This is called to take care of a culture treasure. Ref 49.
This is called to take care of a culture treasure. Ref 49.
Foundries and mines in Bergslagen
Driving mc around silver ring to Ulfshyttan foundry. 
S
ee Grangshammar works, Bisberg mine, East Silvberg
Text and picture Björn Bellander. Pictures current 2009
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2017-12-31
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Angelsbergs foundry
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Hillanget Ludvika
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Ulfshyttan

Ulfshytte Ironwork

Wikmanshytte Works

Silverringen

Waterwheel

Grängshammar



Ulfshyttan today 2012. Ref. 49
Ulfshyttan today 2012. Ref. 49
Coal yard 2011. Ref 49
Coal yard 2011. Ref 49Furnace at my visit 2009. Ref. 1
Furnace at my visit 2009. Ref. 1
 

Photo from my visit 2009 at Ulfshyttan. Ref. 1
Photo from my visit 2009 at Ulfshyttan. Ref. 1

Ulfshyttan
The water stream down the hillside of Ulfshyttan comes from 3 lakes. All of them are damed up lakes. Because of the nature there are easy to do this. It is lake Tunsan, which is connected to Siksjön and then end into Small and Big Ulvsjön. Between Järsjön and Small Ulvsjön there is a level difference of 36 m. The water system continues to Grängshammar and then through Tuna Stream end near Dala river. There were no discussions to take more water from Dala river

In this lake system several foundries were formed in early industrial time. There was plenty of water and through suitable dam up work, the whole lake system could be controlled. The demand was also to find ore in the mountains around. It became both Hästhagsgruvan and Tallbotten. Otherwise in this area it was possible to dig anywhere in order to find ore.

This area is connected to what today is called Silverringen. As being a mine and foundry interested one can make a car or mc tour to visit several mines/foundries. The green shimmering  mine holes filled with water at Silvberg. Here over 50 kg silver were extracted during the days of Gustav Wasa 1500. This mine is closed since long time1920.

Far up in the north is Grängshammar situated  as the last possibility for water power.

Here it was extraordinary possibilities to set up foundries, run hammers and crossing tools on several places.

Already in 1400 has through geological research at St. Bråfall proof of a mine been found. Grängshyttans Works founded an early furnace. The first owner was Ambjörn. 1550 King Gustav Wasa took over the foundry, but he had difficulties to make profitability and it was closed. 1624 county governor Peter Kruse bought the place.

Now 3 hammers were built, one forge and one mill. All used the water power from Tunaån. The furnace became ready 1628 and the locality got the new name Grängshammar. As most 700 tons of pig iron was delivered.

But the most important foundry became Ulfshyttan. Here there were good possibilities  to extract water power.

The first foundry was built here in 1500. Which one made this is unsure, but county governor Peter Kruse bought 1635 the area and planned one foundry and two hammers. He was already the works owner of Grängshammar Works

Because of the rivalry of timber the Land Board decided that the foundry had to close 1720. The foundry at Bråfall was destroyed in an explosion 1792 and for this reason the concession was moved to Ulvshyttan.

Now a new furnace was built about 1800 and also a rust oven 1832 in Ulfshyttan. Furthermore the rights for ore that could be extracted from Hästhagsgruvan was moved to Ulfshyttan.

All was running nicely during the years between 1859-1863 and 1100 tons of pig iron were produced every year. This was a good figure compared with other works around Bergslagen.

The water level difference of 36 m made it possible, in the end of 1800, when new types of refining methods were introduced, like the Bessemer type. For this electricity was needed and this was generated in the water stream. Air was pressed through the melted iron and in this way the coal was burned away. This was much easier than the old method through kneading the coal away. Lancashire type. But the Bessemer had two advantages it could not be used for phosphate ore. Till the Thomas process was introduced the kneading was the only way. The second for Bessemer was that some of the iron in the ore was lost in the ore. New and even better method came in the beginning of 1900.

Grängshammar, which also was the owner of Ulfshyttan, became now the small plant to deliver pig iron. Both had from the beginning been owned by family Silverstråhle for over 100 years.

Grängshammar which only produced 700 tons of pig iron had to close. The plant had not invested enough and hade difficulties with their water supply for power and also delivery of ore.

The work had been made with handicraft methods. At closing down the possible production was moved to Ulfshyttan 1899. Now Ulfshyttan became named Ulfshytte Ironplant.

At the end of 1800 the profit decreased and the company was faced a powerful change. The stock majority was taken over by Gerard Arfwedsson. The Bessemer production was closed and the company went in for using ore with low phosphor and sulfur percentage.

This refined iron could be sold for a higher price in England where it was used for armour plate. This positive time continued till after WWI.

The ore came from the mines in Bråfal and Hästhagberg. From this type of iron 5500 tons of pig iron was delivered pro year.

Up to the 1920 Ulfshytte saw continued to work. From 20000 tunnland (area) forest sawed timber were delivered. The farming took care of 600 tunn land area. The water power gave power to furnace, steam saw. Edge sawing plane and cutting saw. There was also an electrical power station.

Now the company started to sustain losses and it increased during 1930 th. There was risk for purchasing. This was done by Enskilda Banken  under the lead of Jacob Wallenberg. 1937, at this time owner of Wikmanshyttan.

The war made that it was worth while to let the plant survive. Old ore scrap stored with high percentage of sulfur was sold to Germany.

Here is the also the story about the mountain room, which the bank built just right opposite the rust oven 1939. It was short of time and because the sort of the work all blasted granite had to be transported through a narrow opening. The bank was going to build a secrete archive. Today it is use for a party local.

When this room in the bed rock was ready many lorries came fully loaded with documentation. The amount was over 1000 m with documentations. Furthermore the Enskilda Bank kept their gold reserve here. If there was any Jewish gold, it was kept here.

Two persons were placed t the manor house and the post station in Ulfshyttan was upgraded, because of the amount of post. In the entrance there were double armed guards placed.

After the war there were a concentration for high speed and hard metal. After some parts of the iron work had been closed or were moved to Wikmasnhyttan The high speed steel gave the effect that the village was expanded quicker than labour could be found.

The ore in the two mines was emptied 1964. Stora Kopparberg which had merged Wikmanshyttan decided to sell all high speed steel production.

This product was produced in several different plants and was coordinated nationally 1970. This production was taken over by other large companies like Fagersta, Erasteel Kloster and Sandviken.

Ulfshyttan was completely closed. The rest of Wikmanshyttan production disappeared step by step till 1980.

An era in Swedish iron production was over.

Note. A 36 m of water height fall is imposing if turbine existed, but this machine was not ready for the market until end of 1800. This machine took advantage of the water pressure through a blasted tunnel or cylinder. See Langshyttan and inventor Gustav de Laval. But instead it was possible to install several water wheels. See Korsån. They were normally built as under water streaming wheels and were depending on the speed of the water. See link.

Ulfshyttan plant 1937. Ref 49
Ulfshyttan plant 1937. Ref 49


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Pictures from the following owners have been used in bjorns-story.se with the apropriate permission:
Reference 1: © Björn Bellander bjorn.bellander(at)telia.com  Reference 48: From website

Reference 49: ©Picture from Wikipedia
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