Flüelistrasse 25, 8226 Schleitheim.
All year first Sunday in month 14, 14:45, 15:30.
Or by Appointment.
Adults SFR 10, Children SFR 6.
Guided tours: Base Price SFR 65, Adults SFR 7, Children (6-16) SFR 5.
|Light:||Incandescent Electric Light System|
|Guided tours:||L=200 m, D=45 min, Max=20.|
|Address:||Schaffhauserland Tourismus Landschaft und Wein, Hauptstrasse 50, 8217 Wilchingen, Tel: +41-52-632-40-10. E-mail:|
|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.
|1712||first written mention.|
|1790||first underground mine.|
|1903||bought by the Schweizer Gipsunion and closed.|
|1944||mine finally closed.|
|1962||museum managed by the commune.|
|1992||mine tunnel restored and underground tour opened.|
The gypsum 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.
The Gipsmuseum Schleitheim Oberwiesen (Gypsum Museum Schleitheim Oberwiesen) displays 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 200 m 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 at 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 stucco-work of the Baroque and the Rococo are famous.
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 anymore for agriculture. This crisis for the whole gypsum industry was the reason why this mine was bought by the Schweizer Gipsunion and closed, to get rid of a 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 municipality, which created a foundation for it. During the 1990s the museum was substantially enhanced, the underground tour was added and the exhibition renovated.