Hoffmann ring kiln, Góra
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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In the 2nd half of the 19th century, the Hoffmann ring kiln was widely used in the ceramic industry of Greater Poland. Kilns of this type yielded to more economical kilns at the end of the 19th century. The kiln in Góra, equipped with a drying chamber above the kiln, has retained its original shape and layout, dictated by the brick manufacture technology. It is one of the few surviving structures of this type in Greater Poland. Its undisputed historical value — the kiln demonstrates how the industry developed in this region — and its technical and architectural qualities place it among highly valuable historic monuments.

History

The Hoffman ring kiln in Góra was constructed in c. 1870, on the premises of a manor farm owned by the Fischer von Mollard family. The kiln was built using bricks manufactured at their own brick factory. Bricks fired in this kiln were used for the construction of a palace, erected here in the years 1877-1888. Another reason for the construction of the kiln may have been the extension of the manor farm, which took place in the last quarter of the 19th century. In 1926, the entire property, including the brickworks, was owned by Ernst Gotthelf Fischer von Mollard. The kiln was used to fire bricks, drains, roof tiles, and other ceramic products. Initially, the raw material, i.e. clay, was dug manually and then delivered to the kiln on horse-drawn carts. After World War II, the material was transported by diesel-powered trains, using a narrow-gauge railway. Raw bricks were dried before firing; some were placed in designated areas where they could dry naturally and others were placed in a drying chamber above the kiln. Initially, bricks in the drying chamber would be arranged in stacks with spaces between individual bricks, ensuring the necessary flow of air, and after 1967, they were placed on drying racks. The raw material and finished bricks were transported using special manual carts; in the 1960s, they were replaced with elevators. After World War II, the brickworks was nationalised and then handed over to Zakłady Ceramiki Budowlanej [Ceramic Building Material Factory] in Krotoszyn, which was transformed into CERABUD S.A. in the 1990s. The production was discontinued in 1999 for economic reasons (low profitability, labour-intensive manufacturing process etc.).

Description

The brick kiln is located near the southern boundary of Góra, at the present Spółdzielcza Street, in the vicinity of a road to Łobzowiec. The brickworks is the southernmost building of the manor farm complex. To the east of the brickworks, there are remains of brick drying facilities and ponds which formed when water filled former clay pits. North of the kiln, there is a brick forming facility, and to the south, there is a residential and administrative building. The kiln is made of fire-resistant bricks set on brick foundations. The outer walls, inclined towards the centre of the kiln, are reinforced with 24 brick buttresses. The kiln has a circular plan. The working section of the kiln is divided — more visually than functionally — into 12 chambers by means of gates. The working space of the kiln is ring-shaped, with a fire passage running inside. A set of brick drying racks and a railway with two hoisting elevators, used to transport fuel and raw material, were installed above the kiln ceiling. A set of 12 kiln chamber gates are located around the chimney; their purpose is to prevent directly the flow of air from the chambers. The kiln is a cylindrical structure with a slightly sloping roof. Its dominant feature is a central brick chimney having a circular plan. At the ground floor level, the walls between the buttresses are covered with plaster up to a height of 1.5 metres. The buttresses reach the kiln ceiling level. The chamber gate openings are topped with round arches; currently, they are walled up. At the first floor level, there are wooden windows headed by segmental arches. The lintels above the windows and the gates are made of brick.

The first Hoffmann ring kiln was built in 1858. The kiln is named after its inventor, Berliner Friedrich Hoffmann (1818-1900). Julius Albert Gottlieb Licht, an architect from Gdańsk, is credited as the co-inventor of the kiln. The construction of the Hoffmann kiln was significantly modernised over time, e.g. it was flattened and an elongated fire passage was introduced (as seen in the kilns in Kotlina and Witaszyce). The provisions of Prussian construction law resulted in an increased demand for durable ceramic roof covering. The ring kiln was the first kiln which could operate on a continuous basis, i.e. the fire inside the chamber did not need to be extinguished; moreover, there was no need to move the fired brick stacks, as the fire “wandered around”. The kiln is not divided into actual chambers. The individual “chambers” are marked by gates, with sheets of special paper, attached to the walls, providing additional insulation. When a chamber was to be used, the paper sheets that divided it from the other chambers would be burnt and the chamber would be connected to the chimney draught.

The kiln is the property of CERABUD. Currently, it is not used and can only be visited from the outside; the interior is inaccessible.

compiled by Teresa Palacz, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Poznan, 25-09-2014.

Bibliography

  • Czarny E., Gmina Jaraczewo na dawnych pocztówkach, Jaraczewo 2000.
  • Galer J., Cegielnie polowe i rolnicze, Warszawa 1947.
  • Haberko K., Kordek M., Piece i suszarnie przemysłu ceramicznego, Warszawa 1966.

General information

  • Type: utility building
  • Chronology: 1870 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Spółdzielcza , Góra
  • Location: Voivodeship wielkopolskie, district jarociński, commune Jaraczewo - obszar wiejski
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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