Rhein-Museum Koblenz

Exhibition Charlottenstraße 53A, 56077 Koblenz, DE

The Rhein-Museum is a museum of cultural history. It shows the life of the people on the river but also the hydrological conditions caused by the Rhine, such as floods and ice conditions. Like in a book, the visitor of the museum can open and visit different chapters.



Das Rhein-Museum Koblenz ist ein kulturhistorisches Museum in Koblenz, das das Leben am Rhein unt...

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Room 1: New Hall

Charlottenstraße 53a, 56077 Koblenz, DE

The Rhine Museum, Koblenz was founded in 1912 and counts as one of the oldest Museums in the State of Rhinelandpfalz.It is supperted by the Society of the Rhine Museum which anyone can join.

The Rhine Museum is a cultural-historical Institution. It illustrates the life of those people living on or by the River, as well as the hydrological eventualities caused by the Rhine, such as flooding and freezing.

Just as is a book, visitors can explore different chapters and topics. In the Entrance Hall large objects are on exhibit, In the older house our permanent exhibitiom is on display and special collections will be shown in the upper floors of the entrance hall.

The team of the Rhine Museum wish you an informative, enjoyable and enlightening visit.

The Ehrenbreitstein Boat

Charlottenstraße 53a, 56077 Koblenz, DE

On the 5th of May 1998, during the building of the reservoir for the Ehrenbreitstein flood prevention scheme, the wooden remains of a boat were found at the depth of 18 feet. Altogether three boats were discovered, lying parallel to one another.

The most complete, 22 feet in length is well preserved, and can be viewed in the Rhine Museum.

A silver coin found in the second of the boats, dated 1654, confirmed the boat as being from the second part of the seventeenth century.

The Ehrenbreitstein boat is important not only because of its age but also because of the quality of the remains.The rump of the ship exemplifies the tradion of boatbuilding in the area of the middle Rhine, of which there had been until then no surviving example. It is remarkable for the double planking and the Stevenkonstruktion. This is a method found on no other existing wooden Rhine ship, thus making the Ehrenbreitstein discovery unique in the world.

Josef Breitbach

Charlottenstraße 53A, 56077 Koblenz, DE

Joseph Breitach was born in Ehrenbreitstein in 1903. He grew up in the former Ehrenbreitstein school building, which has housed the Rhine Museum since 1995. Both Koblenz and Ehrenbreitstein form the background for his first novel, „The Transformation of Susanne Dasseldorf“ 1932, which was banned by the Nazi Party in 1933. Breitbach emigrated to France where he continued his literary work After the end of the war he worked unfailingly for the re-establishment of relations between France and Germany. Breitbach died in Munich in 1980.


Charlottenstraße 53a, 56077 Koblenz, DE

The Rhine supplies drinking water for thousands of people living on the banks of the Rhine. It's water is habitat to mussels, snails, crabs, smaller animals and fish. During the course of the 20th century, the water quality has steadily deteriorated, with the result that many of these fish and small animals have vanished. In recent time, the water quailty has improved, thanks to environmental measures, so that the variety of wildlife can be restabilised.

Hydrology is the study of the relationship between water quality and wildlife.

Hydrology (deriving from the Greek - knowledge of water) concerns itself with the distribution of water in space and time, it's circulation, and it's physical, chemical and biological properties. Fields of work include the collection of data relating to water quality and reserves.

The water of the river Rhine is also examined for information about its characteristics. The river is measured for it's width and the speed of it's current. Many different pieces of equipment are used for these assessments.

Steam Engine room

Charlottenstraße 53a, 56077 Koblenz, DE

In the machine room, various steam machines are on display that were in use, either as main or assisting machines until recent times. The large steam engine of a dutch floating dredger is roughly one hundred years old. Such machines were also used to power tugs at this time.

In order to ease and quicken manual workprocesses, steam machines were used as much as possible during the so-called „Steam Age“, which lasted from the end of the 19th till the middle of the 20th century

Steam machines were used for river-dredging as well as for the loading and unloading of ships.

Three-cylinder triple expansion steam engine

From as early as 1900 until the 1960's, steam-tugs fitted with propellers had been in use on the Rhine. Upright steam motors, like that here on display, powered the propellers, in contrast to horizontal ones, which were used to power paddle steamers.

Three-cylinder triple expansion steam engine

Charlottenstraße 53a, 56077 Koblenz, DE

From as early as 1900 until the 1960's, steam-tugs fitted with propellers had been in use on the Rhine. Upright steam motors, like that here on display, powered the propellers, in contrast to horizontal ones, which were used to power paddle steamers.

Rhine Maritime Shipping

Charlottenstraße 53a, 56077 Koblenz, DE

Sometimes Rhine-maritime boats or coastal motor boats could be seen on the Rhine. The attentive observer could notice them straight away because of their compactness. However they travelled only seldomly, from Duisburg up the Rhine to the sea itself.

As early as 1829 an attempt was made, with the brig „Joseph and Anna“, a two-masted sailing-ship, to establish a route from the river to the coast.

The first Rhine-to-sea steamboat appeared at the end of the 19th century. The Badisch- Steampropeller-Powered Ships -Company opened its route from the Rhine to London in 1885. In 1887 it was renamed the Rhine-and-Sea Shipping Company, based in Cologne. Four steam ships were to travel regulary in a weekly rhythmn between London and the docks on the Rhine. Between 1750 and 1935, over 150 new companies were founded and the Rhine-to-sea travel expanded rapidly.

Model of a Rhine tug

Charlottenstraße 53a, 56077 Koblenz, DE

River-rope-tugs, commonly known as „witches“, pulled themselves on a steel cable which stretched all the way from Bonn to Bingen. It was anchored on the river bed, and the boats travelled against the current, up the river. The rope was held by two jaws on the pulley. A steering rudder was neccesary on the bow as well as the stern so that the boat could be kept on course at bends in the river. Down-river, where no barges needed to be pulled, the tug could travel independently from the cable

The steam engline which powered the journey upstream and the Propeller downstream had between 170 and 180 horsepower.

Due to the fact that this system was a handicap to all other riverboats, as well as the fact that the cable contantly tore, and that the motor system was continually being improved, this complicated technique was abandoned in 1905. However on the rivers Main and Neckar, the system stayed in use for quite some time, the steel cable being replaced by a chain.

Model of the „Fortschritt“

Charlottenstraße 53a, 56077 Koblenz, DE

Merchants from Cologne ordered the building of this boat for a direct route from their city to London The „Hoffnung“ or in english „Hope“ is the first sailboat built in a german dock and satisfied all expectations, in methods of construction as well as seaworthiness.

Model of the Rhein-Seaboat „Maas“

Charlottenstraße 53a, 56077 Koblenz, DE

Boats of this kind, known as coastal motorboats (Kümos) travelled up the Rhine to Cologne, smaller boats as far as Mainz.

The „Maas“, brought into service in 1965 by the Duisburg company Schepers, was used for scheduled travel from the Rühr to Scandinavia. She was 65.30 Meters long. Equipped with a 1,000 horse-power machine she could attain a speed of 10.9 knots, (approximately 19 kilometers an hour).

Pilotboat Bi 653 - Bingen

Charlottenstraße 53a, 56077 Koblenz, DE

Since the very beginning of boat-travel on on the Rhine, the fast currents in the mountain areas were a source of real danger. In order to master the eddies and sudden depths, as well as the rocks and boulders present in the river itself. Particularly between St. Goar and Bingen is the water very difficult for the steersman to negotiate. Boatsmen from the area were required, who were familiar with the river. They were later known as pilots.

The deepening and widening of the Rhine, as well as the equipping of ships with modern navigation systems were to make the role of the pilots redundant in the second part of the 20th century.

The closure of the St. Goar Pilotcompany in 1981 symbolises the extinction of the Rhine pilots.
The pilot boat bi 653, belonging to the pilots Karl and Werner Hillesheim (Father and son) of Kaub, was in use from 1929 till 1960. The builder was Georg Mühleisen, and the price in 1929, 230 Reichsmarks equivalent to 1,000 Euros today.

This pilotboat, a sloop was presented to the Rhein-Museum in 1995, after the restoration.


Charlottenstraße 53a, 56077 Koblenz, DE

The romantic middle-Rhineland, between Cologne and Mainz, has become a tourist hot-spot for many thousands of tourists. Until its discovery by the „Romantics“, the river was a down-to-earth route of transport, nothing more or less. Dutch painters were the first to discover the romantic side of this river in the 17th century. However it was predominately English painters who discovered „Rhine Romantic“ in the 18th and 19th century. In their turn, they inspired poets and composers for their own creations.

A central theme for Rhine-landscapes was always the combination of architecture and Nature. Castles, especially the ruined castles above the Rhine, as well as the buildings which suddenly appeared in the middle of the river, were particarly appealing for the tourists, especially when bathed in picturesque sunlight.

The row of highlights, like pearls in a necklace, from Koblenz to Bingen, are intrinsically embedded in the landscape. Up to the present day, they are destination for lovers of wine and the romantic, for lovers of culture and for clubs and associations, with the accompanying Rhine wine a speciality.

And so everything comes together, Nature, Architecture, History and Legend, High art, Kitsch and Commerce, Music and something to tickle the taste bubs. And a dash of 19th century patriotism, which all help to make this international river, at the same time, supposedly the most German river of all.


Charlottenstraße 53a, 56077 Koblenz, DE

With the increasing boom in Rhine-tourism, souvenirs became increasingly in demand, both as momentos and proof of the stay itself. Where many tourists had and have diaries and sketchbooks to preserve their memories, so were commercial souvenirs available to be bought. Travellers, at the beginning very well-heeled, expected high-quality souvenirs. Hand-painted porcelain with gold leaf, pictures in cork of the castles on the Rhine or valuable panoramas of the riverbank.

Only later, with the advent of mass tourism, was to begin the industrial manufacture of souvenirs. Especially favoured were postcards with pictures of the Rhine or maps of the course of the Rhine itself. Cheaper porcelain was produced, painted or printed with Rhine-pictures, and sometimes the absurbity of the manufacturers knew no limits – southseashells with native dolls, or bavarian leather shorts printed with the name Koblenz. Souvenirs are just as popular today as a hundred years ago.

The Cologne-Düsseldorf Steam Ship Company

Charlottenstraße 53a, 56077 Koblenz, DE

Travellers have always liked to use ships as a method of travel. Particularly in times of uncomfortable roadways, where the passengers had to share very limited space with others in a coach, and where the railways had not yet connected the towns on the Rhine, a boat was a very welcome form of travel.

In 1826 The Prussian-Rhine-Steamboat-Shareholders-Company was formed.The steamboat Concordia was taken into service in 1827, journeying from Mainz to Cologne.

Together with the competitors from Dusseldorf, passenger and freight transport was separated on the Rhine. In 1843 the companies merged and founded the Cologne-Düsseldorfer. Freight transport, which contributed a large part of the turn-over, gradually lost its impoortance, due to better transport facilites. Day trips and outings on the other hand won in importance. Ship's construction adapted itself to the changing circumstances. The most recent development in the steam ship was in 1995, with the complete renovation of the paddle-steamer „Goethe“ in a dock in Holland. It remains as a historically protected example of steam ship travel on the Rhine.

From 1945 onwards, the decline of the Rhine steamboat is to be seen, in exchange for the ever-increasing Cruise ships with place for up to 3,000 passengers, used as holiday ships to connect the most important towns on the Rhine between Rotterdam and Basel.

Boat travel on the Rhine

Charlottenstraße 53a, 56077 Koblenz, DE

There have always been boats on the Rhine – simple barks, sailboats, or boats towed by horses. Boats would be steered or pulled (later in the 19th and 20th centuries) upstream. The 19th century witnessed a technical revolution with the advent of the steam engine. Sailingships vanished, wooden ships replaced by iron boats. Enormous paddlesteamers used as tugs towed freight-barges – later to be relaced in turn by diesel sloops. Propellers were to replace paddle-wheels.In the 1960's, barges vanished, while selfdriving motorboats, and push- and couple convoys dominated the Rhine-scenery.
Today, it is modern Motorboats used as containerships which are underway on the Rhine.

Model of a pulled Oberländer

Charlottenstraße 53a, 56077 Koblenz, DE

This ship, derived from celtic tradition, was used to transport goods between Cologne and Mainz, and was, with minor alterations, in use until 1700. The boats were pulled upstream: people or horses pulled the boats with long ropes, that stretched from the tow mast to the river bank. The lives of the tow-horses and tow-people was hard and dangerous. The horses had to walk sideways, away from the water. Because of the one-sided weight they couldn't walk straight. The rider sat side-saddle, so that he could jump down quickly in case of danger. He carried an axe so that he could cut the rope in case of whirlpools or sudden depths.Often, is this the only way to save the horses.

The towers, line-riders or Halfer ( a male castrated deer), as they are known on the Mosel, are poorly paid. A daily wine ration was part of his payment. Overnight, the boats stop near inns,where the lads drank their wine and the horses were cared for.

Inns or Guesthouses called „Zuim Anker“, just as the towpaths which still exist on the Rhine and its tributaries, are relicts from this time.

The first steamship on the Rhine „De Zeeuw“

Charlottenstraße 53a, 56077 Koblenz, DE

With the rise of the cities in the middle ages, the rivers gained in importance as routes for commerce. Boat travel became a very important economic factor, from which ship-builders, boatsmen, tow-men and merchants all lived. Boats, equipped with oars, sails or tow-masts used the rivers. The form, method of building and source of energy were all dependent on local factors, such as depth of the water, type of riverbed and river-valley.

The basic type of freight-ship on the lower Rhine is the „Kölsche Aak“, that can be sailed on the broader, flatter river landscape, and is capable of more complicated sailing possibilies. On the Upper and Middle Rhine the Oberländer boats were in use. Because of the narrow and rocky stretches, they are shallowly built and have moveable rudders. Upstream, the Oberländer could and would be paddled, and later, at the end of the 16th century, sails would be used.

The large Dutch ships sailed to Cologne, where their freight would be unloaded with the use of treadwheel cranes, stored and then sold. Unsold goods would then be transported upstream with smaller Oberländer and then sold in the markets of Bonn or Koblenz.

The age of the sail or towboat only came to an end with the steam engine and it's use in Shipping.

The first steamship on the Rhine „De Zeeuw“

Charlottenstraße 53, 12555 Koblenz, DE

„Die Zeeuw“ was one of the first Steamboats to travel on the Rhine. The maiden Voyage of this 33 meter long boat, was probably in 1824 during extremely high flooding. These inclement circumstances meant that the „Zeeuw“ had to turn around at Kalb and come back. The Steamboat could reach 50 horsepower.
It can be viewed through a window. Air could be transported to the machine-room through a wind-bag hung outside. The cannons on the bug were used for signalling

Boat journeys on the Rhine: Steam and Motorboat

Charlottenstraße 53a, 56077 Koblenz, DE

With the invention of the steam engine there began an unprecedented industrial rvolution in Europe.The steam engine powered machines and moved railway engines. It was only a matter of time before they would be used to power ships as well.In 1807, Robert Fulton benefited from the commercial usage of steam power with his ship „Clermont“, on the Hudson river, America. In 1816 the steamer „the Defiance“ puffed its way upstream on the Rhine to Cologne.

It led to the founding of steamship companies. The highly efficient steamships brought about the end of the barge and sailing boats. As early as 1827 Steamship companies were offering regular ferryjourneys between the towns on the Rhine.

Motorboats were already being used at the turn of the 20th century. In the beginning gas engines were used and from 1910 the first diesel engines. Gradually, the diesel motor was to replace the steam engine but even in 1938 only 17% of all ships had been fitted with diesel engines.The age of the motor boat began after the 2nd World war.

Model of the Paddlesteamer „Franz Haniel X“

Charlottenstraße 53a, 56077 Koblenz, DE

The 77 meter long boat was in service from the beginning of the 20th century until around 1958. Paddleboats of this type pulled 5 or 6 carrierboats, filled with coal from the Rühr, from Duisburg to Mannheim, and later to Karlsruhe and Basel. Because of the large quantity of manpower required, it was taken out of service with the arrival of the motorboat. The last to go out of servie was the „Oskar Huber in 1973. The machine was capable of up to 2,000 horse power.

Model of the pushingboat „Franz Haniel XI“

Charlottenstraße 53a, 56077 Koblenz, DE

This pushing boat, fitted with two motors both capable of 560 horse power was used on the Rhine for the transportation of sandstone in the 1960's. Pushing boats were connected to unmanned, unpowered rectangular boats, which would fit together to become one unit. In the 1960's they were the most up-to-date development of inland shipment. Today they can only very rarely be seen on the Rhine. They have been replaced by much more modern transport concepts.


Charlottenstraße 53a, 56077 Koblenz, DE

From the very beginning of the first settlements until the first half of the 20th century fish have been caught, with the hand, the spear or bow and arrow, with rod and hook, or wíth help of pestizide destroyed and then raked out of the water. Fish traps, nets and landing nets are the fisherman's tools up to the present day. Specialist methods of transpost were developed, for example the fishing boat also known as the cormorant or Aalschokke.

Of special importance at the beginning of the 20th century was the fishing of salmon and eels. The stock has been secured by migration from the North sea. Regulations to protect against overfishing are becoming evermore important, more so as increasing impurites in the water cause the reduction of the stocks and types of fish. In the 19th century fishery was for many families the main source of income, while today there are no more fisherman who live from this as an occupation.

Schoolposter: Industrial docks.

Charlottenstraße 53a, 56077 Koblenz, DE

With industrialisation and the foundation of factories on the waterfront began a dangerous contamination of the water. Steel mills and manufacturing factories for the steel industry were springing up everywhere. The Rhine was the most important means of transport and Duisburg the centre of tranportation. The Rhein was the main artery for the Ruhr area and the Ruhr the symbol of power and ecomomic strength.

On our blackboard „Duisburg docks“ is the vision of how an industrial landscape in the 1930's could have looked – steaming ships and smoking chimneys suggest industry, increased productivity, determination and strength – chimneys are the trade mark of the industrial landscape on the Rhine. Eventually, the fishermen were to notice that fish stocks are decreasing, are ill and inedible. Fish has lost its room to breathe – its living space.

Model of an Aalsckokker (The Cormorant)

Charlottenstraße 53a, 56077 Koblenz, DE

The cormorant is apparatus which was used on the Rhine and Mosel until the early 20th century, for the catching of eels. It's name comes from middle-Dutch where the word Schokken means something like pushing. The ship originally had no motor and was in earlier times in Holland propelled by pushing (punting) in order to reach the landing place.


Charlottenstraße 53a, 56077 Koblenz, DE

Since Roman times the Rhine has been an important means of transport between the North and the South. It became one of the most important merchant trading routes in the Middle Ages, giving the adjoining land-owners the possibility of demanding customs duties.The Rhineland, a political and economic centre, became attractive for both secular and worldly society. Castles wre built in order to secure their lands, to defend themselves and in order to extract customs taxes more effectively.

The Rhine castles are generally in the form of a cliff castle, built half way up a mountain. Surrounding walls with battlements, pinnacles holes for shooting, machinases for tipping boiling tar, drawbridges and occasionally a shielding wall in the direction of the hillside, provided necessary protection.At the end of the 16th century almost all the Rhine castles were destroyed. They were not capable of withstanding modern weapons and their masters retreated to more comfortable palaces.

As a result of the Rhine Romantic movement and through the interest of the prussian Royal Family, many castles were rebuilt and/or extended. Today, most of the castles and museums are open to the public: others are used as youth hospitals or hotels.

Model of Schloss Stolzenfels

Charlottenstraße 53a, 56077 Koblenz, DE

Built between 1242 and 1259 by the Archbishop of Trier, Arnold II of Isenberg, Stolzenfels was used from 1300 as a customs station for the diocese. After it's destruction in 1689, as a result of the Prussian war of Inheritance, the castle fell into ruins. The town of Koblenz gave it as a present to the later prussian King Frederick William the 4th. Driven by his enthusiasm for the romantic Rhine Landscape he rebuilt it and used it from 1847 as his summer residence. The ruins were integrated into the new building, and the rooms were decorated with furniture inspired by the middle ages. After the first world war, the castle became national property. It is the symbol of visionary Rhine romanticism and since 2002 has been taken into the UNESCO World Inheritance „Upper Middle Rhine“

Life on the Rhine

Charlottenstraße 53a, 56077 Koblenz, DE

The Rhine, economically the most important river in Europe, in the past physical and commercial frontier, has also brought people together.With the establishment of roman settlements began lively trading. Ships transported goods on the as yet untamed waters and with industrialisation and the introduction of the steam engine, the river in its entirety, from the Dutch delta to Basel is a comfortable means of transporting all sorts of goods.

From early ages the harbour towns knew how to gain advantage from their position. The transportation of goods in past centuries also brought with it the possibility of extracting taxes for and from the boatsmen. Unloading Dutch produce in Cologne into smaller boats, meant that they were first offered to the local tradesmen. Un- and reloading of goods gave work to many people.

Many people on the Rhein owed their existence to shipping and fishery. Duisburg, harbour for the Ruhr area, would be expanded to become the world's largest merchant harbour. Working on a ship has lost it's relevance today – fishing has completely lost ist's importance as an economic factor. Tourism ist much more important today, a challenge that the populace has to rise to, after the recognition of the Rhineland as a „World Inheritance area.

Model of the Pontoonbridge in Koblenz.

Charlottenstraße 53a, 56077 Koblenz, DE

Until 1819 Koblenz was linked to Ehrenbreitstein by a flying bridge or so-called Yaw-bridge. On order of the prussian military government this was replaced by a 339 meter long pontoon bridge. The ships bridge, built in the form of an arch going upstream was built by Family Stinnes at a cost of 40:000 Taler, equivalent to 2 million Euros. It was opened on the 19th of April 1819. It consisted of ten wooden yokes, two passage ships and three bridge-ships to the land. Their foundations were secured with ropes and anchors,

In the time that followed, the ropes were replaced with chains and in 1841 the bridge was anchored in a flat form instead of arches. In the course of the 19th century machine winches replaced hand winches, and from 1883 the wooden pontoons were replaced by those of iron.
During the world war, the pontoon bridge was dismantled. A rebuilding was financially not viable: since 1949 the number of ships passing through Koblenz hat increased dramatically.

Model of the Crane in Andernach

Charlottenstraße 53a, 56077 Koblenz, DE

From the middle ages onwards, millstones from the „Eifelstoneindustry“ and ground gravel for cement could be loaded In ships with help of the Rhine crane in Andernach.

The approximately one metre thick walls of the crane, built between 1554 and 1557, are stengthened through the construction of struts. A look inside reveals the exemplory technique. Both treadwheels are set in motion by people who move within the wheel. The result is that the chain will be wound and lifts the stapled millstones. The Andernach Rhine crane was in operation until 1911.

The Rhine as waterway

Charlottenstraße 53a, 56077 Koblenz, DE

In 1814/15 the Paris peace treaty regulated free passage on the Rhine. The Central Commison for Rhine Shipping was founded. The1831 agreement between the Rhine States guaranteed freedom of shipping. All taxes and customs for Shipping were abolished in 1868.

The increase in steamboats led to a Regulation of the right to travel on the rivers. The basis was the, in 1815 undersigned, Act of the Viennese Congress. The Police regulations of 1840/41 were the predecessors of the current Rhineshipping-Policeregulations.

In 1817 the straightening of the Rhine began, to plans by Tulla, later to be completed by Nobiling.

With the development of the Rhine as a waterway and a recussitation ot freight and passenger transport, a succession of specialized ships was neede for reasons of security. Inspection boats belonging to the Water and Shipping Administration were used for water control, for towing services or for personell or material transport while policeboats or control boats were used at the scenes of accidents or wrecks and firebrigade-boats in case of fire.

The extension of the Rhine

Charlottenstraße 53a, 56077 Koblenz, DE

The Rhine had already become important in Roman times. In the middle ages waterways were the preferred routes of travel for the passage of people and goods. The expansion or alteration of the Rhine was limited in this time to the building-up of the paths on the banks or tow-paths to pull the barges.

In the 18th century the river-banks were strengthened and the towns made secure against flooding.In 1817 the „correction“ of the Rhine was begun, to the plans of Tulla, with the priority on Protection against flooding and the reclaiming of land. In 1828, work on the correction of the Rhine In Hesse was begun. In 1830, the Bingen basin was widend from 7 to 23 metres and in 1851 the Rheinriveradministration was founded in Koblenz under the direction of Nobiling. The stretches of the river with the shallowest water, and those with the most hazards for shipping were to be regulated.

For the correction of the Rhine, special machines were to be used. For the removal of boulders steam-drills were to be used, while for their destruction, weights were to be dropped on them, and finally chisels. In 1857 Nobiling ordered the construction of the first diving shaft, followed in 1873 by three more. The work lasted for the whole of the 19th and 20th century.

Early mankind on the Rhine

Charlottenstraße 53a, 56077 Koblenz, DE

From earliest time Mankind has setttled on the banks of the Rhine. It was a border and trade route and brought together peoples from very different cultures.Noone has ever described in a better way the mingling of peoples than Carl zuckmayer in „Das Teufels General“ (The Devil's General)

Stone tools, found on the Rhine and Moselle, prove that 900,000 years ago people sttled on the banks of the rivers in the Rhineland.

The display concerns itself with the first settlers on the Rhine and shows where they came from and to which race they belonged. It traces the roots of the Europeans over Asia and Africa, to our earliest forefathers, prehistoric man.

Research in this field began nearby, with the discovery of the first Rheinland-man „Homo neanderthalensis“.

Skull of Homo erctus

Charlottenstraße 53a, 56077 Koblenz, DE

Eugen Dubois, a dutch colonist began the search for early man in Indonesia in 1891. He was convinced that the link between animal and man, the apeman, was to be found in Asia. On the island of Java the exposed layers of earth on the river Solo promised the fossilized remains of early man. His search was succesful. Between 1891 and 1893 in the layers of Trinil, on the banks of the river Solo in central Java he found thigh-bones parts of a human skull with over-developed eye sockets and one molar. They come from an early man, who could walk upright, use fire and tools and who lived in social groups. Dubois called this upright man „Pithecathropus erectus“. Later it would be classified as„Homo erectus“.

This species of man could also be the first to have found the Rhine and its tributaries as a homestead.

The oldest evidence of man on the Rhine is not from bones, however, but from stone tools. A pebble-tool, found in Mühlheim-Kärlich has been dated at around 900,000 years old:a stone tool found in Winningen at 800,000. Tools such as these were created by Homo erectus, whose race had spread from Africa to Europe and Asia.

Remains of Homo neanderthalensis (Cast)

Charlottenstraße 53a, 56077 Koblenz, DE

The discovery of bones in 1856 led to research into our ancestors. Next to a skull were found other bones, which can be dated to about 40;000 years old.
Much later than Homo erectus, homo neathanderthalensis - the Neanderthaler – settled on the banks and neighbouring valleys of the Rhine. Found near Düsseldorf, the place where he was found has given him its name. The find of bones provoked heated discussions from the very beginning, right up to the present day. Over the course of years Neandertaler have been found over the whole of Europe.

Homo Sapiens

Charlottenstraße 53a, 56077 Koblenz, DE

At the same time that Homo erectus established himself in Asia, and in Europe Homo Heidelbergensis was to become the ancestor of the Neandertaler, Homo Egaster was developing to become the earliest form of Homo Sapiens. He wandered over many different routes to Europe.

In Europe Homo sapiens came into contact with the Neandertaler.Most probably they lived for thousands of years next to one another. While the Neanderthal became extinct at the latest 25,000 years ago, Homo Sapiens survived and settled in the whole of Europe.

In 1968, during excavation work near to the Rhine, where in the Neuwied area, Gönnersdorf, is to be found, a stone age Settlement was uncovered. Stone and bone instruments, engraved plates and smallstatues of female figures were all to be found.

The people lived in at least three large round buildings and a further three tents about 12,000 years ago. The houses, whose floors were laid out with flagstones have a cooking place or grate, were built on a construction of stakes with a pole in the middle, and a covering of horse-skin. The tribe lived from the gathering of food and from hunting. They lived together with animals from the Steppes and with mammoths, in a barren landscape with views over the Rhein and the Eifel with its volcanos.

Waste products of the steam engine

Steam engines were generally heated with coal. Coal is formed by a chemical process which changes remains of wood and plants under high pressure. When this material is burned, waste products remain in the form of ash, and smoke which escapes through the chimney.

For the most part, steam is released through the chimney. It leads to a visible white mist, but is not in itself a health risk. Steam is however mixed with combustion exhaust gases, mainly hydrocarbon and sulphur oxides.

Because of the high carbon content in coal, the burning process releases mainly carbon dioxide, CO2. Carbondioxid is in itself not a health risk, but it remains in the atmosphere and hinders the warmth generated by the sun from returning into space, and contributes to global warming with potentially catastrophic effects. Three quarters of all carbon dioxide produced by man, is a result of the use of fossil fuels.

Added to this, poisonous materials are created during the burning process such as hydrocarbon, sulphur oxides, heavy metals and soot. Soot is created when the burning process is incomplete, and occurs when the supply of air to the oven is insufficient.

Although these poisonous substances are created in the use of the steam engine, a so-called external combustion, as used in steam engines can be more effective in completely burning the fuel than the system used in modern internal combustion engines. This is the reason that considerably less hydrocarbon is produced by a steam engine. Highly poisonous nitrogen oxides are also hardly present. Because of the fact that at the time of the classical steam-engine era there was no exhaust-gas-system, pollutants were spread into the surrounding air, in spite of the fact that the burning process was relatively clean.

How much exhaust fumes are created depends on the size of the motor, the number of revolutions, and the quality of construction of the motor itself.

The combustion process has become much more environmentally friendly in the last 100 years. In the future it is highly possible that steam motors, built on the same principles as the steam-engine, can be used for blockheating units.

Why were steam engines so large and heavy?

Around 1900 it was not yet possible to create such hard steel as it is today. The seperate parts of a steam-engine therefore had to be made much bigger to cope with the stress factors. At the same time, the quality of the steel varied immensely. In order to be sure that all the individual parts of a machine would hold up, enormous safety factors were built into the construction The individual parts were therefore made even bigger.

In the last decades, engineers have the benefits of much simpler and effective ways of producing steel, and for the design of individual parts for Machines. When we compare the processes, the parts of an old-fashioned steam engine were approximately sixteen times larger than they would be today.

Centrifugal regulater

In order to avoid overstraining a steam-engine, the steam being fed to the pistons has to be controlled. For this reason, the steam-engine has to be fitted with a regulater.

At the time when this regulation of the steam pressure and the number of revolutions was needed there was of course no electronic. The first usable regulaters were mechanical centifugal regulators. They were already being used in the 18th century in steam driven flour mills.

The higher the steam pressure, the faster the flywheel turns in the steam engine. The revolutions of the wheel are transferred to a regulator on an axis, fitted with moveable weights.

The higher the revolutions in the machine, the higher the revolutions in the regulator, and the moving weights are thrown outwards by the generated centrifugal force. The weights are connected to a valve to control the flow of steam. The higher the weights are thrown and the more they are thrown outwards, the more the valve will be closed, and thus limits the supply of steam from the boiler to the machine itself. The revolutions of the steam engine would thus be reduced and the machine would slow down. In this way the revolutions can be controlled, and the machine can be kept at a constant level.

Living conditions in the age of industry

With the invention of the steam engine began the European industrial Revolution in the 19th century. It was to permanently change society. On the one hand the steam engine made possible a formerly unknown economic growth, but on the other brought great disadvantages for the ordinary worker.
Industrial wealth benefitted the factory owners and economic leaders.

Until the late 18th century, most of the population in Europe was employed either on lhe land or in forestry, in fishery or in market gardening. Both travellers and wares could only travel a maximum of 45 Kilometers a day in a coach and then under difficult conditions.Heavier loads could only be transported on the river in sailing boats. To sail upstream was only possible when pulled by manpower or horses, „towed“.

Industry settled traditionally by rivers, so that it could use watermills as a source of energy for the use of machines. The availabilty of steam engines made both production and transportation of goods fully independent from waterflow. Means of transport were very quickly built. Towards the middle of the 19th century there was a large increase in the number of steamboats being used as a method of transport on the rivers, and the building of and expansion of the Railway system led to enormous progress in Germany.

Up to 18 people worked on the steamdriven paddleboats on the Rhine. Especially under deck, where the boilers and steamengines were to be found, the working conditions were very hard. It was confined, hot and the air was full of coal-dust.

The number of Steam-engines increased rapidly as did the number of employees in the factories and Industry. Ever more powerful engines increased the growth of the factories. Workers had to leave their hometowns and move to urban connurbations. Most of then were uneducated without any form of of financial security. Rootlessness, poor wages and illness were just as much the results of Industrialisation as economic development.

Steam indicator

In order to compare the performance of various types of steam-engines, James Watt introduced the concept of horse-power, related to the known performance of the working horse.

In order to compare the machines, a measuring instrument was necessary. Watt developed the vaccuum gauge, with which the steam pressure in the cylinder could be measured. Using these measurements Watt could calculate the loss of pressure on a piston way.

The principle of Watt's vacuum gauge was rapidly developed. From 1802 there were already steam indicators, that could measure the reduction of pressure along the row of pistons. A steam indicator was formed from a small cylinder, about a centimetre in diameter, in which a piston worked against a preloaded spring. Steam pressure moved the piston to which was attached a pad with a pencil which could record the details on paper.

A truly accurate measurement of the workings of the steam engine was first presented in London in 1862, by using a greatly improved steam indicator. By the form of a pressure curve, experts could recognise the quality of the steam-engine. The difference between upper to lower steam pressure could determine the effeciency of the engine. The greater the difference, the better the performance.

Steam generation

On steamships the crew worked under very difficult conditions, especially in machine and boiler-rooms. Boilers and steam-pressure, just like the fires under the boilers, had to be under constant supervision. The correct firing guaranteed the neccessary steam pressure, whereby the source of energy could be wood, coal, oil or diesel. Thermic energy would be released and by the use of flames and smoke gas would heat the boiler walls, and this heat would be tranferred to the water in the boiler until it turned into steam at 100° Centigrade.

The feeding of the fires was manual until around 1880 and mainly with coal. The cost of manpower was very high until at the end of the 19th century, when the feeding of the boilers became mechanical. The newer conversion to fluid forms of energy, enabled a further reduction in manpower.

With the aim of creating ever more steam-pressure, there were incresingly more boiler explosions with disastrous results. Between 1888 and 1907 there were 329 boiler explosions resulting in 507 deaths and many seriously injured. As a result the German States passed laws regulating the design, production, usage and control of the steam-engines. Many Societies were founded to control all of this.

The boiler

Steam is produced in boilers. The energy which can be produced ist determined by the size of the firing and the boiler itself, as well as the desired steam pressure. In the 19th century the size of the boiler and the level of steam pressure was limited due to the lack of technical possibilities. Boilers are constructed from steel plates, tightly fixed together. The contruction of the steel plates alone was difficult. They could be joined together by rows of bolts, which were then covered with hemp, tar, iron putty and lead. The weakest point of the boiler was always the join. From 1830 onwards the holes for the bolts were not precut any more but could be bored in the overlapping steel plates. This technique meant that a higher steam pressure could be used. From 1950 bolts were not used any more – the boilers were welded.

The form of the boiler also changed. Earlier forms were simply round, but soon they would be cylindical. Later. Smaller boilers were constructed connected to one another in order to increase efficiency. Towards the end of the 19th century, flue gas was led with pipes through the boiler itself.

In order to regulate the firing and the pressure in the boiler, the boiler is fitted with a pressure guage, feeding guages for the supply of water, inspection windows to see the waterlevel, shut-off valves and security valves. A chimney assists the discharge of cooled flue gas and produces a clean form of combustion.

Stream engines

This machine is the three-ton two cylinder expansion composite steam engine, from the dredger „Alberich“ to be used for a chain of buckets.

Usually a steam-machine is connected to a boiler, whose steam is led through a system of pipes into the cylinder of the steam machine itself. The pistons will be moved up and down through steam pressure in the cylinder, and this moves the connecting rods and the crankshaft, which in turn moves the flywheel.

Because it is impossible in our museum to set a steam engine in motion, this machine can be started by an electric motor with transmission and a drive chain.

The greek mathematic and engineer Heron of Alexandria busied himself with the idea of a steam engine as early as a century before Christ. He built the first warmth machine with steam pressure to produce a rotary machine in order to power a usable machine. His model was not yet ready to be used in practice.

This principle was taken up again in the 18th Century. The Frenchman Denis Papin und the Englishman Thomas Savery constructed, independently from one another, the first usable Steam-engines. The Scotsman James Watt developed the construction and improved it greatly, which he then patented. In the time in which he lived there was a demand for powerful engines, particularly in mining, and the technical possibilites for the development and construction of larger working steam engines were there. James Watt used all of these possibilities. For this reason his name is symbolic for the invention of the steam engine, up to the present day.

Until the birth of the steam-engine, only water and windmills could be used for the use of machines apart from raw manpower.The beltdrive of of the steam engine could be used to power weaving frames, mills, turners and machines for tools. At first used in mining, steam-engines were soon to be used for transport, both on land and water. Passengerships and freighters, powered by steam engines, would be in service on rivers and seas until the middle of the 20th century.

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