Gas plant, currently the Museum of Gas Industry in Warmia and Mazury, Górowo Iławeckie
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Gas plant, currently the Museum of Gas Industry in Warmia and Mazury

Górowo Iławeckie

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A complex of buildings representing the characteristic type of municipal gas plants erected at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries in the Warmia and Mazury region. The historic value of the plant is emphasised by the fact of adaptation of the gas plant as the museum of the gas industry as well as by the continuing use of the original gas production line, the latter fact making the plant in Górowo Iłowieckie unique on a national scale.

History

The gas plant was built in 1908 by a specialist company of Karl Francke from Bremen (Germany). A municipal water tower was erected in the immediate vicinity of the plant in 1910. Initially, the gas plant was managed from Bremen, although it was subsequently taken over by the municipal authorities. The gas supplied by the plant was used both for street lighting (gas lanterns) as well by private consumers. After World War I, the demand for gas dwindled (although the gas plant itself was not destroyed during that time); the construction of the power plant in Górowo (1924) resulted in an even greater fall in demand for gas. In 1920, a special device used for loading coal into the furnace was installed at the facility. In 1928, the roof of the furnace chamber burned down, although it was rebuild in the same year. The plant operated without interruption until 1945. After the end of World War II, the technical fittings of the gas plant were dismantled by the Red Army. In the following years the building was devastated. The plant resumed operations in 1964. The equipment was brought in from gas plants in Sępopol and Braniewo. Production continued until 1992; the gas plant was then closed due to the fact that the city was connected to a network supplying it with natural gas. In 1992 – 1994 a comprehensive restoration was carried out and the former gas plant was adapted as a Museum of the Gas Industry in Warmia and Mazury; the former gas storage tank was adapted to serve as a garage, with doors being cut in the sides of the tank. In 1998 the administration building was sold to a private individual; before the sale, a new building was erected for the gas distribution plant functioning within the complex (1993-1994). The former gas plant, currently serving as a museum, belongs to Polska Spółka Gazownicza (Polish Gas Company), Branch Office in Gdańsk.

Description

The gas plant is located to the north-west from the centre of the town, at the crossroads of the Wyszyńskiego and Przemysłowa streets. Towards the north, the complex borders on a hill upon which the water tower was erected. The historic gas plant complex includes the production building (with fittings), the administration building (currently used as a residential building) and the gas storage tank. The spatial and functional arrangement of the complex has survivied to the present day. The interior layout of the gas production plant has also survived intact. The buildings forming the gas plant complex were designed in the historicist style. The gas production building was designed on a plan the shape of which approximates that of a square. It is a single-storey brick structure with a loft, featuring a complex shape and a number of annexes; the structure is covered with a gable roof clad with metal roof tiles and features a rooftop cupola designed for ventilation. The brick facades of the building are decorated with plastered pilaster strips and blind windows as well as a stepped cornice. The window openings are topped with segmental arches and incorporate steel windows of an industrial type. The surviving interior fittings include two six-retort furnaces with horizontal retorts. In the western part of the building a coal storehouse has survived (currently used for display purposes), while in the southern part (the highest section of the building) lies the furnace room with coke extinguishing tower made of brick and wood. A desulfurization plant and a control room are located in the eastern section, with staff rooms in the northern section. The land around the structure is paved with field stones. The gas storage tank is a telescopic tank which uses water for sealing; it is an octagonal, steel structure made of riveted sheet metal and consists of a cylindrical pool filled with water; as the tank was filled with gas, the subsequent parts of the system – the bell and the telescope – emerged from the water tank. The gas bell was used to secure the tank from above, while the water reservoir providing sealing from below. The moveable telescoping part regulated the capacity of the tank.Gas was obtained from bituminous coal; on average, 28% of the mass of the coal was converted into gas, with the remaining byproducts – tar and coke – accounting for 3.5% and 60% respectively. The whole process of degasification took place in special furnaces in which the coal was heated up to around 1200oC in a dearerated environment (dry distillation). Coal was supplied to furnaces by means of a loading crane; the combustion of coal created by-products such as coke, ammonia and tar. The final product -coal gas – was sent for further processing, and then to a container in which gas was stored (capacity: 700 m3) from where it was distributed to the municipal system. Coke taken out of the furnace was transported outside the building to an extinguishing tower where it was cooled with water, and then sold to local residents as fuel. The technological line for the production of gas is still intact. The displayed devices (e.g. gas containers and gas meters) and fittings were made by various German companies in years 1908-1935 (with the exception of the gas pressure regulator with aspirator and the cleaning box, which were made after 1945). This fact, however, does not change the fact that the entire technological process is still consistent with the state of knowledge and technology at the time when it was originally applied.

Accessible historic building. The building may be visited upon prior telephone appointment. http://www.gdansk.psgaz.pl/onas/jednostki_terenowe/zg_ol/muzeum_gazownictwa/?r,main,docId=17748

Compiled by Maurycy Domino, 8.12.2014.



Bibliography

  • Barszcz M., Kurowska-Ciechańska J., Technika, Warszawa, 2008, p. 34-35.
  • Śrutkowski T., Śladami gazowego płomienia, Olsztyn 1999, p. 19, 26-83
  • Karty ewidencyjne zabytków architektury i budownictwa, Gazownia w Górowie Iławeckim wraz z urządzeniami do produkcji i dystrybucji gazu, oprac. Chodkowska W. (1992); Madziara M.J., Januszewski S., Broniewska A. (1999), archiwum Wojewódzkiego Urzędu Ochrony Zabytków w Olsztynie


General information

  • Type: industrial architecture
  • Chronology: 1908
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Kard. Stefana Wyszyńskiego 20, Górowo Iławeckie
  • Location: Voivodeship warmińsko-mazurskie, district bartoszycki, commune Górowo Iławeckie (gm. miejska)
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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