Department of Mechanical Engineering

Eerikinkatu laboratories


After the completion of the Albertinkatu electrical laboratory, HUT began planning and building laboratories for mechanical engineering. Construction began as early as 1930. The mechanical engineering building would include a thermal power laboratory, a hydropower laboratory and laboratories for textile technology, paper technology and wood technology.

Most of the building was completed during 1931 and commissioned the following year. A lack of funds delayed the furnishing of several laboratories with proper equipment, but, for example, the hydropower laboratory was quickly built up to its intended level with donations from domestic industry.

The thermal power laboratory comprised a steam generator department, a steam engine department with steam turbines and piston steam engines, and an internal combustion engine department. An automobile laboratory and repair shop were also located in the same facilities.

In addition to a single-cylinder diesel engine, the internal combustion engine department housed a carbon monoxide gas engine and was equipped for running various automobile engines. Research in the laboratory during the 1930s focused, in particular, on fuel experiments conducted under the leadership of Harald Kyrklund, focused on the use of carbon monoxide in different engine designs.

The hydropower laboratory included low-, medium- and high-pressure departments, a model testing department and a department for the study of the cavitation phenomenon. The laboratory's arrangement was the result of prevailing water conditions in Finland, which usually provided very low fall heights. The equipment was mainly of domestic manufacture.

The majority of the hydropower laboratory's equipment was donated by heavy industry manufacturer Tammerfors Linne- & Jern-Manufaktur Aktie-Bolag (the name was later translated into Finnish and shortened to Tampella), which had built a small hydropower laboratory in the early 1900s but had to resort to cooperation with Swedish turbine manufacturers afterward due to a lack of suitable funding available in Finland. The hydropower laboratory was an example of interaction between the Helsinki University of Technology and industry in the early 20th century.

In the third section of the machine laboratory building, a textile industry laboratory was placed and equipped with machinery mostly donated by the English company Dobson & Barlow. The paper technology laboratory occupied the third and fourth floors. The machines in this laboratory were mainly produced by Tampella and Gottfr. Strömberg. In addition to sample examination facilities, the laboratory included wood-grinding equipment and a cellulose drying machine. Space had been reserved for a test paper machine, but the machine itself could not be purchased for the laboratory.

On the top floor of the building was a wood technology laboratory that was not part of the original construction programme. However, a decision was made to build the laboratory after the professorship in wood technology was filled. The laboratory was of considerable importance, especially for the domestic aircraft industry.

The 1930s laboratory programme had also included a construction laboratory, but its completion was delayed severely. In 1939, the HUT teaching staff drafted a proposal for the construction of several new research laboratories in the old military hospital block between Lönnrotinkatu and Kalevankatu. Only one of the planned laboratory buildings was completed: the Abrahaminkatu facilities of the State Technical Research Institute VTT, founded in 1942. The old buildings of the military hospital block housed some of HUT's research laboratories and, after the war, the university's library.


Kaataja, Sampsa. Tekniikkaa yliopistosta teollisuuteen. Karl Axel Ahlfors (1874–1961) vesiturbiinien kehittäjänä 1900-luvun alkupuolella. Tekniikan Waiheita 3–4/2015.

Suomen Teknillinen Korkeakoulu, Laboratorioita. Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seuran kirjapaino Oy, Helsinki 1934.

History of mechanical engineering in Finland

Department of Mechanical Engineering
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