The red bricks of the 100 year old briquette factory can already be seen from a distance. Today, it is at the heart of the Museum Energy Factory Knappenrode und at the same time its most fascinating exhibit. The time of the shout down in 1993 seems to have been uniquely preserved. Hammer mills, disk dryers and presses are witnesses of a by passed era when the factory still determined everyday life of the inhabitants. Entering via the staircase tower you can experience those times and get an impression of the working conditions as well. Three times a day, the old shift siren calls for work and the factory acoustically comes to life. The formerly quiet halls ring with sound and commotion as if work never came to a halt here.
In Saxony’s greatest exhibition of oven and fireplaces „Heiß geliebt“ (“Dearly beloved”), one can see what the briquettes were used for. It shows 120 historical ovens and stoves from seven countries. They tell the history living, working and heating in by gone times.
The exhibition „Als Knappenrode noch Werminghoff hieß“ („When Knappenrode was Werminghoff“) allows you to build your own factory and learn about the beginnings of the factory, the village as well as the first open pit mine. Without the coal there would have been no factory and without the factory the village Knappenrode would have never come into existence.
Other factory buildings display old colliery fire-engines, a historical metalwork shop, amber, agates and more – glittering treasures which have been found by chance during brown coal mining operations. The old goods station is a palpable legacy of railway history and the pithead tower, complete with show galleries, demonstrates the draining technology used in brown-coal mining. Last but not least, a pyramid out of boulders as well as a labyrinth with a tunnel slide provide fun for everyone.
Marshland, heathland, pine forests: that was the Lusatia in 1850. The arrival of brown coal mining changed all that completely – plants began to spread all over the plain. One of the state-of-the-art plants was set up in 1914 near Hoyerswerda by the "Eintracht AG", managed by an industrial magnate named Joseph Werminghoff. Production began in October 1918, and two other plants followed a few years later.
With the plant people came in search for jobs from Czech, Polish and German coal mining regions. So the Eintracht AG had to care for them – the housing estate Werminghoff was erected right next to the factory gates. Workers had access to a store, a guest house, a community centre and a railway station. The company determined the content and rhythm of life. Even the graves into which the workers were lowered at the end of their lives belonged to the factory.
After the Second World War the technical equipment and the machines fell victim to Russian demands for reparations. The factory was completely dismounted. That said the first briquette presses were back in operation by May 1948. The plant was now called “Glückauf” and the growing housing estate next door was later renamed “Knappenrode”.
In 1965 the plant turned out more than one and a half million tons of briquettes, a new annual record. But the management failed to implement the necessary modernisation measures, the plant began to age visibly and permanent bottlenecks in the supply of spare parts turned the factory into a museum during its own lifetime. Nowadays, it’s considered lucky.
When the last shift ended in 1993 the workers not only left behind the smell of freshly pressed briquettes but also – and this is unique in the whole Europe – an almost uninterrupted succession of briquette-making techniques. Now the carefully reconstructed group of factory buildings is an imposing, multifaceted industrial Museum.
|Recommended duration of visit:||2-3 Hours|
|Duration of a guided Tour:||60 Minutes|
|Access for persons with disabilities:||For details see website|
|Infrastructure for Children:|
|Visitor centre on site:||yes|
|Gift and book shop on Site:||yes|
the site is closed for renovation until summer 2020