Lamppa Manufacturing of Tower is a fourth-generation manufacturer of wood-burning sauna stoves and warm-air furnaces. It manufactures the Kuuma Vapor-Fire (VF) 100, the cleanest burning and most efficient gasification wood furnace ever certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA recently purchased a furnace from Lamppa for testing to develop a new future standard. The company utilized a bank participation loan from Iron Range Resource & Rehabilitation to provide working capital to help bring two new products to market.
The first product, the Kuuma BluFlame Gasification Sauna Stove was brought to market in late 2023. With the practice of sauna (especially wood-burning) taking off across the country, it is essential to burn wood cleanly and safely, especially in large urban environments with robust demand.
“The new model is virtually smokeless, uses less wood and produces more heat. Daryl Lamppa developed it utilizing our patented furnace technology,” said Garrett Lamppa, CEO and fourth-generation sauna stove maker. “It’s like having an EPA wood stove in your sauna that can take the stress of extreme heat and löyly (Finnish word for evaporating hot steam heat rising from the stove). Our company and its employees take great care and pride in developing and manufacturing our products. It’s pretty amazing that right here in our small town of Tower, my dad, Daryl has developed the cleanest burning wood furnaces and sauna stoves we are aware of.”
Lamppa Manufacturing is also in the process of developing a new electric sauna stove, which it plans to bring to market in 2024.
The company was founded nearly 100 years ago in Tower by Richard Lamppa, Garrett’s great-grandfather. In the 1930s, Richard worked as a blacksmith in Embarrass, Minnesota and began making sauna stoves for the Finnish settlers who lived nearby. He based his design on the traditional stoves seen in Finland, crafted the stoves out of 30-gallon oil drums, and modified the blueprints over time. One of his first stoves is currently on display at the factory. His son, Herbert Lamppa helped Richard build the stoves and eventually took over the business with his son, Daryl in the 1970s. They adopted the Kuuma product name in the 80s as it’s the Finnish word for “hot.”
Garrett now leads the company, which has about 18 employees and uses American-made steel and locally sourced materials to manufacture saunas and furnaces sold in Minnesota and across North America.
“Innovation and entrepreneurialism have been at the core of Lamppa Manufacturing for nearly a century,” said Commissioner Ida Rukavina, Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation. “They have a long track record of producing products that are in demand not only in northeastern Minnesota but throughout the Midwest, the United States, and even internationally. The company, its owners and employees are a tremendous asset to our region’s economy and local communities.”