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The wood requirement for salt production using the example of the Saline lschl (1571-1965)

Günther Hattinger Austrian forest newspaper 12/1988:

The following post will be about   the importance of the forest and timber industry for   the salt extraction   in the Salzkammergut, in particular for the Saline Bad Ischl, at the end of the 19th century and quantitative information is also given on wood consumption.

The burning of wood as an energy source for the production of salt in Austria and the resulting overuse of the forest and wood industry has been part of the technical and economic history for more than 100 years.

The development of salt mining in lschl (opened in 1563), but especially that of the saltworks in lschl (1571-1965), is closely related to the forests of today's Strobl forest administration.


Large need for wood

The forests in Upper Austria's Rettenbach and   Mitterweissenbachtal were enough for  the  cover  of  Do not delete the need of the salt-weather  out of. Originally, contracts with the Archdiocese of Salzburg also had to fall back on the "Salzburger Waldungen". It was not only necessary to cover the wood requirements for the operation of the saltworks (the panhouse), but also for mining, the production of salt packaging (Küfel .- and  Fassel production), the transport of salt on the waterways (shipbuilding), for the buildings of the hermitage and drift system and the various allowance claims.

The order of magnitude in 1720

With a production of around 30,000 t of salt in the entire Upper Austrian Salzkammergut (Saline Ebensee, lschl and Hallstatt)

  • for salt production 160,000 rm,

  • for runner production and

  • the reed construction 53,000 rm and

  • for defense construction, brewing and deputate 60,000 rm,

  • a total of 273,000 cubic meters of wood was used.


In the 17th century, the need for firewood for the Saline in lschl to produce salt was between 21,000 rm and 24,000 rm with an annual production of 5400 t to 6300 t of salt. In the 18th century this should be due to the production figures of the saltworks   partly   even exceeded 25,000 rm every year. The specific wood consumption in rm wood/t salt could only be reduced by almost 10% during these two centuries. Due to the increased salt production during this period, this did not have a relieving effect on the forest manager.  

During this period, the technology of salt production in round pans (old Austrian pan) with flat grates for firing was subject to little change, despite increasing attempts at improvement, especially in the 18th century.

Spruce and fir wood in demand

For firing, a large flame was required that gave off sudden heat  Spruce and fir wood. The wood was on 6 1/2 shoes  cut to length  beech wood  was only for firing the dry houses (Ppiesel) for the  used to dry the salt fodder.  In later times, up to a quarter of beech wood was allowed to be added to the wood for firing the pans, the "Hallwid".


Lack of wood led to rationalization

The looming shortage of wood led to rationalization measures. In the first half of the 19th century, the introduction of the "Tyrolean pan" (1823) and the construction of the Kolowrat brewhouse (1834) with a double pan and finally the introduction of the pull grate in the furnaces instead of the flat grate a significant reduction in wood consumption.

Increasing salt production compensates for a reduction in wood consumption/t of salt

During this period, the specific wood requirement fell by 35% from around 3.4 rm/t salt to around 2.2 rm/t salt. Around the middle of the 19th century, salt production at the Saline Ischl was 14,000 t/year. But even this notable reduction in specific wood consumption in the salt works could only compensate for the additional demand for salt production, but did not bring any relief to forestry.

Coal firing brings relaxation to the forest

This only happened with the introduction of coal firing in the Saline lschl in the years 1881-1886. The prerequisite for this was the construction of the railway line Stainach-Irdning-Attnang-Puchheim, the "Kronprinz-Rudolf-Bahn" in 1877, which transported coal from the Hausruck-Revier made possible. With the introduction of coal firing, gas firing with generator gas was also tried, as was the gasification of wood. The gas firing, which is more economical in itself in terms of heat technology, was not able to prevail over coal firing with stepped grates and later with movable grates. Pure coal firing for the production of pan salt remained in the Saline Ischl until production was finally stopped in 1965.

Use of thermocompression

In 1979, a new saltworks with a current production capacity of 440,000 tons of salt per year was put into operation in Ebensee. This saline, which works as a thermocompression plant with evaporators, covers more than 90% of Austria's salt production, in addition to the Hallein saline, which works according to the same principle. Salinen AG. With this technology, electrical energy is mainly used to drive the thermocompression system, which works as an open heat pump, and only a small proportion of caloric energy in the form of heavy fuel oil. Due to the high yield of thermocompression systems, the total energy consumption is only 0.9 GJ/1 salt (gigajoule/t salt). This energy expenditure is in the range of 5 to 10%  the expense of open pans fired with coal or earlier with wood. It clearly shows the success of technological development over the past 100 years and especially in the last few decades.

Wood shaped culture before the 19th century

The German economist Werner SOMBART made the following statement in his 1919 work "Der Moderne Capitalism", which is largely valid for our region: "All European culture - the intellectual no less than the material one - emerged from the forest. The wood took hold all areas of cultural existence, was the prerequisite for the flowering of old branches of economic life and formed the general substance of all things to such an extent that culture before the 19th century had a decidedly wooden character.”

Sources used:

Günther Hattinger Austrian forest newspaper 12/1988

Use of the Salzburg forests at the Abersee by the Saline Ischl

JOHANN OSTERMANN Austrian forest newspaper 12/1988

The political developments in the first years of the reign of FERDINAND I (1521 to 1560) resulted in an enormous boom in the salt trade and the associated salt production. How did that happen? In the Battle of Mohacs in 1526 the last Jagiellonian LUDWIG II, King of Bohemia and Hungary, fell in battle against the Turks. As he left no descendants, Bohemia and Hungary fell to his brother-in-law Ferdinand, who was married to Anne of Bohemia. This allowed the Austrian salt trade to be extended to the Kingdom of Bohemia. Due to the increased salt production, the salt pans were enlarged and their number increased.

In search of new salt stores

they found what they were looking for in lschl and on July 25, 1563 the Mitterberg tunnel was opened. The main problem of all salt pans was always having enough wood for the brewing pans. So one tried either to bring enough wood to the saltworks or, as in later years, to lead the salt to the wood through brine pipes, as was the case with the construction of the Ebensee saltworks. Although the salt mine and the lschl saltworks, put into operation in 1571, were in a very densely wooded area, it was necessary to look out for wood reserves in good time and also to take care to protect our own forests. Long before wood was delivered from the archbishop's forests at Abersee for the salt works in lschl, the lschl salt manufacturers, who were middle-class entrepreneurs, obtained Kufhoz and ship wood from the forests of the Mondsee monastery, from an area between Königsberg and lschl.

The supply of wood to the salt flats is secured

When the Austrian Obersalzamt in Gmunden approached Salzburg to secure wood consumption in lschl by using the Abersee forests, both sides were helped. After all, the Salzburg smelting works such as the Saline Hallein or the iron works in Rupertiwinkel were too far away to ensure economic use. In 1579, a treaty was signed between Emperor RUDOLF II.  (1576-1612) and Prince-Archbishop JOHANN JAKOB VON KUEN-BELASY (1560-1586). At the beginning of the contract, reference was made to the then Emperor MAXIMILIAN II (1564-1576), who already concluded a contract with Salzburg in 1565, which stipulated the use of the Salzburg forests, which are in the area of today's Rußbach forester district of the Gosau forest administration, for the salt works regulated in Hallstatt.

salt for wood

In the contract of 1579, Salzburg obliges itself, initially from the forests of the Hüttenstein custodial court, the later St. Gilgen court, to the "Ischlerische Salzstätten"  "Seven hundred pans Widt" correspond to 32,900 cubic meters of wood to burn in the brewing pans, 1 pan is calculated at 67 cubic meters or 47 cubic meters. The wood is to be taken from the following "Waldorthen": ".... to kindle at the Rinpach, and from there to the Wildten Cammer up from the Gassengraben to the Kürchweg." Then from the other side of the  "Rünpach" up to the "Kaltenpach". If the 700 pans are not reached in this area, the felling should be extended to the "Unckhenpach". This corresponds to the area from the Rettenkogel, via the Rinnkogel to the Wilden Kammer, which is bordered by the Weissenbach in the west Salzburg permitted salt to be exported from the Hallein Saline to the Kingdom of Bohemia and to the imperial principalities and imperial cities that were interested in it.

Wood use is regulated

Only master woodworkers and woodcutters who were subjects of Salzburg were allowed to cut wood. In order to prevent damage to the rest of the forest and to the regeneration, the way in which the felling had to be carried out was precisely prescribed:  "Sixthly, the pre-determined Waldörther should be chopped up and processed from underrists to colonels and from hindists to foreman and in a Waldmann manner so that the honeyed wood wax is harmed and left behind."

protection for subjects

By delivering the  "Hall Widts" to the Saline, however, the subjects were not allowed to suffer any disadvantage in their purchase of wood, and the right to graze, the so-called  "Pluem visit" not be affected. Bringing and hitting had to be done with "such care, so that the same can be done with the least amount of damage", and if the Salzburg subjects suffered damage from the wood deliveries at their base, "should in your Kay:(happy) May:(estät) Same damage will be increased and removed".

The contract stipulated that twenty to thirty pans of wood, i.e. 1340 rm to 2010 rm of wood, were felled in the designated area every year.

First Timber Order In 1581

In 1581, two years after the contract on the use of the Abersee forests by the Salzamt in lschl, a "timber regulation" was issued for the Hüttenstein court, which was intended to guarantee a more controlled use of the Salzburg forests in the court. In the introduction to the new timber regulation it is stated that the subjects of Salzburg took wood from the princely forests for their own use, but also for sale as ship or kufholz for lschl, at their own discretion and the forest care was completely neglected, so that  "also the wood wax has been noticeably prevented, and therefore there is a great lack of wood".

Wood is assigned

The new forest ordinance stipulated that the subjects were only allowed to chop the wood that was shown to them on a stick by the chief woodsman or sub-woodsman. Fourteen days before or after Christmas, the chief woodsman, in the presence of the caretaker von Hüttenstein, announced in St. Gilgen how much wood the subjects were allowed to chop and where. The Oberwaldmeister had to give special consideration to the "poor Heusseßigen Unndterthonen, who Ir notturfft Traidt nit rein in on their goods" when awarding woodwork.

Rollover will be severely penalized

Since the Ischl salt manufacturers often advanced the Aberseer wood suppliers more money than was necessary for the work done, more wood was felled and carelessly, which from now on was subject to severe punishment. The subjects had Kufholz 45 kr. for a pound (pan), Schiffholz for a five (type of ship) and six 12 kr., for a seven 24 kr. and for a pan of firewood 16 kr. floor right to pay. In order to compensate for the different amount of work or income that occurred with the three different types of wood, the allocation had to be changed every year. For the export to lschl, wood for 150 zills and 100 pounds of Kufholz was approved annually. Firewood was not limited.

Wood reserves are formed

Unmarried servants and farmer's sons were not allowed to run "woodwork" on their own. They were only allowed to be employed as woodcutters with wages by farmers who had a permit be refurbished, but if it was sold to lschl, the stock rights first had to be paid for. So that there were enough wood reserves for Hallein’s own saltworks and because of the game, the chief forest master was instructed to give the Hüttenstein subjects in the high and black forests, “namely the Praitenperg , Wislwald . .. the like in the forests, such as in the Hintersee tall leagues".

The first forest house

The construction of the "housing" for an "undter Waldmaister" (forester) in Abersee can be seen as a forerunner of today's forest administration in Strobl. He was responsible for forest matters in the courts of Hüttenstein, Wartenfels and Mondsee, as far as they concerned Salzburg interests.

Deciduous wood harmful to the Black Forest

The wood goods producers and wheelwrights, as well as the blacksmiths of the Hüttenstein and Wartenfels courts, were allowed to take maple, elm and beech from the Black Forest "since such hardwood is harmful to the Black Forest anyway". When Austria set up its own salt deposits in Passau in 1596 In order to deliver salt to Bohemia, the Hüttenstein court was ordered to stop the supply of wood to lschl, whereupon Austria blocked the supply of grain and wine from lschl to Salzburg, but the dispute was resolved in 1600 by Archbishop Wolf Dietrich (1587-1612) and Rudolf II. settled.

The farmers made mountain pastures out of the free forest areas,

against which Austria unsuccessfully protested. As a result of the founding of alpine pastures  no young forest grew up, the felling of wood was continually expanded: 1646 on the Breitenberg, in the Kögl and Eichenbrunn forests, 1695 in the Schreinbach and Zinkenbachtal, 1734 in the Zwerchenberg and Ruprechtsgraben forests, 1770 the forests in the Kammersbach, on the Scharfen, Schnitzhof, Sonntags-Kendl and again at Breitenberg. Finally, it should be noted that the large areas of alpine pasture in today's forest administration in Strobl are not due to the use of the forest by the lschler Saline, but to "impertinent alpine drivers". called.

Sources used:

JOHANN OSTERMANN Austrian forest newspaper 12/1988

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