A prototype of modern industrial construction? One that looks like a Gothic church? In this remote valley near Koblenz? The answers lie beyond the spectacular glass façade. This first industrial facility with its supporting cast-iron construction, built in 1828-30 by Carl Ludwig Althans in a 'basilica' style for lack of other models, was once a foundry with the smoke of a blast furnace pouring out of the skylights in the high-vaulted "central nave". Touchpoint monitors and acoustic simulations illustrate in detail the meticulously coordinated work operations: the charging of the blast furnace, the drying of the casting moulds in the drying rooms and, of course, the eight swivelling jib cranes on the circular columns that hoisted the castings into the "side naves" for further processing. All this machinery relied solely on water power and thus produced an extensive range of products that included not only gun barrels but also high-quality art castings. Examples are on display in the neighbouring arcade building. Information about the history of regional iron production and the people who shaped it can be found in the Krupp'sche Halle, which is also adjacent.
"A smeltery that has cast itself a house of iron," writes the poet Karl Simrock in 1840 about the rapidly expanding industrial site. In fact, the cast-iron components of the foundry are all manufactured in-house: the six-and-a-half-metre high hollow columns with their Doric capitals as well as the longitudinal and transverse trusses, cantilevered without rivets or screws and spanning an area of 24 by 29 metres. As early as 1769, the Elector of Trier, Clemens Wenzeslaus, ordered the construction of the first ironworks in the Sayn valley. Power is provided by the Sayn and Brex creeks, while lush woodland encourages the processing of the rich iron ore deposits. In 1815 the Prussians take over and turn the site into one of the most advanced Prussian iron foundries. This is largely due to the mining official Carl Ludwig Althans. According to his plans, an ultramodern foundry is built between 1828 and 1830 that sets standards in many respects. Given the lack of industrial models for a fireproof facility of this scale, Althans takes his inspiration from churches and possibly also from the world's first iron bridge in the Severn Valley in England. The result is an early example of the light, wide-span cast iron supporting structures later produced here, which are then increasingly used in the construction of bridges, railway stations and industrial plants. In addition, a high-quality art casting production is established here, meeting a wide range of requirements, from spiral staircases to delicate jewellery. In 1865, the Krupp company acquires the "Eisenhüttenwerk zu Sayn" (ironworks in Sayn), but shuts down the blast furnace as early as 1878 and abandons the complete site in 1926. The "Krupp'sche Halle" machine factory, which today serves as a visitor centre and also houses exhibitions, is a reminder of this era. The rescue of the dilapidated casting hall since the 1970s is mainly due to private initiative, the symbol of which is the highly committed Sayn Iron Works Association of Friends.
|Recommended duration of visit:
|Duration of a guided tour:
|Access for persons with disabilities:
|For details see website
|Infrastructure for children:
|Gift and book shop on site:
March to October:
Saturday, Sunday 10am-6pm