Trollhattan’s industrial history has been shaped by its abundant water-power. Six cataracts with a total fall of 33 m extend over a distance of 1450 m. The falls have been used to power many industrial processes, particularly saw-milling and the generation of electric power. The most significant of several hydro-electric power station was the red granite Olidestationem, opened in the second decade of the twentieth century, with 13 Francis turbines.
The principal concentration of factories was around the locks flight of locks parallel to the falls on the Trollehatte Canal, opened from Goteborg to Lake Vanern in 1800, which is the most western section of the Gotha Canal system that crosses Sweden to Stockholm. New generations of locks were built in 1844 and 1916, and the latter still carries some wood pulp and chemicals.
There are three museums in the area. The canal museum in a warehouse of 1893 by the upper locks illustrates the history of the waterway with more than 50 models. The manufacture of Saab (i.e. Svenska Aeroplan AB) cars began at Trollhattan in 1937, and a large collection of the company’s products is displayed in its museum. The interactive science centre and museum called Innovatum is located nearby in the former engineering shops of the Nohab company, which made railway locomotives, diesel engines and turbo-generators provides a broad picture of the city’s industrial past.