The Iron and Steel Museum aims to unite culture, industry, leisure and history, as a new model of interest and knowledge. It includes routes guided by the industrial archeology of the Nalón region and has a reception center for visitors that is inside a truncated refrigerant from the old Fábrica de la Felguera.
Traditionally the axis of the Asturian economy has been mining and steel, with blast furnaces in La Felguera, Mieres, Avilés and Gijón. The past splendor of this activity, and the present times of forced reconversion, are sheltered in the Iron and Steel Museum (MUSI), located in one of the pioneering councils of this sector in Spain: Langreo. This museum is the natural complement of Mining Museum (MUMI), in EL Entrego.
El «refrigerante de Valnalón» It is a construction that is part of the Industrial Heritage of Asturias and has been recently conditioned so that culture lovers have access to a peculiar collection. On the outside, the robust fireplace has been decorated with a multicolored band that serves to identify it in the distance and give it a museum tone. No longer smoke, now inside the history and ideas boil. Inside the immense cone, the process that leads the iron ore to become steel is perfectly illustrated. The history and sociology of the work in the factories, the life of the workers' settlements in the vicinity and the territorial development of the cities associated with this industry are also explained to us.
For this, the MUSI has machinery and work elements from the old factories, informative information panels, audiovisual room, library, etc. The intention is clearly show the process of industrialization that the Asturian mining basins experienced since the 19th century.
First steps of the Asturian steel industry
The businessman from La Rioja Pedro Duro founded in 1857 the company Duro y Compañía, which became the most important steel center in Spain. With the arrival of this entrepreneur, the valley, basically cattle and mining until then, underwent a gradual transformation. With the iron and steel growth, a trail of nearby cities was created that gave work to thousands of Asturians. All of them, like La Felguera, developed in the shadow of blast furnaces and their derived industry, leaving in the end a very outstanding socio-cultural legacy.
In the year 1900, Duro y Compañía became the Metallurgical Company Duro-Felguera, SA, and in 1902 it started trading on the Stock Exchange. In 1920 is the largest coal company in the country, thanks to whose benefits are undertaken important technical transformations of the steel business. During the 1940 and 1950 years, mining and steel found a very favorable environment. Duro will dominate the national market together with Altos Hornos de Vizcaya until 1960, decade in which the beginning of the mining and industrial restructuring process is marked. In 1961 the Union of Asturian Steelworks (UNINSA) is created, formed by Duro Felguera, the Mieres Factory and the Factory of the Asturian Industrial Society, germ of what would later be ENSIDESA, to which all the iron and steel assets of Duro Felguera pass. .
To analyze this trajectory, to revive it and to study it in depth, MUSI also has training, research, documentation and its own publications. In the Audiovisual Hall they are projected two documentaries: «El proceso de elaboración del acero» y «Desmantelamiento de los hornos altos de la antigua fábrica». Después, accedemos a the first floor of the refrigerant where there is a collection of minerals and tools of the time. The distribution of the contents is thematic and is organized in five differentiated zones. The space used for exhibitions is completely transparent, with the incentive of feeling inside an industrial chimney. If we look up, behind a glazed platform, we discover the sky framed in a huge circular mouth.
But the imposing reception center does not exhaust everything offered by the Iron and Steel Museum, and the visits do not end here, rather they begin. It is the starting point for other optional visits: «La vivienda obrera en La Felguera: los espacios de vivir» y «La Felguera, el espíritu emprendedor de Pedro Duro y el origen y desarrollo de un núcleo de población», que llevan
al visitante por dos de las zonas de Langreo que más cambiaron durante esa época industrial y que conservan en perfecto estado las huellas que dejaron los trabajadores y propietarios de la antigua fábrica: casas obreras, «chalet de los ingenieros», farolas y quiosco de la música en el Parque…
The Museum, in short, returns to the town of La Felguera industrial roots that were about to be forgotten by a reconversion that seems to have no end, making available to the visitor its history and its present.Text: © Ramón Molleda for desdeasturias.com
Information of interestAddress / Location:
Technological City Valnalón
C / Hornos Altos s / n
33930 - Langreo
Telephone: 985 67 84 77
More information: Iron and Steel Museum