The Spiegelberg Whetstone Mine
The ‘whetstone ravine’ is mentioned as early as 1694 in the land register as the western limit of the Steinheim nunnery’s property in Jux forest. It would seem that knowledge of the whereabouts of this hard sandstone – with its fine, regular grain and rich silicate content making it perfect for whetstone production – goes all the way back to the Middle Ages. The local population could hardly make ends meet with farming and working in the forests, so manufacturing and peddling useful wooden objects and especially whetstones was essential for the families’ survival.
When in 1836 the Royal Forest Board outlawed the ‘wild digging for whetstones’ (penalised with a fine), the farmers founded a co-operative society in order to open and run an authorised quarry. Thus the more than welcome additional income could be maintained.
The ‘upper quarry’ dried up in 1847 but a new one, fittingly called ‘lower quarry’, was opened 500m further down the ravine and run until 1879. The quarrying proved so lucrative that the society was able to install a 2-foot-gauge light railway track, which at the time was the state-of-the-art means of transporting the heavy sandstone plates from the remote quarry to the block yard near the road. Here the raw plates were split to the required thickness and then cut into slices which the farmers then made into whetstones at home after work.
In 1880 a ‘new quarry’ was started just opposite the working area and it was here that history was made: The sought after sandstone layer, a 240 million-year-old seam, reached back into the steep hillside. The demand for raw material was enormous however, and the workers were extremely reluctant to abandon the valuable seam. Consequently, they followed the stratum where it led them – underground – and thus the only whetstone mine in Europe began.
Do you want to know more about the mine?
Come and meet us – we’d be glad to welcome you on your visit!
From May 1st to October 25rd
Every 1st and 4th Sunday of the month
On these Sundays, the visitor mine is open from 1.30 pm to 5 pm.
Guided tours on the subject of „whetstone making in Jux“ are offered at 1.45 pm and 3.45 pm.
(5 people minimum, duration about 1 hour)
(Entrance and guided tour)
Adults 2 €
Children up to 16 years free
Guided tours outside the scheduled opening times
(minimum 10 people) 30 €
How to find us
Manfred Schaible, Phone +49 7194 8422
Further entertainment and leisure activities in Spiegelberg
| Glasmuseum Spiegelberg|| Glass museum and exhibition|
| Kabirinett|| the local country theatre|
| Klosterhof|| Concerts in the „red room“|
| MSGB|| Private garden railway, Phone: 07194 8422|
| Silberstollen || Ancient silver mine, sign of mining attempts in the 1780s. Now a home for bats|
|Juxkopfturm|| 22m high observation tower, built in 1932, on the „Juxkopf“ (533m asl)|
| Car Parks|| 13 car parks for walkers and mountain-bikers, starting points for marked walks|
| 300 km tours|| 300 km of well-signed (circular) walking tours for walkers and mountain-bikers |
over hills and through valleys, gorges and ravines
| Guided Tours|| Regular guided tours organised by the Spiegelberg tourist association|
| Tour Guide|| Official booklet with information and maps of walking and biking routes. |
Available at the borough and the local restaurants. Price: 2,50 €
| Ski-lift|| 250m ski-lift near the „Juxkopf“ on the road from Jux to Nassach, with illuminated|
downhill-run and snack bar. Phone: 07194 240
8 km of cross-country skiing trails
| Bike Marathon|| Lautertal Bike Marathon - Cross-country bike event - every year in October|