and military orders. The entire 1920s and 30s were turbulent, with inflation, deflation, price increases, wage cuts and unemployment. Strikes broke out in both 1920 and 1923.
In 1924, two young gentlemen, Balzar von Platen and Carl Munters at KTH in Stockholm, invented an absorption refrigerator for home use. According to Albert Einstein, it was an ingenious invention. They wanted to start production in Ankarsrum but for various reasons it ended up in Motala. “Bruket” on the other hand, had to deliver up to 35,000 furnishings and the inside to the doors in enmelled sheet metal for 1 year. Electrolux bought the entire invention in 1925.
In the early 1930s, there was a generational change at “Bruket”, the sons Jonas och Måns Spånberg took over. There were some good years and the surplus went to additional investments.
World War II came and caused problems. “Bruket” lost revenue but instead added new accounts with the state and the military, for example tent stoves, petrol cans, gengas units, treadmills and grenade launchers. In 1941 unfortunately, Måns passed away quickly and Jonas had to take over the position of CEO. He showed “Bruket” the way through the war, but in 1945 the company was hit by a 5-month strike.
Many remember the big parties, cigars and all during the Jonas period. When it was time for the 300th anniversary, nothing was saved, the money flowed. For several years, the fireworks at Valborg drew spectators in the 10,000s to Ankarsrum, and the festival Valborg celebration is still popular and attracts many spectators.