Nokia has been around long enough that even its name is obscure. The most probable theory is that it comes from Old Finnish nois (pl. nokia), meaning a type of dark-coated marten found in the area to this day, and the animal is thus enshrined on the Nokia coat of arms. In modern Finnish, on the other hand, noki means "soot" and nokia would mean "soots", but using the plural makes little sense in either language.
Nokia was the setting of one of the largest battles in the Club War, a 1596 peasant uprising against Swedish feudal lords. The peasants, armed with clubs (surprise!), took up residence in Nokia Manor and won several skirmishes against the feudal cavalry, but were decisively defeated (surprise again!) by Klaus Fleming on January 1-2, 1597. Thousands of clubmen were slain and their fled leader, Jaakko Ilkka, was captured a few weeks later and executed. The Club War was the last major peasant revolt in Finland, and it permanently consolidated the hold of the nation state. Much later, in the Finnish Civil War (1918), Nokia (along with neighboring Tampere) was a Communist stronghold and saw some combat.
But Nokia had started on its road to world domination in 1865, when Fredrik Idestam established a pulp mill in Nokia and started manufacturing paper. The factory prospered and a town started to develop around it, replacing what had previously been just farmlands. In 1898, Nokia spawned the Finnish Rubber Works, which manufactured galoshes and later also tires. And for a long time this is what Nokia was known for in Finland: in almost every Finnish home you can still find a pair or two of long black rubber boots, emblazoned with exactly the same "NOKIA" logo as found on Nokia's cellphones.
The first step on the road to telecommunications was taken when the Finnish Cable Works were opened in 1912 in Helsinki. Its 1967 merger with the Rubber Works resulted in the creation of the Nokia Group, by then a vast industrial conglomerate for rubber, cable, paper and electronics products. Combining most of these skills, during the 1970s Nokia developed the DX 200 digital telephone switch and the revenue share of the electronics department started to balloon.
The die was cast in May 1992, when newly elected CEO Jorma Ollila decided to concentrate solely on telecommunications. The rubber, paper and consumer electronics operations were spun off into their own companies (all with names of the form "Nokian X"), but the telecoms group retained the name Nokia for itself. The rest is history — but Nokia the company no longer has any offices in Nokia the town.
Local buses connect Nokia center to Tampere center every 10 minutes, bus numbers 70 and 71 with bus company Paunu . Bus connections are quite limited outside the center of Nokia. You can get to Nokia also with train and it takes about 15 minutes from Tampere, but the trains pass only few times in a day.
If you're looking for Nokia the company you're in the wrong place, as none of Nokia's buildings remains in Nokia except one, a mansion which is used mostly for recreational purposes for the company staff. The headquarters were moved to Helsinki, with most other operations in Salo and Tampere.
However, old Nokia factories in the factory island and banks of Nokianvirta close to town center are worth a visit. From the Nokianvirta bridge a view to the factories is what Nokia is all about. Also Nokia church designed by C.L. Engel is quite nice.