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:
Heidelberg Castle is a famous ruin and one of the the most important Renaissance structures north of the Alps. The rich and eventful history of Heidelberg Palace began when the counts palatine of the Rhine, – later prince electors – established their residence at Heidelberg. The earliest castle structure was built before 1214 and later expanded into two castles circa 1294; however, in 1537, a lightning-bolt destroyed the upper castle. Until the Thirty Years’ War, Heidelberg Palace boasted one of the most notable ensembles of buildings in the Holy Roman Empire. The present structures had been expanded by 1650, before damage by later wars and fires. In 1764, another lightning-bolt caused a fire which destroyed some rebuilt sections.
The 19th century brought a new wave of admiration: a sight both terrible and beautiful, the ruins epitomised the spirit of the Romantic movement. Heidelberg Palace was elevated to a national monument. The imposing edifice and its famous garden, the Hortus Palatinus, became shrouded in myth. The garden, the last work commissioned by the prince electors, was never completed. Some remaining landscaped terraces and other vestiges hint at the awe-inspiring scale of this ambitious project. In the 17th century, it was celebrated as the “eighth wonder of the world”. While time has taken its toll, Heidelberg Palace’s fame lives on to this day.
Heidelberg Castle is located 80 metres up the northern part of the Königstuhl hillside, and thereby dominates the view of the old downtown. Set against the deep green forests on the north flank of Königstuhl hill, the red sandstone ruins tower majestically over the Neckar valley.