Gipsbergwerk Oberwiesen

Gipsmuseum Schleitheim Oberwiesen


Useful Information

Location: Schleitheim
Open: APR to OCT first Sunday in month 14, 14:45, 15:30.
Or by Appointment.
[2011]
Fee: Adults SFR 5, Children SFR 3.
Guided tours: Base Price SFR 60. Adults SFR 3, Children (6-16) SFR 2.
[2011]
Classification:  Gypsum Mine
Light: electric.
Dimension: T=8-10°C
Guided tours: L=200m, D=45min.
Photography:  
Accessibility:  
Bibliography:  
Address: Gipsbergwerk Oberwiesen, Marianne Meier Schaffner, Hofwiesen 2, 8226 Schleitheim-Oberwiesen, Tel: +41-79-744-8920, Fax: +41-52-680-2034. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
Last update:$Date: 2015/08/30 21:52:35 $

History

 
1712first written mention.
1790first underground mine.
1903bought by the Schweizer Gipsunion and closed.
1927mining revived.
1938Gipsmuseum opened.
1944mine finally closed.
1962museum managed by the commune.
1992mine tunnel restored and underground tour opened.
1996museum renovated.

Geology

The gysum layers of the Muschelkalk (Middle Triassic) reach the surface near Schleitheim. The layers become thicker towards the hills were they are below thick layers of limestone. The ridge between Wutach valley and Schleitheim valley is the centre of the gypsum deposits.


Description

The Gipsmuseum Schleitheim Oberwiesen (Gypsum Museum Schleitheim Oberwiesen) desplays the mining of the gypsum and the local geology including nearby Wutachtal (Wutach valley). It tells about the history of the mining and the processing of the gypsum during the 18th and 19th century. There is an underground tour 200m into the tunnel. Warm clothes and sturdy shoes are recommended.

The gypsum was first mined on the surface in open cast mines, the old quarries cover an area of 50,000m². In 1790 the first tunnel was built to mine the gypsum underground. The layers were thicker underground, but the mining was more strenuous. The gypsum was transported out of the mines with mine carts, then it was crushed by a stamp or hammer mill. The small gypsum pieces were dried and then heated to low temperatures, the so-called Vorbrand (pre-burn). The resulting pieces were milled to fine flour, which is again burned, depending on its intended use. This was the so-called Hauptbrand (main burn). Unburned gypsum flour was used as fertilizer in agriculture, about 70% of the mined gypsum went this way. Burned flour was used in the building trade. The stuccowork of the Baroque and the Rococo are famus.

The final product was transported in sacks or in barrels. There were numerous companies and professions involved in the production, nine mills and up to 150 people found work in the gypsum industry. A canal was built to bring water for two turbines which produced electricity. The infrastructure was the reason why an industrial area formed around the mines. The amount of mined gypsum was very high during the second half of the 19th century, about 90 tons of gypsum were produced per year. This heyday ended with the invention of modern fertilizers, gypsum was not needed any more for agriculture. This crysis for the whole gypsum industry was the reason why this mine was bought by the Schweizer Gipsunion and closed, to get rid of an competitor.

The mining was revived in 1927, and with modern machinery the mined amounts were much higher. Between 1931 and 1935 1,300 tons were mined every year. The gypsum was sold to the Portland Cementwerke in Thayngen.

The mining museum was created by the last mine owner, his family helped with the exhibition and guided visitors. In 1962 it was transferred to the commune, which created a foundation for it. During the 1990s the museum was substancially enhanced, the underground tour was added and the exhibition renovated.


See also


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