Different industrial hydropower use in Neuhaus

Trade & Craft

„Aufstellungsplan zweier Wasserröhrenkessel“ im Kesselhaus des Elektrizitätswerks Neuhaus, 1900 (Stadt- und KreisA Pb, G 453, unfol.)

The history of Neuhaus’ use of water power, which was used in the local textile industry, also includes the interlude of the „Hallenstein’sche Spinnfabrik“. Its production buildings were erected in 1872 (1874) by the company B. Hallenstein & Fels at the confluence of the Kleine Lippe and Pader rivers east of the Lippe bridge.[1] The cloth factory employed up to 200 workers in Neuhaus at times, making it one of the largest employers in the town. The extent to which the Pader’s water power was used for the production of artificial wool is still unclear. It is possible that a new canal branching off from the Mühlenpader drove one or more water wheels. Via their shafts, the kinetic energy of the water could have been transferred to the drive belts of mechanised spindle machines, spinning wheels or looms. In November 1886, the two main buildings of what was popularly known as the „rag factory“ burnt down. In the following year (1887), new production facilities were built on the island site under the changed company name „Hallenstein & Söhne“. A good decade later, in 1897, a consortium of wealthy Paderborn businessmen bought the now disused factory from the previous owners. Plans were made to build the first electricity plant on the company’s premises, which was to electrify Neuhaus by means of hydroelectric turbines.[2]

„Lageplan des Elektrizitätswerks in Neuhaus“, 1900 (Stadt- und KreisA Pb, G 453, unfol.)
„Lageplan des Elektrizitätswerks in Neuhaus“, 1900 (Stadt- und KreisA Pb, G 453, unfol.)

However, the plans drawn up under the leadership of the mill owner Abraham Rosenthal, which he planned to implement together with the Paderborn electrical engineer Hermann Schmitz as his partner, were not carried out. Instead, the consortium founded its own company, which was named „Elektrizitätswerk Neuhaus GmbH“ in December 1897.[3] After completion of the power plant, the first electricity could be supplied to the customers in March 1898 by means of „insulated copper wires laid above ground“[4]. Due to the low capacity utilisation of their power station, which primarily provided lighting energy to private households in Neuhaus, the company planned to build an electric tramway connection between Neuhaus and Paderborn.[5] The project was finally realised by the better-funded Bochum-based „Westfälische Kleinbahnen Aktiengesellschaft“, which received a corresponding operating licence from the district government in February 1899. Probably in order to increase power generation, two steam engines were installed in a separate boiler house in 1900, presumably fed with water from the River Pader.[6] Previously, natural water power had been fed into an “engine house” built across the aforementioned side canal of the old Mühlenpader.[7] In 1909, the power station of the Neuhaus tramway passed into the hands of the „Paderborner Elektrizitäts AG“ (PESAG).[8] From 1911 to 1922, the „Eichelsberger Textilwerke“ from Hanover settled on the island site between the Pader and the Lippe. In November 1922, the „Benteler Werke“ from Bielefeld finally took over the area,[9] in order to fundamentally redesign it to this day.

„Aufstellungsplan zweier Wasserröhrenkessel“ in the boiler house of the Neuhaus electricity plant, 1900 (Stadt- und KreisA Pb, G 453, unfol.)
„Aufstellungsplan zweier Wasserröhrenkessel“ in the boiler house of the Neuhaus electricity plant, 1900 (Stadt- und KreisA Pb, G 453, unfol.)

[1] Vgl. Wurm, Neuhaus, S. 82f. Rolf-Dietrich Müller, on the other hand, gives the start of the company in Neuhaus as 1874. For information on the course of life of Willi Fels and his wife Sarah Hallenstein, who emigrated to New Zealand together in 1888,((Falsche Interpunktion auf der Webseite. – bitte korrigieren)) Cf. Müller: Neuhaus und Neuseeland. Zur Geschichte der Unternehmerfamilien Hallenstein und Fels, in: Die Residenz 101 (1994), p. 43-46. 

[2] Cf. Bedranowsky, Birgit: Neue Energie und gesellschaftlicher Wandel. Strom und Straßenbahn für das Paderborner Land (Paderborner Historische Forschungen, Bd. 12), Köln 2002, p. 48-50.

[3] Cf. Bedranowsky, Neue Energie, p. 50.

[4] Description by the Neuhaus Amtmann in March 19891898, quoted from Bedranowsky, Neue Energie, p. 50.

[5] Cf. Bedranowsky, Neue Energie, p. 53.

[6] Cf. corresponding concession from 1899, StadtA Pb, G 453, unfol. The two „water tube boilers, system Alban“, which were designed for a maximum „steam tension“ of 9 standard atmospheres, were supplied by Walther & Co. in Kalk near Cologne.

[7] Cf. the elongated building on plot V, parcel 488/6, „Lageplan des Elektrizitätswerks in Neuhaus“, prepared on behalf of the Westfälische Kleinbahn AG, 27 February 1900. StadtA Pb, G 453, unfol.

[8] Cf. Wurm, Neuhaus, p. 83.

[9] Cf. Wurm, Neuhaus, p. 83.

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This is an excerpt from an essay by the historian Prof. Dr. Michael Ströhmer. The original title of the essay is: "Wirtschaftsregion Pader - Eine geschichtswissenschaftliche Skizze (1350-1950)". Should you have further interest in the economic history of the Pader, we recommend downloading the complete essay (PDF file).

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