Have you seen the beautiful boat that is moored at the quay at Devoldfabrikken? Not only is SS Thorolf the Nordic countries’ oldest wooden steamboat, it has a unique history from years of various services in all types of weather.
Modern boat with unique facilities
The well-cared-for SS Thorolf was built in 1911 and was a modern vessel for its era with a steam engine. The boat had a large cabin with bunk beds for 12 people as well as two 2-berth cabins. There were also toilets on board and two washbasins with hot and cold water, which was not common at that time. Meals were prepared in the galley on a propane cooker.
Sale of woollen garments
SS Thorolf delivered Devold's well-known woollen garments from the Swedish coast in the south to Russia in the north to fishermen and others to help keep them warm and protect them from the tough Nordic climate throughout the year. Thorolf was a sales boat, also called an agent boat. The most important export product was the woollen blue shirt from Devold.
The World Wars
As well as being a sales boat, SS Thorolf was given new tasks during both the first and second world wars.
The factory was always in constant need of fuel for production. During World War I the workers took the sea route to the Nordøyane outside of Ålesund to cut peat that they would then transport back to Devold Factory. During World War II there was a great lack of food. Thorolf was then sent into the fjords of Sunnmøre to trade for milk and potatoes, which were then handed out to the employees. On the way into the fjords, the workers also chopped wood that was taken back to Devold Factory.
New life for Torolf
In the late 1960s, SS Thorolf was wrenched away from the quay in a storm and sank. The boat was later salvaged and then sold, but in 1988 a group of enthusiasts got together and established the foundation SS Thorolf’s Friends. They took over the boat and started an extensive restoration resulting in this lovely boat in superb condition, just as it was in its glory days. Go and take a look at SS Thorolf the next time you visit Devold Factory!