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In 1852 Haktor Thorsen erected two large warehouses on one of his farms in Sunde and started trading and salting herring. This was the start of an industrial adventure that made Sunde into one of the first industrial communities in Kvinnherad.
Alvøen is one of the oldest industrial places in Norway. As early as the 1620s a gunpowder mill was built here. The place itself was well situated for industrial activity, lying only 100 m from the waterfall, which provided power for the mill, and a good harbour wherefrom the products were shipped. The success of the gun-powder mill varied in the 1600s and 1700s, but what made Alvøen best known was its paper production.
Having passed well over the bridge across to Sotra you pass an industrial plant surrounded by a budding community; the mineral mill of A/S Norwegian Talc. Some of the buildings seem to have been erected in the early part of the 20th century. They are remnants of a grand industrial plant from the former boom time in the country – the economic upswing after WWI.
As early as 1862 Svein L.Røsseland started a country store and lodging house at Ytre Tysse, and later on he became steamship agent and the first post office manager in Samnanger. However, the decisive change came when F.Mathiessen started A/S Samnanger Uldvarfabrik (woollen factory) in 1886.
The industrial settlement Bjørsvik
As early as 1906 the Matre and Haugsdal waterway was bought up by the businessman Blauuw from Bergen; the first “waterfall speculator” in the Matre area. He immediately resold it to Fr. Hiorth, who transferred all the rights to the company Matrefaldene in 1908. Behind A/S Matrefaldene were German interests, Badische Anilin und Sodafabrik, which wanted to start production of saltpetre fertilizer with nitrogen and electricity.
Valestrand became a centre for the tanning industry in Osterøy; one of the old crafts that has developed into a local industry with many places of work. From the 1870s ever more ventures were started. Many of the large sea houses we see today around the bay have been places for tanning and leather enterprises.