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Blast furnace plant complex - Zabytek.pl

Blast furnace plant complex

industrial architecture Starachowice

Starachowice, Wielkopiecowa 1

woj. świętokrzyskie, pow. starachowicki, gm. Starachowice

A fully preserved spatial system of the historical industrial complex with visible gradual stages of transformation resulting from the upgrade of technology; largely preserved blast furnace hardware along with auxiliary devices - an example of the traditions and industrial skills of the outgoing generations


A forging settlement existed in the area already in the mid-15th century when this land was owned by the Cistercians of Wąchock. A local hammery is mentioned in the 16th- and 17th-century sources as a supplier of armaments for King Stefan Batory. In the years 1778-1779, Abbot Aleksander Rudkiewicz launched a Poland-first modern blast furnace. At the turn of the 18th century, there were major ownership changes in the area: lease, followed by the government sequestration and the final seizure by the occupant during the Partitions. Any new investment in the facility began no earlier than in 1816 at the initiative of the Chief Mining Directorate of the Congress Kingdom of Poland. The investment was based mainly on Stanisław Staszic’s plan of the development of the mining and ore smelting industry in the area of ​​Kielce and the establishment of “a series of ironworks along the Kamienna River”. The plant in Starachowice was intended as the hub for the entire “industrial complex”. It was designed for the production of pig iron, castings and semi-finished forged goods. The plants situated higher above the river produced pig iron and the lower ones finished and semi-finished goods. Soon, Starachowice became the location of a modern rolling mill (1822) and metallurgical plants; the blast furnace was modernized (1823) and a sawmill and brickyard were built. The complex was a significant part of the industry sector in the Russia-occupied Poland managed by Ksawery Drucki-Lubecki after 1824 (after Staszic). But only in the 1836-1843, as a result of the investment by the Bank of Poland, the Starachowice plant developed to reach the current shape. A new blast furnace plant was erected (to the north-east of the former one); hydraulic works followed (increased damming capacity, new factory supply canals) and gradually new buildings were added - ore roasting ovens, water hoist tower, foundry, coal storage, auxiliary and administrative buildings, warehouses, worker lodgings; and equipment: bellows, heaters, blowers, hoists (made in Białogon). The designers were probably Fryderyk Lempe or Stanisław Wysocki, with the technological assistance of Philippe Girard and taking into account the latest know-how related to charcoal furnaces. In the 2nd half of the 18th century, the Starachowice plant was on the verge of bankruptcy. In 1870, after prior division of the property, it was sold to Baron Antoni Fraenkel who began the modernization of the plant after setting up a joint stock company named the Mining Society of the Starachowice Plant. By the end of the 19th century, the water wheels would have been replaced by turbines; besides, new heaters, blowers and steam engines were introduced; the blast furnace was upgraded. A major change occurred at the turn of the 19th century. In 1899 a new, modern, coke-powered blast furnace was built along with the rolling mill and steelworks. Despite such an advanced equipment, before WWI the plant struggled with a serious crisis. During the wartime, production was halted. But already in 1920, the plant resumed its operation to supply ammunition ordered by the Ministry of Military Affairs. At that time, the government took over a majority stake in the company. In the years 1926-1931, the blast furnace and heaters were thoroughly converted; an electric drive system was introduced for the auxiliary equipment and new dust collectors were purchased. In 1936 a new unloading conveyor system was installed. In 1952 the plant was incorporated into the Truck Factory (as the Metallurgy Department). In 1954 the blast furnace and boiler plant were upgraded. Production continued until 1968 when the metallurgical plant was closed and entered into the register of monuments. One of the auxiliary buildings housed a brickyard operating until 1973. In the 1970s and 1980s there were only minor renovation and protection works carried out. In the early 1990’s, a trilateral initiative emerged of establishing a museum. The property was transferred to the municipality; but only after the takeover by the Starachowice District authorities, the idea came to fruition. In 2001, pursuant to the decision of the Starachowice District authorities, a museum was established which - between 2008 and 2010 - carried out a thorough renovation of most of the buildings and the surrounding area (the Regio Ferrea project). Today, the complex is the Museum of Nature and Technology (also known as Ecomuseum) dedicated to Jan Pazdur.


The blast furnace plant is located in the south part of the city, near the railway line and parallel to the Kamienna River. It is preceded by a water reservoir on the Kamienna with a contemporary road built on the former causeway. Further east, behind a loosely developed piece of land, the historical industrial complex begins. It encompasses an area of ​​rectangular shape of ​​nearly 8 hectares. It features buildings and structures erected in either of the two consecutive phases of operation of the blast furnace plant: the mid-19th century and from the turn of the 19th century. The complex was designed in the 1830s on the south slope of a former mine; three stone-reinforced terraces were built supported by retaining walls as the location for: ore storage, ore roasting ovens and the engine room; three blast furnaces, a cast hall and the factory square closing the entire area from the south. This terrace-like system has remained to this day, just as the inlet canal, engine building and the building of the former cast hall. At the end of the 19th century, the plant was thoroughly modernized and new production facilities were built in the south section of the complex. The production line was set up here: the turbo blower building, the blast furnace and its technological installations, the new cast hall, balances and warehouses; to the south, there was a line of auxiliary facilities: the boiler plant, steam blower, water tower; to the west and east, there were administrative buildings and other technical and auxiliary facilities. The development of the facility also covers paved routes and passages as well as yards, side tracks (including the overhead conveyor) and the remains of the water system (covered and open canal). The listed buildings have been preserved until today as they were originally with few or no traces of transformation required by technological progress. Most 19th-century buildings were built of stone with spots of ceramic brick; these buildings are usually on a rectangular plan with a gabled roof, with specially designed, partly plastered façades - a classicistic architecture, typical of the developments of the mid-19th century. The 20th century buildings are built as post-and-beam structures with the roof truss and metal frames filled with brick. Inside, there are old and newer machines and devices including, for example, a steam and piston blower with a flywheel, chamber boilers of the early 20th century, dust collectors, balances and an electric blower from the interwar period. Flooring elements and landscaping details are made of slag and cement bricks produced locally. The main structure - the blast furnace along with the hoist tower and auxiliary equipment and installations - dominates the whole complex flanked by brick chimneys of the secondary facilities.  It is a shaft furnace made up of two joined cones. It is made of fire brick and partly coal brick; it rests on the core laid on a reinforced concrete foundation and from the outside is lined by the metal operating and maintenance platforms. Today, the premises are tidied up and most of the buildings are used for the museum and exhibition purposes (nicely displayed); the tour of the area is well organized: it starts from the reception building by the new north entrance linked to the parking lot.

The complex is owned by the Museum of Nature and Technology; available during the museum working hours.

Compiled by Włodzimierz Pedrycz, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Kielce, 16.09.2014.


  • Karty ewidencyjne: - Zespół wielkopiecowy, - Piec hutniczy, - Budynek maszyny wyciągowej, - Budynek dmuchawy elektrycznej, - Budynek dmuchawy parowej, - Dawna hala lejnicza, - Budynek hali lejniczej, - Budynek kotłowni, - Wieża ciśnień, - Dawna maszynownia, - Budynek oczyszczalni gazu wielkopiecowego, - Budynek zarządu huty, - Budynek administracyjny, - Zbiorniki do granulacji żużla, - Portiernia, oprac. J. Maraśkiewicz 1991;  [Archiwum Świętokrzyskiego Wojewódzkiego Konserwatora Zabytków w Kielcach i Archiwum Narodowego Instytutu Dziedzictwa w Warszawie].
  • Dumała K., Przemiany przestrzenne miast i rozwój osiedli przemysłowych w Królestwie Polskim w latach 1831-1869, Wrocław - Warszawa - Kraków - Gdańsk 1974.
  • Gąsiorowska-Grabowska N. Z dziejów przemysłu w Królestwie Polskim, Warszawa 1965.
  • Główka J., Hutnictwo i przemysł metalowy w Zagłębiu Staropolskim w okresie międzywojennym 1918-1939, Kielce 2012.
  • Kalinowski W., Budowa zakładów starachowickich w latach 1836-1841, w świetle materiałów kartograficznych, w KHKM Rok. XIX. 1971, nr 1.
  • Koźminski K., Zagłębie Staropolskie w Kieleckiem, Warszawa 1955.
  • Krygier E., Katalog Zabytków Budownictwa Przemysłowego w Polsce, Wrocław-Warszawa-Kraków 1961, t.2, z.3, powiat Iłża, miasto Skarżysko-Kamienna, miasto Starachowice.
  • Pazdur J., Starachowice - osiedle i zakłady do 1939 r., Studium do dziejów górnictwa i hutnictwa, t.13, 1968.
  • Radwan M., Rudy, kuźnice i huty żelaza w Polsce, Warszawa 1963.
  • Rey A., Geneza i rozwój układów przestrzennych zakładów hutniczych w Zagłębiu Staropolskim., Kwartalnik Urbanistyki i Architektury 1966, t.XI. z.2.
  • Suliga J., Studium historyczne przyrodniczo-kulturowe doliny rzeki Kamiennej, KRAJOBRAZY 8 (20), Warszawa 1995
  • Szczepański J., Modernizacja górnictwa i hutnictwa w Królestwie Polskim w I połowie XIX w. Rola specjalistów niemieckich i brytyjskich, Kielce 1997.
  • Wojewódzki R., Najcenniejsze zabytki techniki - Starachowice; w miesięczniku IKAR, nr 5 (21) i 6 (22)  z 1995r.;
  • Zieliński J., Staropolskie Zagłębie Przemysłowe, Wrocław-Warszawa-Kraków 1965.

Objects data updated by Jarosław Bochyński (JB).

Category: industrial architecture

Protection: Register of monuments, Monuments records

Inspire id: PL.1.9.ZIPOZ.NID_N_26_ZE.23117, PL.1.9.ZIPOZ.NID_E_26_ZE.1080