The journey of cast iron in the foundry and metalworking arts was a long and challenging one that began in the 18th century. At that time, the state of technology in the production of this alloy allowed for the first time some control over the chemical composition and strength of cast iron products, which led to a significant expansion of its range of applications. At the same time, the technology of the casting mould also developed, which gave the sculptors of the time more freedom and room for creative research. Germany can be proud to be the home of cast iron art casting, especially grey cast iron, and to have surpassed other countries in this art form by more than 100 years. In the 18th century, the craft of cast iron art casting, especially grey cast iron, experienced rapid development in Germany, and traditionally our foundry, which specialised in iron casting, was one of the pioneers in this field.
Since 1783, 240 years ago, a monument in the form of a large ornate cast iron vase has stood in our works yard, bearing witness to these glorious years and one of the monuments to the traditions of the foundrymen from Lauchhammer.
In the history of cast iron art casting, especially grey cast iron, there was much resistance and scepticism. Many professionals could not see the potential of this alloy and did not accept it as a suitable material for sculpture. It was claimed that grey cast iron was not plastic and could break if hit hard. The coarse and grey surface was also criticised, as it was said to be incapable of adequately conveying the beauty of the sculptures. There were many prejudices and misconceptions about the properties of grey cast iron. In fact, it was a material that did not forgive defects and could not be worked as easily as bronze. Nor was it possible to weld defects, and an incorrectly treated surface could quickly rust and lose its attractive appearance. Nevertheless, grey cast iron had a unique ability to fill moulds well, high flowability and casting properties that made it a special alloy. It therefore required extensive expertise, diligence, patience and high qualifications on the part of the foundrymen to fully exploit the natural properties of grey cast iron and to work successfully with it.
Over time, the techniques and technologies of casting moulds evolved. A radical change came with the introduction of the technology of casting artificial iron according to lost patterns. Here too, the older colleagues in Lauchhammer were pioneers and contributed to the further development of cast iron art casting, especially artificial iron casting. The technology of precision casting enabled detailed elaboration of the smallest elements in the sculptures and the transfer of patterns and textures on the surface of the castings. As a result, fine details became visible and there was a veritable rebirth of cast iron alloys, especially artificial iron casting. Cast sculptures, especially cast art iron sculptures, now revealed the full beauty of the metal and received gold medals and recognition at international exhibitions.
At the end of this long journey and quest for recognition, cast iron in its various forms, including grey iron and artificial iron casting, has found its well-deserved place as a material for works of art and monuments. It has itself become a monument to the hard work and intellect of many generations of founders and metallurgists. Its factory in Lauchhammer is a living testimony to the history of the cast iron industry in all its facets. Through 300 years of continuous work, it laid the foundations for new metallurgical and mechanical engineering companies. Dozens of generations of founders and metallurgists were trained here, taking their craft and art all over the world. It is an honour to let the glorious traditions of the best masters in iron casting, grey iron casting and artificial iron casting live on as guardians and continuators in our company.