The recipe was created by Mr. Jacob Fredrik Ljunglöf (1796 – 1860) as the factory's premium quality and has not been changed since 1822. Common practice was to refer to the premium quality as No. 1., (there was also a No. 2, less premium quality). In the Swedish language, "Ettan" can be translated into an everyday way of saying "the first".
Early development of the company
In 1811, at the age of 14, Jacob Fredrik Ljunglöf started working at a large tobacco factory. In 1821 he took over the same factory, starting to produce snus under his own name. One year later, in 1822 he created the recipe for Ettan. In 1839 Jacob Fredrik Ljunglöf bought the former brewery site on Luntmakargatan 19 in central Stockholm, for the amount of 38,500 Riksdaler Banco and converted it into a snus factory.
In the early 19th century, tobacco was typically fermented at elevated temperatures for up to six months, before becoming snus.
Jacob Ljunglöf had a theory: If the tobacco could be used fresh, it would enhance the flavour. He therefore approached his friend, the world-renowned chemist and scientist, Jacob Berzelius, and asked him for assistance. Together, they invented a new way of producing snus with tobacco, salt water and potash. Rather than taking months to prepare, a batch of snus could now be made in a week. Since then, this has been the predominant method for manufacturing Swedish snus. Realising the value of the new production method, Jacob Fredrik Ljunglöf kept it a secret, writing the formula in a code-format.
The recipe itself is heavily relying on the quality of the ingredients as it consists of only premium tobacco, salt and water.
Knut Ljunglöf, son of Jacob, takes over
When Jacob Fredrik Ljunglöf died in 1860, he was one of Sweden's wealthiest men, as being both the co-inventor of the new production method and the man behind the recipe "Ljunglöf's No. 1", (now Ettan). His son, Knut Ljunglöf (1833 – 1920), then developed the brand and the factory into an even more successful business. Knut Ljunglöf, commonly known as "Snus-kungen", the snus king, was known to test the quality of his products by having a silver bowl of fresh snus placed on his desk every morning. He then put a spoon of the snus under his nose and, with eyes closed, inhaled. This way he detected the moisture level and quality of the tobacco. If approved, the snus could be packed and sold. If not, the entire batch was cancelled.
Knut Ljunglöf's personal life
Knut Ljunglöf was highly successful in developing the company into Europe's largest smokeless tobacco producer. At his death he left one of the greatest fortunes in Sweden; 16 million kronor. Knut Ljunglöf also left a large estate north of Stockholm, commonly known as "the Ljunglöf castle" due to its palace-like exterior.
The fact that the tobacco factories in Sweden were taken over by the Swedish state in 1915, made Knut Ljunglöf a bitter man. In 1920, five years after the monopolization, he died at the age of 87.
Knut Ljunglöf was engaged in the decision that formed the city of Stockholm and during a number of years he was a member of the city council. In his obituary it was written that he was "a good and noble man. Slightly harsh on the outside, he was a warm and compassionate man who cared for the people in need and those who suffered. Without speaking much about it publicly, he was involved in many charities."
- Industrihistoria i Stockholms Län (Stockholm's Industrial History, author: Leif Kalén) http://www2.ablm.se/industri/industri2c.cfm?in_idnr=ind04
- Snuskungen – Ljunglöfs Ettan och det svenska snuset, page 22-23 (© 1999, Tobaksmuseet – The Swedish Tobacco Museum, ISBN 91-630-8538-0
- Snuskungen – Ljunglöfs Ettan och det svenska snuset, page 13 (© 1999, Tobaksmuseet – The Swedish Tobacco Museum, ISBN 91-630-8538-0)