The remains of the ironworks at Avesta on the River Dalälven include some of the most important late-nineteenth century plant in Europe. A copper-smelting works established in 1638 was closed in 1872 and a new ironworks was then built on the site by the firm known from 1883 as Avesta Jernverks AB. It had three blast furnaces, a forge for making wrought iron, Bessemer and Open Hearth steelmaking plants, and a rolling mill. The works came under the control of the Axel Johnson company in 1910. The three 16.8 m high charcoal-fuelled blast furnaces are preserved in the condition in which they were rebuilt between 1910 and 1916, together with the ropeway system which fed them with raw materials. Two were last used in 1920 and the third last operated for a short time in 1937-38. Other parts of the works continued to operate until 1984, and in 1986 the site was purchased by the city authority, and from the following year was known as ‘Koppardalen’.
It has been re-developed, in part under the Bergslagen initiative which aims to transform historic industrial sites in Sweden’s mining region (i.e. Bergslagen) into centres for cultural activities and sustainable tourism. The project is known as a Verket (which translates as ‘Agency’) and as an Invelsemuseum (‘empathy museum’). Visitors can now explore the blast furnaces and the Siemens-Martin steel plant, whose workings are explained in interactive displays, and at the same time see galleries displaying paintings and sculpture. They can see the plant once used for crushing iron ore, and the cranes that carried molten iron to the steel plant. A sports hall occupies the sheet rolling mill, and a business park has been established on part of the site, which includes a metallurgical research centre operated by Outukumpu, the successor company to Avesta Jernverks AB.