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Inside the Exhibition Hall of a Steel Works (1902)

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Production output is as high for rolling stock as for the aforementioned railway parts. Wheel sets in which the wheel body is forged and rolled as a disk from steel ingot comprise an important line of production. The Bochumer Verein was the first to produce these in place of the spoke and iron disk wheels that are made by welding individual parts together. The wheel disks, which were subjected to extremely demanding stress tests, demonstrate the astonishing strength and durability of these products. For instance, the center hole of a wheel was expanded when cold from 153 mm to 231 mm by driving in tapered mandrels, without any sign of damage to the wheel. In another experiment, locomotive wheel rims were elongated by the heavy blows of a drop hammer, and the material’s robustness was brilliantly demonstrated. Small and large versions of both products – the wheel rim and the disk – have been arranged in attractive 10-meter-high towers on both sides of the central hall. One can also admire wheel sets made of cast steel or Siemens-Martin steel, ranging from the smallest wheels for narrow-gauge railways to the largest for huge high-speed locomotives. Industry professionals are particularly interested in modern spoked locomotive wheels manufactured in one piece from especially soft yet durable cast steel. [ . . . ]

The construction of train cars, which the Bochumer Verein began in 1896, has become an important line of production for the company. On exhibit are various open and covered freight cars, including those produced for the Shantung Railway, the Dutch Railway, and the Royal Prussian Railway. A variety of steel parts for mining equipment and other machines are also presented, including the 7,500-mm-long, 16,000 kg axle of a hoisting engine as well as a heavy crankshaft for the 1,500-HP gas-powered engine of a blast furnace.

A cast-steel working cylinder weighing an impressive 34,000 kg and destined for a 5,000-ton forging press demonstrates the capacities of the Bochumer Verein in the manufacture of press cylinders. The Bochumer Verein has been using these presses in its own plant for several years because the traditional steam hammer can no longer meet demands arising from the size of today’s shafts and other parts. In addition, the press leads to more favorable results than the steam hammer since it makes possible a constant, even compression of steel right to its core. This is shown by the bored core of the aforementioned marine shaft.

Of the remaining objects in the Bochumer Verein’s interesting exhibition, we would like to draw attention to a double-spoked magnetic wheel for a dynamo, a 16,500 kg, 3-meter-high cast-steel wheel with double helical teeth for a heavy rolling mill, and an 18,000 kg converter ring with a diameter of 4 meters. A 5-meter-long pipe with an inside diameter of one meter has been forged on the mandrel and partly lathed and partly left in an unfinished state to permit visitors to see the precision of the forging.

Source: Walther Däbritz, Bochumer Verein für Bergbau und Gußstahlfabrikation in Bochum. Neun Jahrzehnte seiner Geschichte im Rahmen der Wirtschaft des Ruhrbezirks [Bochum Association for Mining and Steel Casting. Nine Decades of History in the Context of the Economy of the Ruhr District]. Düsseldorf, 1934, p. 296 ff.

Original German text reprinted in Gerhard A. Ritter and Jürgen Kocka, eds., Deutsche Sozialgeschichte 1870-1914. Dokumente und Skizzen [German Social History 1870-1914. Documents and Sketches]. Munich: C.H. Beck, 1982, pp. 118-21.

Translation: Adam Blauhut

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