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  • Writer's pictureVadim Sidorovich

The iron foundry of the Khraptovich magnats in Vishniava

On the north of Naliboki Forest in the borough Vishniava in 1773 at the expanses of magnate Ioakhim Khraptovich there started the construction of a large iron foundry, which had been working intensively since 1780. As we can imagine now by the ruins of the buildings and printed evidence, that metallurgical manufactory was even larger than that in the central part of Naliboki Forest, i.e., Rudnia Nalibotskaya – Kliatsishcha one. But it was not as closely joined to Naliboki Forest as the Naliboki metallurgical manufactory in Rudnia Nalibotskaya and Kliatsishcha. Bog ore and charcoal were extracted throughout the northern part of Naliboki Forest. On the iron foundry of Khraptovich magnats in Vishniava first there were blast furnaces, and then a number of puddling furnaces. In general, here for the first time in Belarus a blast furnace was built. In addition, there was a great workshop for metal products, flatten machine and sledgehammer, which were driven by mechanical transmissions from rotating wheel, which was revolved by the water flow. Weekly on iron foundry of Khraptoviches about 600 pounds of iron were produced. The huta stood by the river Al’shanka near the intersection of major Vishniava roads. The huta building from split boulder stones mostly remained unchanged. The river was blocked by the dame. The corresponding water afflux and its course through the rock-channel was propelled by rotating wheel. The bog ore was mined in the valleys of the rivers Hal’shanka, Biarezina, and small rivers Klimok and Hastok, and also in swamp areas in the localities Vialiki Hast and Bartsienikha. Charcoal for iron smelt was obtained everywhere in the surrounding forests, but mostly in the western and south-western direction. This factory employed approximately 150 to 200 people. There were not only the workers, who provided iron smelting, iron products and its marketing, but also the extraction of bog ore and sometimes charcoal. Iron huta in Vishniava worked intensively during 1780s-1870s, and after its closing some procedures with iron (smelting in small amounts for local needs, blacksmith work, etc) had been carried out for decades until the First World War. It is interesting to note that this metallurgical manufactory of magnates Khraptoviches in Vishniava made weapon for the liberation uprising of Tadevush Kastsiushka of 1794.

Iron foundry of Khraptoviches in Vishniava. Fragments of old foundry buildings. Currently a grain store is situated there.

Iron foundry of Khraptoviches in Vishniava. Fragments of old foundry buildings. Currently a grain store is situated there.

Bog iron ore (at the left), piece of rough iron (in the center) and slag of getting of iron (at the right).

Getting of charcoal with mulior (cluster of wood, covered with ground) in Naliboki Forest. Drawing by Valiantsina Tsehanovich

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