Brown Coal Processing Museum in the „Herrmannschacht“ Briquette Factory

This factory was already a technical museum before it ceased operations, because briquetting presses and plate dryers from the 1883-1895 series were running here till 1959. A single 12 horsepower steam engine was responsible for driving the transmission: it was later replaced by an electric motor. By contrast, all the remaining equipment is still in its original condition. This means that the Herrmannschacht briquette factory is the oldest remaining first-generation briquette factory in the world. Furthermore the industrial monument is generally acknowledged to be the last evidence of brown coal processing in central Germany.


A man named Richard Herrmann, then the manager of a sugar factory in Zeitz, laid the foundations for the briquette factory towards the end of the 19th century. He was looking for cheap fuel and decided to buy up coalfields in the surrounding area. In 1866 he sunk a shaft called "Neue Sorge" and at first processed the brown coal in a wet pressing factory, before building the briquette factory in 1889. The final shift at the factory ended 70 years later, on 31st December 1959. By 1961 the site had already been listed on the grounds of its extraordinarily fine condition. With the exception of the boiler house, of which only a section is still standing, all the key buildings involved in briquette production have remained in their basic condition.


Visitors can experience the industrial monument from three completely different perspectives. They start by following a nature trail through the brown coal forest. Here there are plant species which already existed in related forms many millions of years ago. These gave the landscape its characteristic moors, beneath which the brown coal evolved. A tour of the factory with its original machines provides guests with a clear idea of the individual stages of briquette production. The only kiln museum in central Germany shows how briquettes were used in private households. The visit is rounded off by a mini garden railway featuring models from the industrial history of the Zeitz-Weißenfelser brown coal region.

Brown Coal Processing Museum in the „Herrmannschacht“ Briquette Factory
Mitteldeutscher Umwelt- und Technikpark
Naumburger Straße 99
06712 Zeitz
+49 (0) 3441 - 228655

Recommended duration of visit: 2 Hours
Admission: Charge
Access for persons with disabilities: None
Infrastructure for Children:

April to October:
Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, public holiday 
guided tours at 10am, 12am, 2pm, 4pm

  • Guided tours only
  • Guided tours for children