Four blast furnaces were built between 1890-1891 and 1897-1898 at Uckange by the Stumm brothers. At that time Uckange and the Lorrain region belonged to Germany but following the world war 1 the factory became French and was renamed to « Forges et Aciéries de Lorraine » - Lorraines' Foundries and Steelworks.
The factory had at most six blast furnaces which were renovated many times during the XXth century. The Lorfonte Factories, the site’s final name, peaked at 2800 steel workers producing 400,000 tons of cast iron per year! The cast iron produced was mainly for molding - delivering countless applications. Raw materials were initially sourced from the local mines and carried to the site through miles of aerial conveyors. Later the coal was imported from Poland or Brazil which reduced operating costs.
The N°4 blast furnace, totally renovated in 1976 (see refection schema below), was only started in 1988 due to the unfavorable economic situation. It is fed by a lift tower (called Staehler dumpster) in contrast to conventional blast furnaces which are fed by skips. Clabecq is a well known example of this.
The factory ceased operations in 1991 and all the blast furnaces were stopped. Blast furnace N°1 was demolished with dynamite a few years later and today only the blast furnace N°4 will be preserved.
The site has been left abandoned for many years, suffering from bad weather, vandals and metal scrappers. An association of industrial heritage lovers and former steel workers fighting for the protections of the old factory succeeded in getting blast furnace number 4 (U4) listed as a monument in 2001. However it will be the first and only blast furnace to be preserved in France.
Rehabilitation works, removal of asbestos and making the site secure was done between 2006 and 2007, welcoming the first official visitors in 2008.
The photos shown in the gallery were taken between 2004 and 2006 except the last night photos which were taken during summer 2009 to show the blast furnace N°4 embellished by the light scenography from Claude Lévêque’s "Tous les soleils".
More information (in French)
- Le grenier Uckangeois
- Le parc du HF4 à Uckange
Rust of the iron is wonderful I want to go～
It's always cool, but I like the research that is done in the locations !
cool stuff as always!
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