It was quite common in the 17th century for citizens in the Mälaren valley to invest in the iron industry. The first bar-iron forge at Trångfors was established in 1628 by Adolf Willemson, a merchant from Västerås. It started off small, with just three workers.
In the latter half of the 18th century, the Strömsholm canal cut straight across the Trångfors estate and the old manor house had to be pulled down. The existing forge was built in 1799. Good use was made of the water from the canal: an enclosed timber trough from the canal provided water power for the forge hammer. When the Lancashire method was introduced in 1875, production rose sharply and peaked in 1900 at an annual output of 3,100 tonnes. But by 1915, the forge had been closed down.
One of the four Lancashire furnaces has been restored, and work is under way on the water-wheel and trough. The mumbling hammer has been given a new base. In time, the intention is to be able to demonstrate the pig-iron refining process and mixing of the melt in the forge.
A congenial room with a cosy open fire is available for hire for private functions and meetings. It has been set up in the former spark-machining workshop next door to the forge.
A room above the forge, which used to be a rest room for the forge workers between shifts, has now been converted into a meeting room. The murals on the walls were painted by Gunnar Hall. Next door to that is the charcoal storehouse, which dates from 1800. The charcoal wagons ran straight in here and tipped their load from the ramps at the top of the furnace.
The Trångfors power station on the other side of the river was built in 1898–9 by a firm of consulting engineers, Qvist & Gjers, of Arboga. A water trough was built at the side of the waterfall and it carried the water over a distance of several hundred metres to the works. The power station operated until 1988 and is now a museum. The original equipment has been preserved. The station has six horizontal turbines each generating an output of 400 hp. The generators were manufactured by ASEA and were awarded the “Grand Prix” at an international industrial exhibition in Paris in 1900.
Every August, there is a Trångfors open day when the building is open to visitors, who can also watch barges being locked through on the canal.References:
The first historical record of Lednice locality dates from 1222. At that time there stood a Gothic fort with courtyard, which was lent by Czech King Václav I to Austrian nobleman Sigfried Sirotek in 1249.
At the end of the 13th century the Liechtensteins, originally from Styria, became holders of all of Lednice and of nearby Mikulov. They gradually acquired land on both sides of the Moravian-Austrian border. Members of the family most often found fame in military service, during the Renaissance they expanded their estates through economic activity. From the middle of the 15th century members of the family occupied the highest offices in the land. However, the family’s position in Moravia really changed under the brothers Karel, Maximilian, and Gundakar of Liechtenstein. Through marriage Karel and Maximilian acquired the great wealth of the old Moravian dynasty of the Černohorskýs of Boskovice. At that time the brothers, like their father and grandfather, were Lutheran, but they soon converted to Catholicism, thus preparing the ground for their rise in politics. Particularly Karel, who served at the court of Emperor Rudolf II, became hetman of Moravia in 1608, and was later raised to princely status by King Matyas II and awarded the Duchy of Opava.
During the revolt of the Czech nobility he stood on the side of the Habsburgs, and took part in the Battle of White Mountain. After the uprising was defeated in 1620 he systematically acquired property confiscated from some of the rebels, and the Liechtensteins became the wealthiest family in Moravia, rising in status above the Žerotíns. Their enormous land holdings brought them great profits, and eventually allowed them to carry out their grandious building projects here in Lednice.
In the 16th century it was probably Hartmann II of Liechtenstein who had the old medieval water castle torn down and replaced with a Renaissance chateau. At the end of the 17th century the chateau was torn down and a Baroque palace was built, with an extensive formal garden, and a massive riding hall designed by Johann Bernard Fischer von Erlach that still stands in almost unaltered form.
In the mid-18th century the chateau was again renovated, and in 1815 its front tracts that had been part of the Baroque chateau were removed.
The chateau as it looks today dates from 1846-1858, when Prince Alois II decided that Vienna was not suitable for entertaining in the summer, and had Lednice rebuilt into a summer palace in the spirit of English Gothic. The hall on the ground floor would serve to entertain the European aristocracy at sumptuous banquets, and was furnished with carved wood ceilings, wooden panelling, and select furniture, surpassing anything of its kind in Europe.