...El nuevo boletín del Comité Internacional para la Conservación del Patrimonio Industrial (TICCIH) dedica atención, en su apartado Worldwide pág. 12, a las Fábricas de Riópar. Se trata de un breve artículo escrito por Marta Vera, con la ayuda de Julia Lozano en la traducción, que sobrevuela las características el Conjunto Histórico hasta hoy, o mejor, hasta AHORA, como un momento crucial para prestarle atención a estas fábricas como el bien valioso y frágil que son. Fundada en la Primera Revolución Industrial por el ingeniero vienés Johannes Georg Graubner, es un singular eslabón de nuestra común historia industrial europea, en concreto de la industria metalúrgica del cinc y sus derivados...
PARA ACCEDER AL POST DE LA AARFR.- http://fabricasderiopar.blogspot.com.es/2013/05/ticcih-bulletin-numero-60-2-cuarto-2013.html
PARA ACCEDER AL BOLETÍN.- http://www.industrialarchaeology.net/IAWeb/TICCIH/Bulletins
De todos modos, a continuación se transcribe el artículo en cuestión
Royal Brass Factory of Riópar
Dr Marta Vera
Secretary of the association Amigos de las Reales Fábricas de Riópar.
The Royal Brass Factories of San Juan de Alcaraz, in Riópar (Albacete) compose a unique chapter in the history of Spanish technology, linked with the development of European metallurgy and claimed today as an exceptional item in the Spanish Industrial Heritage National Plan of the Ministry of Culture.
It is a historic milestone:the first brass factory in Spain, a pioneer in metallurgical experiments and hydraulic engineering applied to mass production, within the European context of the Industrial Revolution.
The Royal Brass Factory was founded in 1773 by the Viennese engineer Johannes George Graubner, under the protection of the economic policies of CarlosIII.The factory gave birth to the village,now in the Calares del Mundo y la Sima Nature Reserve, one of the most beautiful places in the region of Castilla-laMancha. Here was the only zinc mine known at that time in Spain. Due to its remote location, the morphology of this eighteen century industrial colony hassurvived to this day.
It is an exceptional instance of an industrial compound going through all kinds of avatars, from its foundation to its final closure in 1996: no less than 233 years of industrial history. Leading engineers and architects of the time were involved in its creation and development: Juan deVillanueva (architect of the Prado Museum), Carlos Lemaur (engineer of the Castilla Channel), or Augustin de Larramendi, considered the first Spanish civil engineer.
The Metal Factories of Riópar are made up of different industrial areas.The complex must be perceived as a whole,spread over 10 km and 22,700 m2 of floorsurface.Each part isrelated to the whole within a complete production process, from the extraction of the mineral from the bowels of the mountain and distillation of zinc, to metal tillage process and the distribution of artistic and industrial items to the markets.
Brass objects made here during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries are include lamps, reliquaries, braziers, beds, door knockers, bronze sculptures... endless articles awarded in 19th century Universal Exhibitions.
Until the 1970s it was an industrial colony with the typical strong paternalism of the era. Housing and all municipal services were provided by the factory:the local town hall, chapel and priest’s house, clinic and doctor’s house, the police barracks, inn, theatre, and the local music band were owned by the company. In 1954 it was declared a “model enterprise” by the Franco regime for its “exemplary performance” and energy self-sufficiency,with all its hydroelectric plantsin operation and providing electricity to the whole town.With the end of the dictatorship, opening up of global markets and internal dysfunctions led to the closure of the company in 1996, after a couple of failed attemptsto work it out as a cooperative.
The main building has now been converted into the Museum of the Royal Factories of San Juan de Alcaraz. It houses a large collection of European industrial machinery from the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as a good example of its production of bronze and brass. Despite having suffered a major spoliation, it is possible to see here old models and molds of high quality.
The set of machines and tools of the Metal Factories is of exceptional value. There is a large number of well-maintained antique examples but they also show in detail the production process: smelting, mechanizing, (with specialized machines for plumbing production, cutlery, ironmongery, and ornamentation), filing and polishing, galvanic pickling, bathing, repairing, sawmill and carpentry. Original machinery of the hydroelectric plants with Pelton and Francis turbine systems are also maintained here.
The recently created Historical Archive of the Factories of Riópar keeps an original set of office documents: account books, inventories, catalogues, photographs, building plans and drawings.This archive contains productive and commercial activity from 1846 to 1996.A new Documentation Centre has been created to recover, analyze and transmit the data from the Factories,spread out in libraries and archives all over the country, as well asto collect living memories.
Riópar still works with bronze and brass nowadays, in different companies originally developed by former workers of the Metal Factory. They keep the old techniques, models and moulds which were used in the 19th century. These workers are the ones to hold the flag for the memories of this ancient skills, which is what people from Riópar have done for a living since it was established.
We urgently need actions to ensure the continuity of the industrial complex.Without a rapid structural intervention much of it will collapse, as has happened with the old foundry and sawmill. This peculiar industrial colony is an important link of our common European industrial history, and future local development relies on this heritage."