Charcoal blast furnace Barbora
Iron ore mining and processing influenced the life of the majority of inhabitants in our region since the oldest times up to the 2nd half of 19th century.
Let´s track the history of simple shafts, where ore was mined, and places of its processing.
Three shafts were located in the cadastre of Ohrazenice with names: „Eisengruber“, „Hanzlikov“ and „Knizeci“. Another shaft, „St. Rudolf“, was situated on the Ostry Hill to the east from Felbabka village. In the cadastre of Rejkovice, there were shafts „St. Peter“ on the western slope of Plesivec Hill and „Velky (Great) Plesivec“ close to the former one. The last three shafts were on the Komorsko Hill, on the southern slope called Pisek. In these shafts the ore of high quality was mined for the longest period. Even in the 50th of 20th century the exploratory mining was carried out there.
Till the early 19th century, the mined ore was processed gradually in six locations: in Velci (below today´s pond), in Cenkov in Bila Hut (White Ironwork). Close to Bila Hut – probably on September 8, 1422 – the armed forces of catholic nobleman Hanus from Kolovrat defeated the Hussite troop from Pribram. Over 30 men were killed and about 130 of them were captured. In memory of this incident a stone with red chalice was erected above the mentioned ironwork.
Another shaft used to be near the Litavka streamlet below the Kopacov pond; another one at the place of later constructed charcoal blast furnace Barbora, last but one at the place of today´s Budil Mill and the last one in Rejkovice at the place of today´s railway station. Close to these primitive furnaces, called „dymacky“ (“fumers”), where moulds of raw iron were smelted from iron ore, charcoal and limestone, the hammers - large, water-propelled - were located in which malleable iron was gained by forging.
In 1805, Rudolf Count Vrbna bought the Jince manor and started construction of a real charcoal blast furnace. The foundation stone was laid with great glory on June 10, 1805. All celebrities of the manor were presented. Above all, the important officers of ironwork headed by Komarov and Jince “shiftmaster” Pavel Fiedler, mining surveyor Ferdinand Leonhard, other Jince officers – director Dominik Goerber, accountant Vaclav Podesek, controller Vaclav Jetel and administrator Michal Patsch. One of the most important celebrities was BARBORA, the wife of the director of Vrbna´s ironworks Vaclav of Resenbaum and the blast furnace was named after her. A box containing Austrian coins was placed below the foundation stone, with a commemorative file with following text:
„His Excellency Rudolf, the empire Count Vrbna of Freudenthal, the lord and owner of manor Horovice, Komarov and Valdek bought the major estates Jince and Bezdedice in 1804 from Frantisek Adam Count Wratislav of Mitrovice and decided at the end of 1804, when he saw the newly bought manor for the first time, to build a new blast furnace on the so-called Pfasten-Teich, to the general and his own benefit.“
Afterwards, church ceremonies were carried out, in particular, the foundation stone was blessed by the Jince pastor.
The blast furnace Barbora had been built for almost five years. At the same time, other facilities, in particular a foundry, but also a wire mill etc. were being built from the ground. Access driveways were built, the pond dam was reinforced and, above all, the race way was built to propel blowers and other machinery necessary for the blast furnace operation. (That is why the pond up to that time called „Pustni“ started to be called „Pecovak“ = “Blast furnace pond”.) The total costs of these large construction works exceeded 30 thousand in gold.
At the same time, the Count implemented extensive home production of many different types of nails, so called “cvocky” (that is why Jince has also crossed nails in its coat of arms). These small home workshops were called “vertaty”.
At that time, the road started to be built to ensure the import of raw materials into Barbora.
For its advanced construction, the blast furnace in Jince belonged to the best ones in the whole Habsburg monarchy, with many innovations, that were spread out to other blast furnaces. It belonged to the complex of well-known Komarov ironworks, operated in river basin of Cerveny streamlet in Horovice manor.
In Barbora, one part of molten iron was forged, the second part was used for production of pipes, candlesticks, various machine and commercial castings, cast-iron pipes, cannonballs and massive cast-iron dishes.
The building of the blast furnace with the foundry is a brick and stone one of the square plan, divided into 9 squares , the centre of which creates the body of blast furnace. At the rear part, there is a tower for transport of raw material into the furnace. Blowers and their water-wheel drives were situated in adjacent squares. The main working spaces for tapping the raw iron and foundry were located in the front part of the building. From the original buildings, still is preserved a small ground house with hip roof that served for the administration .
The blast furnace was retained in operation until 1874 when, as other feudal charcoal ironworks, succumbed to a competition with modern metallurgy based on the coking coal.
In 1886, a saw mill was set up in the back wing, at first with the water wheel drive, which was in operation till 1951 when the buildings became a part of the Jinec State Farm which used them as a storage spaces. Since 1973 they have not been used at all. The furnace dilapidated till 1989 when it was acquired by the private owners.
Up to now it is a technical monument of the European importance.
At the end of 2017, the Municipal Council of Jince decided to buy Barbora. The idea is that after a demanding reconstruction, a multifunctional space came into existence with a museum of nail production, trilobite’s exposition and exposition of violist Josef Slavik.
Překlad do AJ: Ing. Hana Kratochvílová