A strong symbol of the industrial heritage of the Fensch Valley, the Blast furnace U4 is the last of the six blast furnaces at the Uckange steel complex. Witness to the tremendous economic boom of the entire region in the 1960s and 1980s, this "iron monster" died out in 1991 to come back to life and open to the public in 2007, after two years of work. It is one of the rare testimonies of the 20th century steel industry preserved today in France.

Listed in the Supplementary Inventory of Historical Monuments by the Ministry of Culture, the U4 blast furnace park extends over an area of 12 hectares of industrial wilderness, with the highest points being the chimney at 82 meters and the "nacelle" from the blast furnace at 71 meters. The U4 is accompanied by additional technical elements (storage of raw materials, loading system, casting hall, gas purification, etc.) as well as several buildings necessary for operating the blast furnace (electrical substation, mechanical workshops, compressors, blower and boilers). This site allows a simplified reading of the process of production of the cast iron.

Mecilor Association

When the last blast furnace at the plant shut down in December 1991, the decision was quickly taken to keep a witness to the iron and steel past. The Mécilor association was then created with the objectives of animating and boosting the operation of conservation of the heritage of the Uckange site.

Mecilor's volunteers, for the most part steelworkers by trade, participate in the construction of a new history in these places by offering the public of the U4 blast furnace park guided tours of the site combining the history of the place and testimony of their experience within the factory.

Mecilor also works to archive, collect and tell the story of the old factory, combining technical, social and historical stories. Finally, the association ensures the integration of the project in a global tourist environment.

The tours

The U4 blast furnace park is a place to be visited, discovered and apprehended. Through the guided tours offered by volunteers from the Mécilor association, the public will be able to perceive and understand the operation of the factory in its technical, historical and above all human dimensions.

These are offered on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays (except Monday) at 2.15 p.m. and 4.30 p.m. as well as by appointment throughout the season (only in French).

Historical references

  • 1890: foundation by the Stumm brothers, German industrialists, of the Uckange factory with 4 blast furnaces
  • 1904: construction of two additional blast furnaces
  • 1960-1980 : factory in full development, witness to the tremendous economic boom of the whole region
  • 1991 : final closure of the factory
  • 2001 : registration of the old factory by the Ministry of Culture in the Supplementary Inventory of Historical Monuments
  • 2005 : acquisition by the Agglomeration Community of Val de Fensch
  • 2006-2007 : primary safety works
  • October 2007 : first opening to the public, inauguration of the work "Tous les Soleils" by Claude LEVEQUE and start of the cultural, heritage and tourist program.

Picture : CAVF