Grafik Zinkfabrik Altenberg

History of the Zinkfabrik Altenberg (Zinc Factory)

Historical view of the Altenberg zinc factory

The Zinkfabrik Altenberg (Zinc Factory) was one of the oldest metal processing companies in Oberhausen. In 1854/55 the favourable site conditions induced the Belgian “Société anonyme de Zinc de la Vieille Montagne” to set up a zinc rolling mill: The train station of the Köln- Mindener railway company was located in close proximity as were coal mines and smelting works. After almost 130 years in production the Oberhausen factory shut its doors in 1981. The Landschaftsverband Rheinland took over part of the factory premises in 1984. The thorough clean-up of the contaminated grounds and building began. In August 1997 the Zinkfabrik Altenberg (Zinc Factory) opened its doors to visitors as one of the sites of the LVR-Industriemuseum and it has since then been explaining the history of heavy industry on Rhine and Ruhr in an exhibition in the rolling mill covering an area of more than 3000 square metres. The permanent exhibition first takes up the story of the Zinkfabrik Altenberg (Zinc Factory) in the foyer. It was here that zinc was rolled to zinc plate and processed further. Subsequently more than 1500 exhibits, some of which being heavy-weight items such as a 10 metre high steam hammer, a steam engine series 50 built by Krupp, the die-casts, rollers and steam engines, convey an impressive picture of heavy industry from its very beginnings in the 19th century through its zenith right up to the decline of the heavy industry companies and the structural change of the present day.