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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.
Today the name “Verftet” is linked to both a district and conglomeration of buildings lying protected by Fredriksberg castle. The original shipyard was founded in the 1780s by Georg Brunchorst and Georg Vedeler. It was called Gerogenes Verft (the shipyards of the Georgs), and here ships were both built and repaired in the years after 1786.
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
Around Mjøsvågen here is still a compact marine use area. Some of the buildings are common boathouses, but most of them also house small enterprises and workshops. This is where the farmers from Øvsthus, Mjøs, Hole and other farms have supplemented their meagre incomes as smiths, brass moulders, clog makers, chest builders and decorative painters.