Bad kissingen: the historic free pump catches the eye

Bad kissingen: the historic free pump catches the eye

The lower saline is a popular spot for hikers, excursionists and walkers. The fact that the parking lot is usually full in good weather is due to the idyllic walking paths and the sights in the immediate vicinity – such as the saale steamboat, the graduation building, the round fountain and the museum of the upper salt works.

Now another attraction has been added to the lower saline: the historic free pump, which stands 300 meters south of the graduation works on the saale, has awakened from its dormancy. Despite the general renovation five years ago, the almost man-sized wheel of the machine, the connecting rods and pistons have been standing still most of the time since then. Since yesterday, however, they are moving again and every tuesday from 10 am to 5 pm for show purposes.

The fact that the industrial monument built in 1848 is in operation is immediately noticeable to passers-by. Again and again, interested people stop to watch the machine and read the information boards. "Last year it was not running yet", andreas witt, for example, noticed it immediately. The hamburger comes with his wife corinna regularly to the kissinger summer in the cure city. Also this year, although the music festival does not take place because of the corona pandemic. "But we said we could go hiking here, we’re going anyway", he tells. And so a tour took them via the ludwig tower to the lower saline and the free pump. "I find this technique really very exciting", he says. The fact that the machine is running is already an eye-catcher for visitors.

Pumping brine into the graduation works

The main task of the plant, which is also called a brine-lifting machine, was to roll the freshly required brine out of the round fountain. Five of the eight pistons alone pumped the brine into the upper pipe system of the graduation plant. In addition, the plant printed the brine saturated after grading in the direction of the city center in the saline house in the salinenstrabe. From there, barrel trucks picked up the brine and delivered it to the spa houses, which needed it for the spa guests’ bathing treatments.

The brine lifting machine is no longer used today. A modern electric pump now supplies the graduation building with water from the round fountain.

First renovated, then defective

Five years ago, the state building authority in schweinfurt completely renovated the technical monument at a cost of around 160000 euros. The metal parts were derusted at that time and coated three times with new paint. This also applied to parts that are not visible from the outside. In order to be able to carry out the work, the engine duct had to be pumped empty. The water that actually powers the machine was piped directly into the saale river. For it were day and night pumps in use. The embankment wall and the engine channel were also repaired.

Afterwards, another defect meant that the renovated free pump could no longer be used for demonstrations. The staatsbad gmbh, which is responsible for the operation, has now repaired the defect and started the show operation. For information on the nature of the defect, the repairs and the costs, no technical responsible person could be reached at the spa administration yesterday.

Expanding the offer for guests

For the state spa manager and spa director sylvie thormann, the reopening of the attraction comes at an opportune time. Due to the corona crisis, the range of products on offer for guests has not yet returned to its high level. "Step by step, we are expanding our offerings and can thus gradually offer more to our guests", she says. Tuesday is the day off for the state swimming pool philharmonic orchestra. Normally, cycling tours take place on this day, but due to the current situation, this is not yet possible.

So "we have decided that the freipumpe will run every tuesday. The free pump is a good place to stop for a walk on the way to the graduation plant, or as a stop on a cycling tour when it starts again," she says, explains thormann. It is already that the machine runs again. "At the moment we are observing how our offers are accepted by the guests and in the next step we will see if and how we can expand these offers", says kissingen’s spa director.

More work to come

The ensemble around the free pump also includes a house pump from 1883. Its engine sewer is dilapidated and in danger of collapsing. Because the shaft is no longer needed, it is to be filled in, according to information from the state building authority. The last tunnel segment visible from the outside will be preserved and restored. When the work will begin has not yet been determined. The project is currently being coordinated internally.

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