29 Mühlstein am Schützenplatz

29 Mühlstein am Schützenplatz

Millstone at the Shooting Range

The millstone is part of a grinding machine used in the gunpowder factory downstream from Malsbenden, which was in operation until the building of the Urft Valley dam. Black gunpowder, mainly for civilian purposes, was manufactured here in the latter part of the nineteenth century. The wood of the alder buckthorn, which is widespread in the Eifel woodlands, makes particularly good charcoal for gunpowder production, and the tree is therefore popularly known as the „gunpowder tree“.

The mills were used to grind the gunpowder constituents: the finer the powder, the stronger the explosive power.

Gunpowder factories were always built a long way out of town.

Despite the strictest safety-precautions, explosions occurred again and again, resulting in casualties and deaths.