Model of a stuckofen

 © Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
Collection Area
Energy & Mining
1930 - 1939
At the moment this object is not published in the museum.
Friede den Hütten (peace to the smelters)! Have you ever wondered why imposing blast furnace plants or steel works are simply called ‘Hütten’ (‘huts’) in German? Smelting furnaces were placed in a hut to protect them against the weather.

Some terms in the vocabulary of miners and ironworkers that appear remarkable to us today have a similar background. At the start of iron production was the smelting furnace (‘Rennofen’). Iron ore was melted in small furnaces fuelled by charcoal. The end result was a small quantity of iron that was low-carbon and therefore hard but elastic. In addition, slag was produced that trickled out of an opening provided for this. Thus the process was given its German name (‘to trickle’ = ‘rinnen’).

Smelting furnaces are also known as ‘Windöfen’ (‘wind furnaces’). In order to reach the required smelting temperature, natural wind was originally used. Later, manually-operated bellows were used. In the Middle Ages, smelting furnaces were improved and enlarged to produce the so-called ‘Stucköfen’. Here is a model from the collections of the Technisches Museum Wien (Vienna Technical Museum). Oxygen for this furnace was provided by bellows driven by water wheels.
The production of forging-grade steel in these furnaces required a great deal of time. After the ore was smelted, the furnace had to cool down slowly. To reach the piece of iron that has been produced, the front wall of the furnace had to be torn open. This was piece was called the ‘Stuck’ or ‘Mass’.

Metallurgically speaking, it is a ferrous sponge interspersed with slag. In order to reach the required quality, this piece (‘Stuck’) then had to be alternately heated and wrought 30 - 40 times. This removed the slag residue. The front wall of the furnace had to be bricked up again before the next smelting procedure.

Inv.Nr. 9772

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