Metal-working and mechanical engineering in the Swedish city of Eskiltuna already had a lengthy history when, in 1832, Johan Theofren Munktell (1805-87) established the Eskiltuna Mekaniska Verkstad Aktiebolag (Eskiltuna mechanical workshops company) which is the oldest of the companies that are now constitutents of the construction equipment division of Volvo. Johan Munktell visited England to study foundry practice and after his return moved his workshop to a new site, which is still occupied by Volvo. The Munktell company initially made coin presses and printing presses, but in 1853 began to building steam railway locomotives, the first of which was Frykstadloket, the second loco in Sweden. The company built 31 steam locomotives between 1853 and 1893. In 1900, when it produced its first road roller, it began to specialise in construction equipment, and in 1913 completed Sweden’s first tractor, continuing to make tractors until 1984.
Another constituent company was founded in Stockhilm in 1844 by Jean (Johan) Bolinder (1813-99) and his brother, Carl Gerhard Bolinder (1818-94). It was known initially as the Kungholmens Gjuteri & Maskin Verkstad and in the 1870s became J & C G Bolinder Mekaniska Verkstads AB. Like Johan Munktell, both the brothers gained experience working in England before their company started to grow. Bolinders made frames for saw milling and steam engines, and in 1893 assembled what is acknowledged to be the first Swedish internal combustion engine. Subsequent Bolinder engines were widely used on canal and river boats. Munktell and Bolinder merged as a company usually known as BM in 1932.
The Volvo company was founded in Göteborg in 1827 by Assar Gabrielsson (1891-1962) and Gustaf Larson (1887-1968). As it diversified from manufacturing cars into other aspects of engineering it took over BM in 1950, and has since been responsible for many innovations in constructional vehicles and machinery.
The exhibits in the museum at Eskiltuna are all in working order and can be demonstrated when necessary. They include historic nineteenth-century vehicles made by Munktell and other constituent companies of the Volvo group, as well as examples of current technology.