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Martinete (Navafría)

Martinete (Navafría)

In Navafría we can find vestiges of the copper industry that stands out for its Martinete.

We continue to Navafría in search of its martinete, also attracted by the charm of its surroundings and its good weather. Navafría has a well-known recreational area, "El Chorro", with several natural pools in the middle of a splendid pine forest. It is worth going up to the waterfall that forms the Cega River and to know the recreational area and the playground. The copper melting shop is located on the outskirts of the town, so you have to be attentive to the indications of "Ethnographic Museum".

The wit

A pile driver is a ram or mallet moved by a hydraulic wheel which was used to beat or stretch metals. Navafría's was used to beat the copper, with him the cauldrons that were used in the preparation of the traditional kitchen, the bed warmers and the braziers, among other utensils were manufactured. By means of the pounding of the pile driver, it is stretched and given the appropriate shape to the hot metal that has just been taken out of the mold.

History of Ingenuity The Auvergne boilermakers

Since the end of the Middle Ages the boilermakers of the Auvergne kingdom (France) were famous throughout Europe, their activity being documented in several regions of France and Spain. The inhabitants of the French Central Massif, faced with the lack of resources, were forced to emigrate working in all kinds of tasks, acquiring a special fame and prestige in the work of copper. They formed small companies of traveling boilermakers who traveled the entire continent, maintaining the ancestral custom of inheriting the family trade: parents taught the work of copper to their children, giving them when the time came the tools and the business. Choosing the most appropriate place to settle, they valued the proximity of the copper mines and the existence of important cities where to sell their products.

His presence began to increase significantly from the first third of the seventeenth century, with the exploitations increasing, so in the year 1684 a guild of the city of Zaragoza accused them of monopolizing the trade. The Aragonese Courts, pressed by the guilds and before the political situation (in continuous wars with France), imposed strong restrictive measures, even prohibiting them from opening stores and marketing their products if they were not married to natives of the Kingdom of Aragon.

The boilermakers who came to Spain were organized into companies formed by companions and servants, teachers and apprentices. The rules of operation were fixed before starting the march, verbally or with the participation of a French notary.

Since the end of the seventeenth century the presence in Spain of the French martinaire is documented Juan Abán, contracted to perform the technical works of the copper plant of Calamocha (Teruel). The same surname Abán is again found in Priego (Cuenca), where there was also a pile driver. In 1861 two brothers, Eugenio and Manuel Abán Raso, boilermakers from Vozmediano (Soria), where there was a pile driver, settled in Navafría. They bought the 50% of a 1708 water saw, located in the area called Majalcarro, to turn it into a pile driver.

Aniceto Abán, son of Eugenio, built a second masonry downstream that from that moment was called "Martinete de Abajo".

With the change of generations the "Martinete de Abajo" passed from Aniceto to his son Julio, and from this to his son Victoriano, maintaining the custom of ensuring the continuity of the martinete always by the way of the males. Don Victoriano, the last beater, maintained the production system of medieval origin until his death in 1999. His family currently keeps it as an Ethnographic Museum. It was declared "Good of Cultural Interest" by the Junta de Castilla y León the December 17 of 1998.

The Martinete of the Copper Smelter of Navafría

It is a set integrated by the building, the machinery or martinete itself, the foundry and the water collection system.

The building, of popular architecture, has a rectangular floor, masonry walls and covered with segoviana tile to three waters. The South face forms part of the forehead and has an opening in the wall through which the wheel axis enters. On the east side is the rock of the terrain itself which acts as an enclosure.

  • The machinery. It can be divided into two parts: the engine and mallet.
  • The motor. It is formed by a wooden hydraulic wheel, of the denominated ones of horizontal axis and fed by above, of three meters of diameter.
  • The Deck. Like a normal hammer, it is composed of the head iron (which has a weight of about two hundred kilograms) and the mango, made with a pine trunk almost five meters long. The mallet hits the anvil, which is a piece of iron embedded in the stone of the ground.
  • Hydraulic system. The water collection system consists of a weir of loose songs that embalsa slightly and facilitates the deviation of part of the course of the river Cega by the case. This caz, provided with a gate to allow water to enter or not, leads to the antepara or small raft attached to the south wall of the martinete building and at the level of the eaves of the roof. In it there are three ducts closed by pinewood conical plugs that can be operated from inside the building by means of the handles, opening more or less water passage and regulating the speed of the wheel and the air flow of each horn.
  • The foundry. Copper melts in the forge, in a mud and sand crucible, where the copper scrap is deposited along with the coal. To raise the temperature until the copper melts, pressurized air is blown into the crucible by means of a hydraulic system called a horn.
  • The Production Process. once the copper is melted, it is cleaned of the embers with the rebable and the molds pouring the molten metal with the spoon. The molds are mud and straw and like the spoon are covered with ash to prevent the metal from adhering. With the copper solid but red starts to shake, that is, to shape it by hitting it with the mallet. It will be necessary to heat the pieces several times to achieve the desired final shape. As the copper is stretched, the wall of the sheet becomes thinner and thinner. To prevent the pieces from breaking, cauldrons are introduced in others and all are worked at the same time.

Finished the work with the martinete the different cauldrons for the final works are separated: to trim the surplus, to clean, to fix an iron ring of reinforcement in the mouth of the cauldron, to add the supports for the handle and the own handle, and the exquisite decorated of the rebatido realized by means of numerous blows of hammer that will leave the mark of the artisan in the design and in the texture of the piece.

If you want more information you can download the brochure and map of artisans from the province.

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