The Karmansbo ironworks. Well preserved Lancashire forge with water wheel.
The Lancashire furnaces and museum
is open for visits daily in July.
Karmansbo market Jun 6. The ”Iron Day” first Sat in July, 10am-1pm, demonstration of Lancashire-technique. Old fashion lunch is served in the Charcoal house. Karmansbo Manor +46 (0)223-30156 food, café, B&B.
Tourist office +46 (0)450 45.
Info: Skinnskatteberg tourism
The Karmansbo works is one of the best preserved ironworks and heritage sites in the country. In addition to the ironworks itself, you will also find a manor house, workers’ quarters, a forge and a works office. Early in the 17th century, the works was originally named Frölischhammar, after its founder. In 1855 it changed hands, and came under the ownership of Johan Gustav Schwan, who rationalized the works by bringing the various parts together to create the Karmansbo works, which became a limited company in 1881.
The forge was a central feature of the works and, in 1929, employed 72 workers. The forge workers refined the pig iron from the blast furnaces in the area. After the turn of the century in 1900, most of the pig iron came from the Riddarhyttan works. The Lancashire furnaces (which have now been restored) were used to refine the iron by re-smelting it, which enabled the smiths to produce high-quality iron for tools, which were sold all over the world.
Karmansbo was a lively community, and a great deal of work was needed beyond the confines of the ironworks… such as charcoal-burning, and transporting materials to and from the works. Other activities here included brick-making, sawmilling and farming. The works and the estate continued to operate until 1958.
The heavy floods that occurred in spring 1977 destroyed large parts of the forge and it was feared that it could not be restored. Yet, in spite of the odds against it, both the building and the machinery have been lovingly restored, and once again today can be heard the sound of the 7.5-tonne “mumbling” forge hammer. The water-wheel has been reconstructed, the rolling mill and blower have been reconditioned and, all-in-all, Karmansbo is now a fully operational ironworks.
An authentic furnished home, showing the quarters that a smith would have lived in, can be seen in the building over the forge. The imposing manor house, built in 1759, is now a hotel and conference centre, which also offers a wide range of other diversions. Bed & breakfast accommodation, together with a simple supper, is available during the summer.
The first Saturday of July every year is Open Day at the Karmansbo forge. The Lancashire furnaces are fired up, the pig iron is melting, the water-wheel is spinning, the mumbling is hammer operating, the rolling mill is running, and the production of bar iron is under way.