Amazing Vintage Footage Shows the Legendary Finnish Icebreaker Tarmo Working in Helsinki in the 1920s

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This video shows opening shots from Peter von Bagh’s 2008 documentary “Helsinki, ikuisesti” (“Helsinki Forever”). It shows a crowd admiring (and soon being chased by) the icebreaker Tarmo in Helsinki, Finland. It was apparently filmed in the 1920s.

Tarmo is a Finnish steam-powered icebreaker preserved in the Maritime Museum of Finland in Kotka. Built in 1907 by Sir W.G. Armstrong, Whitworth & Co Ltd in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. The ship was launched on September 9, 1907 and given the name Tarmo, meaning “vigor” and “spirit” in the Finnish language. She was the third state-owned icebreaker of Finland and the last Finnish steam-powered icebreaker to remain in service.

Tarmo has an overall length of 67 meters (220 feet), waterline length of 64 meters (210 feet), and moulded breadth of 14 meters (47 feet). Her displacement is 2,400 tons, and she sailed with a crew of 43.

She was powered by two triple-expansion steam engines manufactured in Wallsend, one driving a propeller in the stern and the other a second propeller in the bow. Tarmo had five coal-fired boilers for the main engines in two boiler rooms and a small auxiliary boiler for heating, deck equipment and electricity generation. Her midship fuel stores could hold 450 tons of coal, which was fed to the fireboxes at a rate of three to four tons per hour by six stokers and was enough for roughly one week of sailing in ice. She could maintain a speed of 13 knots in open water.

When Tarmo was decommissioned in 1970, a decision was made to preserve the vessel as a museum ship. After a long wait in Helsinki, Tarmo was towed to Kotka and completely restored in the early 1990s.

Icebreaker Tarmo at Armstrong Whitworth shipyard, 1907.

Icebreakers Murtaja, Sampo and Tarmo in Hietalahti harbor in Helsinki, 1909.

Finnish icebreaker Tarmo rescue of fishermen.

Finnish state-owned icebreaker Tarmo with another Finnish icebreaker, Jääkarhu, in the background. Unknown date, 1926-1944.

Icebreaker Tarmo in camouflage during World War II. Photo taken in 1939 at Saggö, Saltvik, Åland Islands.

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