What is known today as Nokia (pronounced[help] /ˈnoʊkiə/, Finnish IPA: [ˈnokiɑ]) was established in 1865 as a wood-pulp mill by Knut Fredrik Idestam on the banks of the Tammerkoski rapids in the town of Tampere, in south-western Finland. The company was later relocated to the town of Nokia by the Nokianvirta river, which had better resources for hydropower production. That's also where the company got its name that it still uses today. The name Nokia originated from the river which flowed through the town. The river itself, Nokianvirta, was named after the old Finnish word originally meaning a dark, furry animal that was locally known as the nokia, or sable, later pine marten.

Finnish Rubber Works established its factories in the beginning of 20th century nearby and began using Nokia as its brand. Shortly after World War I Finnish Rubber Works acquired Nokia Wood Mills as well as Finnish Cable Works, a producer of telephone and telegraph cables. All these three companies were merged into the Nokia Corporation in 1967.

The Nokia Corporation created in the 1967 fusion was involved in many sectors, producing at one time or another paper products, bicycle and car tires, footwear (including Wellington boots), personal computers, communications cables, televisions, electricity generation machinery, capacitors, aluminium, etc.