Chronicle of Brennberg

The cradle of Hungarian coal mining

On the Austrian border, near Sopron, lies Brennberg, the small mining community where coal was first mined in Hungary as early as 1759.

The coal mine belonged to the city and was rented out. At the beginning of the 1800s, the Austrian Treasury acquired the tenancy law, and later from 1840 onwards, Knight von Wartinberg Henrik Drasche was the tenant.

After his death in 1881, the rent came into the possession of Brennbergi Kőszénbánya Rt., Whose shareholders also acquired the Ritzinger mine in 1903.

The joint-stock company came into the interest of Urikány – Zsilvölgyi Magyar Kőszénbánya Rt. [Urikány. Zsilvölgyer Hungarian Coal Mine Ag.], which founded a new company in 1913 under the name Sopronvidéki Kőszénbánya Rt.

On December 9, 1928, the Urikány-Zsilvölgyi Magyar Kőszénbánya Rt. and the Sopronvidéki Kőszénbánya Rt. were combined, so they became the main tenants of the mine.

On January 1, 1946, the Brennberg operation was put under state administration, and in early 1952 the dismantling of the mine began and ended on December 24th.

Knight of Wartinberg Henrik Drasche tenant, around 1870 (photo from the Sopron Museum)
The landscape of Brennberg on a contemporary postcard, around 1830 (Göncz Archive)

Brennberg is located in the area of Sopron, southwest of the city centre, 10 km away. As Hungary's oldest mine, it played an important role in the fact that Sopron and its surroundings, which were still exclusively agricultural and commercial in the 18th century, thanks to the large brick factories, the already closed glass production, and the significant sugar production in Siegendorf, Hirm, Bük, Csepreg, Nagycenk and Petőháza entered the field of industrialization very early on. (The Brennberg mine and the Vienna shipping canal, in the newspaper Soproni Szemle, IV. Year 4-5 issue, 1940, p.221) Vajk Artúr technical mine director

Office building of the Brennberg Mining Directorate, picture postcard, edition by József Krausz, Brennberg, 1916 (Göncz Archive)

... numerous important technical inventions were first used in the Brennberg plant, which the other mines only introduced much later. From here the first railroad track, the use of the first steam delivery machine, only to mention the "revolutionary" innovations ... (The Brennberger Coalmining and the Viennese navigable Canal, in the newspaper Soproni Szemle, IV. Year 4-5 issue, 1940, P.221) Vajk Artúr technical mine director

Detail from a tourist map of the Sopron Mountains 1: 25000, with the track line of the operating track, around 1920
Postcard from Brennberg, the Barbara shaft, river settlement and the landscape of Brennberg, around 1930 (Göncz Archive)

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