National Geographic : 1968 May
With wary respect, artisans shape red-hot glass at the Notsjoe Glass factory in Urjala. As the man below steadies a semimolten vase, a sec ond glass blower enfolds it in a lay er of a different hue. After further working and a final polishing to produce a multicolor effect, the vase will join a profusion of artis tic wares from Finland's famed glassworks. Molten puddles of slag glow out side the Outokumpu copper smelt er at Harjavalta. The earth molds assure slow cooling, allowing cop per sulfide particles remaining in the slag to coalesce. Next step: retreatment for a further recovery of copper before dumping the slag. This plant near the west coast processes copper concentrate brought by train from the rich Outokumpu Mine, Finland's larg est. Finns energetically exploit their underground wealth in cop per, iron, and zinc to feed the me tals industry, the nation's most important after forest products. Serlachius Oy turns its share of the vast har vest into specialized types of paper: grease proof wrapper; paperboard; various tissues; high-grade vegetable parchment; and Inter national Business Machines punch cards. Afterward, during lunch with Erik and Mrs. Serlachius, the subject of Paavo Nurmi arose. It developed that Erik had been a young student at the Sorbonne in Paris in 1924, and was asked to take on the job of interpreter for the Finnish Olympic team. "They were an independent bunch," he re called, smiling. "The Olympic officials had quartered us about 18 miles outside Paris, and of course the whole team wanted to see the sights. One evening we lost one of our members in the city, and had to leave without him. He had no money, and he didn't speak a word of French. But he had a map, so he did what he thought any normal Finn would do under the circumstances-he ran the 18 miles back to camp." 618 Nurmi, of course, stunned the world with his performance in the games, winning gold medals in four running events: the 1,500 meter race; the 5,000-meter; the 10,000-meter cross-country; and the 3,000-meter team effort. "I remember the excitement as he finished the 1,500-meter race," Erik said. "He had outdistanced the field, and he kept looking over his shoulder to see how far behind the others were. Finally, he seemed satisfied, because he walked the last 50 meters." Contemporary newspaper accounts differ with Erik on the point of Nurmi's actually walking, but all agree that he slowed down at the finish line. In either case, I thought it sounded faintly like exhibitionism. "Not at all," Erik corrected me. "Nurmi was only saving his strength. You see, he was scheduled to run the 5,000-meter race soon afterward. Some of the men from the first race were still resting on the grass when he took off on the next one, and won that, too."