Museumssägewerk am Forsthaus Zweifall
Until the end of the 18th century, large quantities of charcoal were needed to smelt iron, which was mainly burnt from beech wood. As everywhere in the Eifel, numerous charcoal kiln slabs (carefully levelled, circular terrain shapes) in the vicinity of Vicht and Zweifall tell of the activities of the charcoal burners, who often worked in the forest for weeks at a time in the simplest charcoal burners' huts, far away from home and family. At the beginning of the 19th century, when the use of coke made expensive charcoal superfluous in metallurgy, large areas of relatively fast-growing spruce forest began to be planted throughout the northern Eifel, which was expected to make forestry economically profitable. Spruce trunks were used, among other things, in the mines as pit timber. Especially in the coal mines of the Inde and Wurm regions, large quantities of spruce and pine were needed to build the galleries underground. When this timber could be harvested around the middle of the 19th century, a large number of sawmills were established in Zweifall for the production of boards and squared timber. In its heyday, up to ten sawmills were active in the small town. Today, only one company still saws hardwood and softwood from the region. But the museum sawmill at the Zweifall forester's lodge, established in 2008 in cooperation between the NRW Regional Forestry Office Rureifel-Jülicher Börde and the Friends of the Zweifall Sawmill Museum, shows posterity the old and proven sawmill technology. Furthermore, the exhibition offers detailed information on the local history and the technological development in timber harvesting and wood processing.
Idea and structure of the museum
Instead of scrapping tried and tested old sawmill technology after it had been taken out of service, local Zweifall residents decided in 2002 to look for a home for saw frames and band saws in cooperation with the then Hürtgenwald Forestry Office. After two years of effort, the result was the present-day museum sawmill at the Zweifall forester's lodge. In addition to the idea donors, numerous donors and the Landbetrieb Wald und Holz NRW have helped with money and the energetic commitment of the foresters and the forestry training team with their forestry master. At the beginning of September 2008, the "Förderverein Museumssägewerk Zweifall e.V." was founded with the aim of financially supporting the sawmill and demonstrating old sawmill technology to the public.
Forest village Zweifall has always been characterised by wood
A more ideal location than Zweifall for the realisation of this museum idea could not be found, because Zweifall has always been shaped in its economic development by the surrounding forest. Timber trade and wood processing had always been located here. Many family incomes resulted from working with forest products. Thus it was mainly sawmills that mechanised wood processing in the mid-19th century by using water or steam power, by using gas engines or by using electrical energy. Johann Lennartz, mayor and timber merchant, founded the first Zweifall wood cutting mill in 1850. A lack of water meant that this mill often lay idle, especially during the summer months. This resulted in the permanent employment of skilled manual sawyers in order to be able to continuously serve the clientele with sawn goods. In July 1888, the Zweifall timber merchant Matthias Peter Krings applied for the installation and operation of a mobile steam engine, called a locomobile, with a circular saw in the Luersbend. This was used to cut squared timber and boards. In the middle of 1889, a new sawmill was put into operation, which passed to August Schnitzler at the turn of the century. Peter Kuchem and Wilhelm Harpers jointly obtained permission to build a sawmill with a stationary steam engine in Zweifall at the beginning of 1903. They separated at the end of the 1920s. The previous business was continued by Kuchem's descendants. A new sawmill was built in the "Scharten" by Harper's sons. In addition to the aforementioned works, a sawmill had also been built in Münsterau by Jakob Krings in 1897. Further establishments were founded by Karl Krings (after World War I) and Theodor Körner and Hubert Hillemanns (after World War II) in Münsterau and Finsterau respectively. Johann Koch also set up another sawmill after the 2nd World War. Also since the end of the 1920s, Franz Groß operated a small factory in Mulartshütte, which mainly supplied the "Pliesterlatten'" needed at that time. The last gang saw operated in this factory is now in the museum sawmill at Forstahaus Zweifall as a display and demonstration machine. Of the formerly up to ten sawmills in the village of Zweifall, only two are still active - in 2009.