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History Outline

The city of Nowa Ruda had gotten its legal status in 1337, that is about 100 years before coal mining started here. Thick forests growing originally on this area were later felled and on this clearing an urban settlement in the valley was built. 

Herb Nowej Rudy

A coat of arms of the city, showing a yellow trunk on a red background is connected with this activity. The trunk is a symbol of this area in the period when foundations of the city were created and the red background - soil colouring - constitutes remains of rotliegend from the Permian period.

Basics of the mining engineering on this area reach the 15th century. First, not checked information to this subject concerns 1434 – that is when coal mining in the  surroundings of Czerwieńczyce came into existence, and next - already substantiated – tells about 1478 and concerns the coal mine “Pod Bukiem” ("Under the Beech") by Nowa Ruda (at present district of Zacisze city)


A well-known historian of the Lower Silesia mining provides next information. His name is Festenberg-Pakisch. He mentions a document from 1491 stating that owner of Nowa Ruda, baron Steilfried, leased the right to extract coal to Wenzel who was a peasant. Next message concerning basics of the mining engineering in Bożków comes from 1545. We can assume that the first substantiated messages about exploiting the hard bituminous coal on the Polish lands refer to the area of Nowa Ruda, because the coal mining in the surroundings of Wałbrzychdeveloped just in the second half of the 16th century.


Geological conditions and the mountainous character of the surroundings of Nowa Ruda enabled such early mining. Discovering the deposit was not too difficult, because decks were found under a thin mining waste. Further notes concerning mining on this area date from the 17th century - coal mines were already active in the 20s of the 17th century in Słupiec, Bożków as well as between Drogosławie and Wolibórz - in the immediate vicinity of Nowa Ruda.


At the turn of the 17th and 18th century mining becomes more and more important. Mineral coal (stone) was in this period (all the way to the end of Austrian governments) regarded belonging to the ground. Great landowners, who exploited it on their own account, had it at their disposal, or leased the usage law to others- rich peasants or burgesses. The raw material was extracted from deposits put in a dozen metres up to the earth, but not earlier than in the second half of the 18th century people started building draining drifts.


After seizing Silesia by Prussia in 1742 the new authorities involved coal in to the regalia, which means getting it hedged with the monarchal law of exclusivenesses and at first started to demand the tithe from mine owners and later obtaining charters for exploitation. Therefore, they started drafting lists of mines and calculating the volume of their production.


As a result of these operations we learn for example that in the area of Nowa Ruda there were 3 coal mines. The production in 1746-1747 amounted to about 1 thousand tonnes. Peculiarly strong development of coal mining in Nowa Ruda took place at the turn point of the 18th and 19th century and was caused by implementing coal fuel in a wide range in industrial plants and households (in 1781 stoves in the Wolibórz castle were converted into coal hearths).


From the half of the 70s of the 18th century the development combined also with an general economic boom, especially in the processing industry. Numerous mines were opened, a number of the employment and outputs grew. From the 5th of June 1769 in force was the mining law for Silesia and the Kłodzko county issued by Frederick II replacing the mining "Ordnung" for the Kłodzko county, introduced by Rudolph II in 1578.


However, the influence of mining authorities on the economy of local mines was 9 times smaller than in other mining basins, since all mines constituted a private property. Their owners were mainly large landowners of the gentry background


Enforcing mineral rights influenced definitely a streamlining of the engineering production. Among others, a regular underground mining had been implemented, also a few long draining and transport drifts were built. In order to drain deeper lying deposits,  they started applying steam pumps, and in order to carry mining out - steam hoisting machines.


At the end of the 18th century the broadly conceived exploration work, conducted in the entire Nowa Ruda gave positive results., bringing a growth of the mining fields number. According to the source materials from Sierpnica and Czerwieńczyce in 1862 there were 32 small mining fields known. Tendencies of centralization in property relationships, initiated in the 18th century, were caused by running out shallowly lying coal reserves. Thus, capital concentration through combining small, primitive mines into bigger, more modern deep mines appeared to be necessary. In this way, in 1815, mines in Drogosławie Zacisze, Przygórze and Dzikowiec, were linked, creating one enterprise belonging to count Magnis with the registered office in Bożkowo.


The Johan Baptist-Grube mine belonging to count Pilati had its registered office in Słupiec. In 1898 counts von Magnis and von Pilati decided to connect their mines into one enterprise under the name Neuroder-Kohlen und Thonwerke, with the registered office of the management board in Bożków. In 1901 the management board of the mine was moved from Bożków to Nowa Ruda. After the First World War, in 1922, Nowa Ruda mines united into a joint venture belonging to the concern of Linke-Hofman-Lauchamer.


The above presented outline of the history concerns the area of Zacisze, but the development of coal mining to a larger extent is connected just with the date when the Ruben mine came into existence (Nowa Ruda Piast) i.e. with 1742. On the mining area of Ruben at the end of the 18th century intensive exploratory works began and the discovered deposits were used to build drifts and pavements. The first registered exploitation of coal began in 1781. It was an exploitation of layers in the area near the Lech mineshaft. The next output came in 1803 and concerned the north area, by the road to Wolibórz.


Till 1869 mining in Ruben-Grube was held using drifts. This mine had for quite a long time a relatively small output: in 1780 - 220 tonnes, in 1801 - 350 tonnes, in 1840 - 3436 tonnes. In 1868 it deepened the shift to the first level - at present we call it Lech. For this purpose they used for the first time dynamite with the water wadding. This mineshaft was equipped into the steam hoisting machine with the power of 18 h.p. as well as into devices for pumping water.


More intense development of the mine is dating back to 1879 which is connected  with discovering the deposit of fireproof slate in 1877. The get slate was on the spot subjected to purification processes, and then roasting at the roasting unit, built after discovering this valuable raw material. Final product, the so-called roasted slate, constituted a precious raw material for producing fire-resistant materials. A part of this material was consumed in the country, another part was sent to the export.


The second factor affecting the mining process in Ruben were railways on the route Wałbrzych - Kłodzko developed in 1880, enabling winning additional markets. In 1891 by the staff of the Ruben mine counting 554 persons 80 721 tonnes of coal and 35 000 tonnes of the fireproof slate had been exploited. In 1839 and 1876 water from the surface reached mining excavations and partly flooded them. This situation forced the contemporary management to install more cost-efficient draining devices. On the 7th of September 1910 in the Piast shaft the flood filled the 2nd level. The threat was so great that miners had to escape and only by chance managed to rescue horses working at mining.


In the Ruben mine there are the biggest thrusts of gasses and rocks, having innumerable consequences. Vast amounts of carbon dioxide excreted during the thrust may cause poisonous-choking. They constitute a great threat to life of the crew working in the mine at that time. At first the gauze-rock thrusts appeared on the north field at a depth of about 250 metres. The first registered thrust happened in 1908. Along with the increase in the depth, danger of thrusts is becoming more severe, their frequency and size are growing. To 1945 there have been recorded 596 gauze-rock thrusts altogether about the total masses of coal thrown away amounting to 114 770 tonnes.


One of the most tragic thrusts was the on  which happened on the 10th of May 1940 - 187 miners died then. After this disaster in the mine Ruben discipline concerning the mining excavations in fields threatened with thrusts has been tightened.


After the World War II the Lower Silesia coal basin was in 1945 included in the areas belonging to Poland. In July 1945 the Polish mining authorities seized 3 mines in the Nowa Ruda area: Ruben (Piast), Rudolf (Przygórze), Johann Baptist (Słupiec) along with the accompanying plants. Managing the nationalised mines has been centralized in the management of Lower Silesian Association of the Coal Industry with registered office in Wałbrzych which used to work till the 70s. After the change of the scope of functioning they had been converted into Lower Silesia Coal Community, and in 1990 - as an indirect branch of managing in the industry - solved.


After 1945 the mining law also had to undergo changes. Instead of the abolished German mineral rights, the Polish law from 1930 had started to be in force, next in 1953 and 1994 it was changed. In 1948 3 Nowa Ruda mines were connected in one, under the name Nowa Ruda. The next organizational change took place in 1954 and consisted in allocating Jan field and  creating the self-contained mine Słupiec which was extended in the following years.


The Nowa Ruda mine was also subjected to modernization and expansion. In 1971 the Nowa Ruda mine was again connected with the Słupiec mine into one enterprise under the name Kopalnia Węgla Kamiennego Nowa Ruda (Hard Bituminous Coal Mine Nowa Ruda). It was the biggest mine in the Lower Silesia coal basin - the total length of mining excavations was about 65  km on the field of Słupiec and 35 km on the field of Piast. The employment in the Nowa Ruda mine amounted to 6 thousand persons, and the annual output developed within the limits of 1 million tonnes of coal and 100 thousand tonnes of the fireproof slate.


In Nowa Ruda a coking coal little contaminated with sulphur was extracted on 7 levels. However, the complicated geological structure and geometry of the deposit made the mechanization of works below the ground impossible so with time the mining became more and more expensive, and in the end appeared to be unprofitable. After all, it had been decided to liquidate the mines and the last coal was taken out of the field of Piast on the 15th of September 1994.


In 1995 an underground part was liquidated, leaving the complex of excavations about 750 m long by the drift Lech, in which pupils of the MiningVocational School underwent practice, during which they were taught their future profession


After the liquidation of mineshafts and their flooding of almost all the underground pavements, in 1996 on the mining field of Piast a Museum of the Mining had been opened which after organizational and property paradigm shifts is made available at present as an Underground Tourist Route under the name Kopalnia Węgla Kamiennego Nowa Ruda (Hard Bituminous Coal Mine Nowa Ruda).

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