Engelsberg Ironworks are situated by Lake Ämänningen just outside the village of Ängelsberg, approximately 10 kilometres south-east of Fagersta in Västmanland County. The ironworks were founded in 1681 and developed into one of the world’s most modern ironworks of their age. They are the only ironworks in Sweden which retain much of the original buildings and technical equipment. Nordstjernan AB, established in 1890 as a shipping line (Johnson Line), www.nordstjernan.se, preserves, funds and develops the Engelsberg site as the best-preserved ironworks in Sweden.
The Foundation holds regular seminars at Engelsberg, usually in the rebuilt valve factory (Ventilfabriken).
Engelsberg is counted as one of the foremost industrial heritage sites in the world and has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993.
Engelsberg was named after the German-born miner Englika, who moved to Sweden in the 1300s. The first foundry proprietor to take over Engelsberg was Per Larsson, knighted Gyllenhöök. In 1728, the Söderhjelm family acquired most of the factory, and took deliberate steps to enhance operations. The blast furnace installed in 1779 is still partially intact today. The ironworks were owned by the Timm family between 1825 and 1916. During this period, the blast furnace was modernised and extended, and the forge was rebuilt. Improved communications facilitated transport of iron ore and pig iron.
In 1916, the works were purchased by Avesta Järnverk AB, but operations were discontinued by 1919. Without the great commitment of Consul-General Axel Ax:son Johnson and his descendants, it is highly unlikely that the works would have been preserved. Today, we have industrial plants and landscaped gardens side by side. An alleyway leads through the garden to the manor, which was constructed in 1746 and replaced an older residential building. The older, east wing housed the kitchen. The west wing was constructed in the 1780s for Lorentz Peter Söderhielm’s – in all – 19 children, from two marriages. The two slag-stone towers have been used as a gazebo and an outhouse respectively.
The blast furnace and forge are unique in that the water wheel, ore crusher, blowing engine and hammer are all still functioning for demonstration purposes.