Shopping for a woodstove recently, we flipped through the catalog of Norwegian stove maker Jøtul, shivering at the photos of Europe’s bleak, icy north. As we turned the pages, a sense of familiarity washed over us, and it wasn’t just all that ice and snow. Here were stoves named Allagash, Sebago, Portland, Castine, and Katahdin. More than half of the 18 featured stoves and fireplace inserts bore Maine place names.
That’s because all Jøtul wood and gas stoves sold in North America are manufactured in Gorham, where 90 employees build about 20,000 stoves a year. To name each model, employees nominate Maine and Norway place names and then vote on the top three contenders. It’s been about 15 years since a name from Norway won, says regional representative Tim Gerencer. Only three of the Maine-assembled stoves in the current catalog have Norwegian monikers (Lillehammer, Oslo, and Nordic).
So when customers in England, Japan, and Israel — the Gorham plant ships to all three — buy a stove marketed “from the heart of Norway,” they’re actually getting a bit of warmth from Maine.