Auersperg’s iron foundry in Dvor

Auersperg’s iron foundry in Dvor

About 220 years ago, larger foundries began to develop next to ironworks, where already extracted metals were remelted. Most of today’s foundries were built in their tradition. This was also the heyday of the ironworks and iron foundry in the village of Dvor near Žužemberk, which operated from 1796 to 1891 and was the largest iron foundry in Slovenian territory and in this part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It is best known for the extraordinary number of artistic and other castings, many of which have been preserved.

Since 1820, it has been focused on iron casting and until the middle of the century it was the only one in our territory that produced demanding castings with complex geometries. What is important is that they were able to produce even castings with a thin wall of up to 4 mm. In addition to cast and wrought iron products for the economy and construction sectors, they also produced objects of artistic casting, such as candlesticks, plates, stoves, grave crosses, fountains, and balcony and bridge railings, which are among the first examples of industrial design in Slovenia.
The Industrial Revolution, competition and poor transport connections made production in Dvor so expensive that it began to decline. In 1891, the blast furnace was completely shut down.

It is worth noting that the elements for the construction of the “Shoemaker’s Bridge” in Ljubljana, which weighs more than 50 tonnes, and the first trolleys for the railway in the Postojna Cave were cast in Dvor. In 1840, a 4.2-metre-high monument to the patron and benefactor Baron Žiga Zois was cast and then erected in Ljubljana’s Žale cemetery. This also includes the fountain in the town of Višnja Gora with Valvasor’s statue on top, erected in 1872, and the fountain in Žužemberk, erected in 1860.

An interesting fact is that in 1806 the special envoy of J. Karađorđević from what was then Serbia ordered 60 cannons and mortars from Dvor, but the Austrian government annulled the contract. Despite this, the foundry in Dvor made some cannons and the Serbs secretly took them away.


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