THE NÆS IRON WORKS MUSEUM
The Næs Iron Works is one of the oldest industrial sites i Norway, and it is today the only place where all the buildings of a traditional Norwegian Iron
Works are present. The Næs Iron Works was founded in 1574 and has been on this location since 1665. In 1738, the blast furnace was moved from a site which
is today at the middle of the Golf links.
Most of the iron ore came from mines near Arendal. The Næs Works also had mines in its own vicinity, but the Arendal mines were all-important. Approximately 40 different iron works in south eastern Norway got 4/5 of
their ore from the Arendal mines.
The charcoal needed for the production process was burned in the forests near Næs and delivered by tenants during the winter. Huge coal sheds stood near the blast furnace and the steel-oven.
THE WATER POWER
The river named "Stor-elva" powered the water wheels that drove the
blast machines, the steel hammers an the mechanical workshop machinery. The dam, built in 1738 of timber and stone, secured water supply for all-year activity. From the dam, timbered drains led the water to the blast
furnace on the western river bank, and to the hammer workshop on the
eastern bank. The dam was destroyed by flood in November 1959.
The blast furnace is a twin furnace. The northern part was originally built in 1665 and moved to Nes in 1738. The southern part was added in the 1830's. The furnaces are cylindrical, built of firebricks on the inside and a huge masonry on the outside with a thick, insulating layer of sand between. As a
furnace regularly fed from the top, the ore and charcoal was moved from
the sheds on timbered bridges.
At the foot of the blast furnaces there are two openings. One for the insertion of air by huge water-wheel driven bellows, and another niche-opening
for the drainage of melted iron and slag. Cast iron goods like stoves and machinery items were made by leading the iron into moulds. A cheap amd simple product was cast ingots, but most of the raw iron was carried over to the hammer workshop or to the steel furnace building and refined into steel-bars. The blast furnace has not been used since 1909. The museum intends to reconstruct the wooden workshop building and the bridges.
The bridge across the river. On this the iron was carried from the furnace to the hammer workshop or to the steel furnace building. The present bridge is a reconstruction.
The hammer workshop erected in 1665, but the equipment originates from an older iron works near Arendal. The prcduction ceased in November 1959. The building was heavely damaged by snow in 1966 and then rebuilt. The three hammers were driven by water wheels. The hammer smiths refined the raw iron into steel bars.
The steel storage building. This shed contains the last traditionally wrought steel bars manufactured in Norway (1959).
The steel furnace building (1859-1959). Raw iron, steel and some additions were melted in melting pots fired by charcoal and cinders. The steel was hammered out at the hammer workshop or manufactured at a rolling mill close to the steel furnace building (1879-1943).
The machinery workshop built of slagstone in the 1830's was in use until 1959. In the 1860's Næs manufactured field artillery guns. In the machinery workshop the guns were drilled out and polished.
The carpenters and model-makers workshop is a brick building erected in the late 1870's and used for a number of purposes, horse-shoe-nail factory, department store, carpenters workshop and metallurgical laboratory. Today you will find the museum shop, auditorium and public lavatones in this building. The industrial museum is a part of the cultural landscape at Nes.