"Things Needed for a Furnace ..." -
Architecture and Structural Development of Wenden Iron Works
The iron industry is historically one of the most important industries in southern Westphalia. This subject is dealt with in various studies on industrial history within the region's historical boundaries. However, they only touch the surface of the structural development and architecture of industrial facilities. In folkloric studies on houses in rural areas, the main focus has traditionally been on farm buildings. The first descriptions of historical industrial plant go back to the 1920s. In the 1930s the idea of setting up a museum of industrial monuments in Hagen was conceived, but these plans - triggered by structural change in the Ruhr area - were not translated into practice until the 1960s by the Westphalia-Lippe regional association.
The examination of the structural development of Wenden iron works is exemplary in this context. This is a smeltery conserved on site, with eight preserved buildings and units from the 18th and early 19th century, two excavated by archaeological studies and five reconstructed with the aid of maps. It is the only plant of this kind in Germany preserved in its entirety and has been entered in the list of protected monuments. The two upper ditches and the lower one are also protected. For about 10 years now, efforts have been made to investigate the facilities by carrying out archaeological excavations and studying records.