Ohrdruf is a small town in Thuringia about 30 km. south-west of Erfurt where ironworking was an important part of the economy for five centuries. A forge powered by the waters of the River Ohra was established there in 1482. In 1592 the works was purchased by Tobias Albrecht, and it was subsequently called the Tobiashammer. The Albrecht family continued to own it until 1816. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the principal products were scythes, sickles, ploughshares and weapons, made from wrought iron and in some cases having steel edges. Later copper-working was introduced, and products made from sheet copper included pots, jugs, wash tubs and tuns for brewing beer. In the mid-nineteenth century the works was expanded with a rolling mill for iron plate, and a second hammer shop.
The forge was declared a technical monument in 1983. Visitors can now see five large tilt hammers, the nineteenth century rolling mill, and various machine tools, all worked by four waterwheels. There are demonstrations of iron-working with water-powered hammers. The museum hosts an annual forging symposium which attracts many artist blacksmiths, whose works are displayed in a nearby sculpture park. Since 1988 the museum has also displayed a very large steam engine, a twin tandem engine generating 12,000 h.p. which was installed in 1920 at the Maxhütte Unterwellenborn, also in Thuringia.