Over a century and a half ago, in 1841, in the port city of Gothenburg in western Sweden, the Hasselblad family established its first trading company, F.W. Hasselblad & Co. The location, Gothenburg, with its proximity to the European continent and its historic trade connections with Britain, Holland, Denmark, Germany, and a host of other countries, was ideal for an international import-export firm. F.W. Hasselblad & Co soon became one of Sweden’s most prosperous commerce houses. They also began importing supplies and products for the newly burgeoning field of photography.
When Arvid Viktor Hasselblad, son of the company’s founder and an avid amateur photographer, established a photographic division within the company he is reported to comment, “I certainly don’t think that we will earn much money on this, but at least it will allow us to take pictures for free.”
Arvid Viktor was soon proved wrong about the area’s potential profitability, and the photographic department became a major part of F.W. Hasselblad & Co. Little could he know where his first tentative steps into camera and film import would eventually lead.