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Zimmermann's hammer mill

1771 - 1866

Establishment of the forge in Teningen

There are reports of an old forge at the same site even before 1771. However, the establishment of a new forge workshop by Jakob Zimmermann in 1771 is considered the birth of the site. The development of the Teningen industrial site today can be traced back to this point. Zimmerman produced devices required for agriculture and forestry as well as viticulture in his forge. This included axes, spades and hatchets. The "Z" with which he marked his tools became a quality mark and enjoyed an excellent reputation until forge operations were shut down in the 1950s.

Hammer mill - operated by water power

Georg Friedrich Zimmermann took over the forge from his father. The trade canal which led off from the Elz river was just a few meters from the forge. One day, it inspired young Zimmermann to utilize the water power from the stream for his work. A forge was created in 1815 which was driven by a water wheel. Three hammers of varying strengths and impact power, operated by automation, provided their services from then on. The hammer mill still exists today and could even be operated.

Forging hammers operated with hydraulic power

The village of Theningen in 1825 (original spelling)

Hammer mill facts

  • Weight of small forge hammer: approx. 30 kg
  • Weight of large forge hammer: approx. 40 kg
  • Force of forge hammer per strike: approx. 6 t
  • Hammer strikes per minute: approx. 30-50 strikes (dependent on the speed of the water wheel)
  • Shaft diameter: 1 m
  • Speed of water wheel: dependent on water quantity in the stream, max. 30 rotations per minute
  • Water wheel diameter: 2.5 – 3 m

Karl Saaler

On 1 April at the end of the 1830s, Karl Saaler was born as the second son of the haulage company owner Nikolaus Saaler. As a young man, he completed an apprenticeship as a mechanic, training under master craftsman Wehrle in Emmendingen. At the end of his apprenticeship, Saaler first traveled to Berlin and Jena and then abroad, where he completed a watchmaker apprenticeship in Geneva. He worked as the plant manager of a watch factory from 1861-1866. During this time, he also built the glockenspiel in the Notre Dame cathedral.

Friederike Karoline Zimmermann meets Karl Saaler

Georg Friedrich Zimmermann had one son and three daughters. The son did not want to follow in his father's footsteps and emigrated to America quite early on, where he worked as a farmer. Unfortunately, he died at a young age of an incurable disease. Zimmermann's oldest daughter, Friederike Karoline, was sent to Paris for training in domestic duties, where she met young Karl Saaler at the frequent meetings of Germans living in Paris. They fell in love and decided to return home together. Friederike Zimmermann and Karl Saaler tied the knot just one year later (1867). (Photo: Rudy and Peter Skitterians/Pixabay)


The tools from Zimmermann‘s hammer mill were marked with a "Z", which was a mark of quality.

Babette Kopp
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