Water-powered smithy (hammer forge), Gdańsk
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Water-powered smithy (hammer forge)

Gdańsk

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It is the only preserved water forge in Poland that has remained operational (the second one preserve in Nowa Słupia in the Kielce region is inoperable). It is a valuable example of a production plant for the sixteenth-century tradition and preserved unique devices using the power of the flowing water of the Oliwa Stream.

History

The forge which is also called a “hammer forge” or Mill XIII on the Oliwa Stream was first mentioned in 1597. It was the property of Jan Klinghammer, who later sold it to the Abbot of the Oliwa Cistercians, Dawid Konarski. Over the following centuries, the monastery leased the hammer forge; the forge remained in possession of the Remus family for the longest period of time (1628-1733). In the mid-18th century, the leaseholder paid 140 florins a year and provided iron to the monastery in the amount of 3.5 ship pounds (1 ship pound = 139 kg). Around 1830, the forge was owned by Daniel Mągłowski and the then production amounted to nearly 1,340 ship pounds. The raw material was imported mainly from Königsberg and Sweden. In 1918-1945, the hammer forge together with the nearby Ernsttal manor house was the property of Max Hansen, who built an electric forge next to it; in 1943, the owner carried out complete renovation and modernisation of the old forge. Both plants operated in parallel until 1945. After the war, the electric forge was looted, and the operating water forge was used to manufacture agricultural tools. After 1947, the plan was taken over by the “Żeliwiak” Cooperative and was gradually falling into disrepair. In 1957, ownership of the ruined hammer forge was taken over by the Museum of Technology of the Polish Federation of Engineering Associations in Warsaw. After the renovation and partial reconstruction in 1978, the facility was turned into a museum. The principles of operation and architecture of the forge hardly changed since its inception; only the forging equipment and structural components used in the forge were reinforced or replaced around the mid-19th century, in 1943, and before 1978.

Description

The forge is located on the Oliwa Stream in Dolina Powagi (Ernstthal), near the intersection of Kwietna Street and Bytowska Street; the structure is located in a deep depression on the north-eastern side of the dam holding back the water of the stream.

The forge consists of two wooden buildings situated in parallel on both sides of the stream and connected to the north with a wide covered bridge. The buildings are built on a rectangular floor plan, have one storey, and are covered with tall gable roofs, sloping down to small adjacent annexes. The façades are simple, wooden, covered with vertically positioned weatherboards with battens in the contact points. The roofs are clad with wood shingles. Each building has a separate workshop using the power of the dammed water. After opening the drains, the water from the reservoir flows through two narrow aqueducts and falls on three wheels (two large wheels in the northern part of both buildings and a smaller one in the building on the left) from the top (in 1943, the aqueducts, which were formerly made of oak plants, were replaced with concrete troughs, oak waterwheels were reinforced with steel rails; the foundations were also reinforced). Large wheels (4.0 m in diameter) are mounted on massive oak axles, carrying the pressure on the 250-kilogram hammers rising and falling on the anvil; the smaller wheel (3.1 m in diameter) drives the cutters for cutting sheet metal and rods measuring a maximum of 40 mm in diameter. Both buildings are equipped with furnaces; the right-bank furnace is inflated with the preserved old bellows, and the left-bank furnace is furnished with air by means of an electrical blower. The forge operates in the traditional manner for the needs of visitors, but as a still operational workshop, it is also equipped with modern tools to suit blacksmith’s needs.

Forge, branch of the Museum of Technology and Industry of the Polish Federation of Engineering Associations in Warsaw

Opening times: Monday to Friday, 9.00 a.m. - 4.00 p.m.;

Saturdays and Sundays by prior appointment only.

compiled by Teofila Lebiedź-Gruda, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Gdańsk, 31-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Głuszko T., Stara młotownia na Potoku Oliwskim [w:] 30 dni, nr 2 (40) marzec-kwiecień 2002, s. 39-46
  • Mamuszka F., Oliwa. Okruchy z dziejów, zabytki, Gdańsk 1985, s. 105-106
  • Mamuszka F., Stankiewicz J., Oliwa. Dzieje i zabytki, Gdańsk 1959, s. 89

General information

  • Type: industrial architecture
  • Chronology: koniec XVI w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Bytowska 1A, Gdańsk
  • Location: Voivodeship pomorskie, district Gdańsk, commune Gdańsk
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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