The water stream down the hillside of Ulfshyttan comes from 3
lakes. All of them are damed up lakes. Because of the nature
there are easy to do this. It is lake Tunsan, which is connected to
Siksjön and then end into Small and Big Ulvsjön. Between Järsjön and
Small Ulvsjön there is a level difference of 36 m. The water system
continues up to Grängshammar and then through Tuna Stream end near
Dala river. There were no discussions to take more water from Dala
In this lake system several foundries were formed in early
industrial time. There was plenty of water and through suitable dam
up work, the whole lake system could be controlled. The demand was
also to find ore in the mountains around. It became both
Hästhagsgruvan and Tallbotten. Otherwise in this area it was
possible to dig anywhere in order to find ore.
This area is connected to what today is called Silverringen. As
being a mine and foundry, interested one can make a car or mc tour to
visit several mines/foundries. The green shimmering mine holes
filled with water at Silvberg. Here 91 kg silver were extracted
during the days of 1630 to 1920. During 1500 and Gustav Wasa much
more were extracted.
Far up in the north is Grängshammar situated as the last
possibility for water power.
Here it was extraordinary possibilities to set up foundries, run
hammers and crossing tools on several places.
Already in 1400 has through geological research at St. Bråfall is proved, a mine been
is found. Grängshyttans Works founded an early furnace.
The first owner was Ambjörn. 1550 King Gustav Wasa took over
the foundry, but he had difficulties to make profitability and it was
closed. 1624 county governor Peter Kruse bought the place.
Now 3 hammers were built, one forge and one mill. All used the water
power from Tunaån. The furnace became ready 1628 and the locality
got the new name Grängshammar. As most 700 tons of pig iron was
But the most important foundry became Ulfshyttan. Here there were
good possibilities to extract water power.
The first foundry was built here in 1500. Which one made this is
unsure, but county governor Peter Kruse bought 1635 the area and
planned one foundry and two hammers. He was already the works owner
of Grängshammar Works
Because of the rivalry of timber the Land Board decided that the foundry had
to close 1720. The foundry at Bråfall was destroyed in an explosion
1792 and for this reason the concession was moved to Ulvshyttan.
Now a new furnace was built about 1800 and also a rust oven 1832
in Ulfshyttan. Furthermore the rights for ore that could be
extracted from Hästhagsgruvan was moved to Ulfshyttan.
All was running nicely during the years between 1859-1863 and
1100 tons of pig iron were produced every year. This was a good figure
compared with other works around Bergslagen.
The water level difference of 36 m made it possible, in the end of
1800, when new types of refining methods were introduced, like
the Bessemer type. For this electricity was needed and this was
generated in the water stream. Air was pressed through the melted
iron and in this way the coal was burned away. This was much easier
than the old Lancashire type method through kneading the coal away.
But the Bessemer had two disadvantages one was that it could not be used for
phosphate ore. Until the Thomas process was introduced the kneading
was the only way. The second disadvantage for Bessemer was that some of the iron
in the ore
was lost in the ore. New and even better methods came in the beginning of
Grängshammar, which also was the owner of Ulfshyttan, became now
the small plant to deliver pig iron. Both had from the beginning
been owned by family Silverstråhle for over 100 years.
Grängshammar which only produced 700 tons of pig iron had to
close. The plant had not invested enough and had difficulties with
their water supply for power and also delivery of ore.
The work was made with manual methods. At closing down
the possible production was moved to Ulfshyttan 1899. Now
Ulfshyttan became named Ulfshytte Ironplant.
At the end of 1800 the profit decreased and the company was faced
a powerful change. The stock majority was taken over by Gerard Arfwedsson.
The Bessemer production was closed and the company started to use
ore with low phosphor and sulfur percentage.
This refined iron could be sold for a higher price in England
where it was used for armoured plates. This positive time continued
till after WWI.
The ore came from the mines in Bråfall and Hästhagberg. From this
type of iron 5500 tons of pig iron was delivered pro year.
Up to the 1920 Ulfshytte saw continued to work. From 20000
tunnland (area) forest sawed timber were delivered. The farming took
care of 600 tunnland area. The water power gave power to furnace,
steam saw. Edge sawing plane and cutting saw. There was also an
electrical power station.
Now the company started to sustain losses and it increased during
1930 th. There was risk for purchasing. This was done by Enskilda
Banken under the lead of Jacob Wallenberg. 1937, at this time
owner of Wikmanshyttan.
The war made that it was worth while to let the plant survive.
Old ore scrap stored with high percentage of sulfur was sold to
Here is also the story about the mountain rooms, which the bank
built just right opposite the rust oven 1939. It was short of time
and because the sort of the work all blasted granite had to be
transported through a narrow opening. The bank also build a
secrete archive. Today it is used as party local.
When this room in the bed rock was ready many lorries came fully
loaded with documentation. The amount was over 1000 m with
documentations. Furthermore the Enskilda Bank kept their gold
reserve here. The story don't till if there was any Jewish gold kept here.
Two persons were placed in the the manor house and the post station in
Ulfshyttan was upgraded, because of the amount of post. In the
entrance there were double armed guards placed.
After the war there were a concentration for high speed and hard
metal production, after some parts of the iron work had been closed or were
moved to Wikmasnhyttan The high speed steel gave the effect that the
village was expanded quicker than labour could be found.
The ore in the two mines was emptied 1964. Stora Kopparberg which
had merged Wikmanshyttan decided to sell all high speed steel
This product was produced in several different plants and became
coordinated nationally 1970. This production was taken over by other
large companies like Fagersta, Erasteel Kloster and Sandviken.
Ulfshyttan was completely closed. The rest of Wikmanshyttan
production disappeared step by step till 1980.
An era in Swedish iron production was over.
Note. A 36 m of water height fall is imposing
if turbine existed, but this machine was not ready for the market
until end of 1800. This machine took advantage of the water pressure
through a blasted tunnel or cylinder. See Langshyttan
Gustav de Laval. But instead it was possible to install several water wheels. See Korsån. They were normally built as
under water streaming wheels and were depending on the speed
of the water. See link.