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16 The Old Steinberg – Tunnel

Stud Name:            "Alter Steinberg - Stollen" because of the route in dense limestone

Struck:            1567                

Length:                         902 m (658 m in Kalk, 244 m in Haselgebirge)

Altitude:                     852 m



In 1567, under Emperor Ferdinand I.  the "Alte Steinberg - Stollen" and the "Oberberg - Stollen", later renamed "Lipplesgraben - Stollen".

The new tunnel made it possible to use the salt mountains discovered in the Mitterberg tunnel and to convert the two pumping works of the Mitterberg tunnel into discharge weirs.                                 

Encouraged by a test dig created from the Mitterberg tunnel, the Ischl miners started the slightly lower-lying Old Steinberg tunnel. The main shaft had to be driven 552 Stabel (658.0m) in lime, behind it one encountered rich Haselgebirge, which was at least 205 Stabel (244.4m) long.

In 1575, experts from the three Aussee, Hallstatt and Ischl saltworks inspected and advised on the Ischler Salzberg.

In the old Steinberg tunnel there was a level pit to the left of the main shaft to open up the mountains and next to it a pumping station designed to the south. Since the test furnaces extended under the Ebenschurf were in the well-salted mountains, the inspectors suggested that the field site of the Ebenschurf in the Tauben should be further extended.

A dam in good condition was erected because of the freshwater that had been brought in.

Since the field site of the Old Steinberg tunnel was in the deaf mountains, the inspectors decided to dig down a sinkhole to explore the salt mountains and then to examine the mountains with an oven.

Due to the inexperience of the miners, who considered the limestone in the back of the head to be a deposit, after which salt must come again after breaking through, strong self-watering was started in the Old Steinberg tunnel, the coping of which caused great difficulties.              

In 1580, when there was still water-bearing, jagged limestone in the Steinberg, one was close to stopping any further tunnel excavation.

A pit plan drawn up in 1654 shows that the old Steinberg tunnel - main shaft was first 156 Stabel (186.0m) in the bare rock and timbering, then a 40 Stabel (47.7m) long section was built in dense limestone, where this tunnel came from also got his name and then again 113 Stabel (134.7m) in the Tauben Mountains. After a total length of 309 Stabel (368.3m), the old Steinberg tunnel - main shaft finally reached the salt mountains. In the Hasel Mountains, the straight main shaft was continued and two bends were created, namely the bowl bend on the right and the Christoph Eysel bend on the left.

The bowl turn was 135 sticks (160.9m) long and its field location was written in stone. On this hairpin bend there were two abandoned pumping stations, namely the hook and shooting station.                                                                                                                                                                                            

The Christoph Eysel - Kehr was 80 Stabel (95.4m) long and there were two new pumping works, namely the Mathias Eysel - and the Hörlin - building, which held 4 Stuben Sulzen (452.8m³) at the first watering. The field location of this turn was in the gypsum stone.

On the straight continuation of the main shaft, which stood up to the Zwerchschurf (diagonal Schurf) 205 Stabel (244.4m) in the salted mountains, there were 6 burrows. The names of these waterworks were Ederinger, Ebinger, Hinterdorfer, Neuhauser, Schroffensteiner and old Weidinger - Bau. The burrows were partly intersected and already mostly used.  The old Weidinger building was provided with an additional dam so that the fall from the salt mountains at the rear of the main shaft could also be watered down.

In addition to the two bends mentioned, there were also the Eder and Weidinger bends, extended to the left of the main shaft.

On the 67 bar (79.9 m) long Eder bend, whose field location was written in stone, was the Eder building, which was still in use and was 14 bar (16.7 m) deep and held 3 rooms (339.6 m³) of brine .                                                                                                                                                                 

The Weidinger - Kehr stood 34 Stabel (40.5m) in the well-salted mountains and on the same was the new Weidinger - building, which had 8 Stabel (9.5m) construction depth and 12 Suole rooms (1358.4m³) summarized.

At the rear of the main shaft, a transverse dig (transverse dig) with 40 poles (47.7m) on the right and 28 poles (33.4m) on the left was lengthened to explore the salt mountains. The field site of the former stood in stone and barren mountains, in the latter there was a wooden weir to prevent an inrush of the approached fresh water.

Behind this Zwerchschurf, the main shaft was extended by another 30 sticks (35.8 m) over a fall from the salt mountains. Their field place was in stone and barren mountains.

Also on this main shaft were the main trench from the Mitterberg tunnel down and the two, 22 Stabel (26.2 m) and 8 Stabel (9.5 m) long discharge furnaces of the Schellenberger weirs built in the Mitterberg tunnel.

Due to lengthy repair work on the Sulzstrehn from Hallstatt, the brine for both salt pans in Ischl and Ebensee had to be produced mostly in the Old Steinberg tunnel.

That is why in 1654 the whole 32 Stabel (38.1m) mighty mountain thickness was sooty except for 10 Stabel (11.9m).

In 1656, the old Steinberg tunnel stood in the rich salt core and contained 12 water dams that had to be heavily used at times. A burrow had already collapsed. The commission recommended undercutting the Steinberg, but further consultations should take place with the involvement of external experts.  

Finally, in 1692, a new underpass tunnel, namely the Rabenbrunn tunnel, was struck.

With the more than 1,000 m long Rabenbrunn tunnel, only salt mountains could be approached for the construction of a single building due to a faulty direction of advance and a too strong slope.

In 1751, in the old Steinberg tunnel to explore the salt mountains, the test pits in the Eysel bend and in other places were not successful either.  Therefore, the Old Steinberg - and the Rabenbrunn - tunnels were abandoned soon afterwards.


Sources used:

Carl Schraml "The Upper Austrian salt works from the beginning of the 16th to the middle of the 18th century", Vienna 1932

Carl Schraml "The Upper Austrian Salt Works from 1750 to the time after the French Wars", Vienna 1934

Johann Steiner "The traveling companion through Upper Austrian Switzerland", Linz 1820, reprint Gmunden 1981

Michael Kefer "Description of the main maps of the kk Salzberg zu Ischl", 1820, transcription by Thomas Nussbaumer, as of September 13, 2016

Anton Dicklberger "Systematic history of the salt pans of Upper Austria", Volume I, Ischl 1807, transcription by Thomas Nussbaumer, as of 06.2018

B. Pillwein "History, Geography and Statistics of the Archduchy above the Enns and the Duchy of Salzburg", 2nd part Traunkreis, Linz 1828

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