Model of a hot-dip galvanizing plant, 1991

© Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
© Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
Collection Area
Production Technology
1990 - 1999
At the moment this object is not published in the museum.

One of the plainer models on show at the Technisches Museum Wien, made by the VÖEST modelling workshop. The original plant is said to have galvanised 210,000 tonnes of sheet steel a year.

Zinc has been used as an alloy metal for centuries, for example for brass, which involves smelting copper with zinc ore (calamine). It was only much later that Europe gained a more precise knowledge of the metal. Zinc production was a big problem; indeed, at the temperatures necessary for its smelting, it would evaporate because of its low boiling point and escape from the furnaces along with the other gases. Since the late 18th century, zinc ore has therefore been mixed with charcoal and indirectly heated in a horizontal retort (muffle). The pure zinc would then condense in a hermetically sealed environment.

The brittle but inexpensive metal was initially used to manufacture roof sheet metal. In the 1820s zinc was also used to cast busts, architectural embellishments and other objects. The metal had long been known to resist well to corrosion, and around 1836 the first plants began to hot-galvanize steel to prevent it from rusting. In Austria, Georg von Winiwarter in the town of Gumpoldskirchen was the first to start such a production around 1851.

Zinc also became important in the manufacture of paktong, or cupronickel, an alloy of copper and nickel. Previously in widespread use in China, this metal alloy found its way into European goods manufacture under many different names. Alfred Krupp and Alexander Schoeller in Berndorf for example manufactured cutlery that shone like silver under the trade name ‘Alpacca’. In Vienna, Alexander Markus Beschorner found a particular use for it, running one of the continent’s largest zinc coffin factories. Due to its many uses, production of the metal increased 550 times between 1806 and 1866.

Manufacturer: Modelling workshop of VÖEST-Alpine Stahl Linz AG

Manufacturing period: 1991

Inv.Nr. 66542/1

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