Only a few meters from where bathers and water sport aficionados enjoy the Rhine in fine weather stands Klostergut Paradies, with its unique Iron Library. The core of this special library, set in the idyllic surroundings a former convent, is literature on the history of iron and steel. The industrial corporation Georg Fischer Ltd, or GF, which was established in 1802 and is headquartered in nearby Schaffhausen, created a foundation for the library in 1948.
Ernst Müller, who was a GF manager at the time, initiated the Iron Library. He asked employees at all sites of the international corporation to acquire books for the library. The Iron Library now has holdings of over 40,000 books and some 800 periodicals. GF had purchased the former Paradies convent in 1918. Founded by the Clarissan order in 1253, it was deconsecrated in 1836. The library was opened in the west wing of the former convent in 1952, to mark the 150th anniversary of the GF Corporation.
In accordance with the library's name, mining, production and processing of metals were the original focus of the library's collection. The Iron Library is one of the largest special libraries in this field. In the meantime, the focus has broadened to include the history of technology and related subjects such as industrial culture. As the GF Corporation develops, so the library expands into new areas such as plastic technology.
The historic rooms radiate the special charm of the early 1950s. The Library owns a number of rare and precious books, including a manuscript with texts by Aristotle and Albertus Magnus from the 13th century, various editions of Georg Agricola's "De re metallica" (1556 ff), and Gustave Eiffel's monumental documentation of the famous tower in Paris named after him (1900). Guided tours can be arranged by prior appointment.The Iron Library organises the Conference on the History of Technology, held annually, and publishes a periodical "Ferrum".
The Iron Library is a reference library open to the public, a reading room is available for visitors. All the library's holdings can be found and searched in an online catalogue.