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Description of the box mangle

In 1855, alderman Wilhelm Bretthauer and his companion Karl Reinhardt from Hagenburg built the biggest box mangle of Schaumburg-Lippe in a specially erected building on the property no. 27 in Steinhude, Graf-Wilhelm-Straße 10. Until then, all the linen products coming either from the looms or the bleaching went directly to Bremen or Hamburg for retailing. The building and its equipment is still largely in its originial condition and is being restaured.

In 1855, alderman Wilhelm Bretthauer and his companion Karl Reinhardt from Hagenburg built the biggest box mangle of Schaumburg-Lippe in a specially erected building on the property no. 27 in Steinhude, Graf-Wilhelm-Straße 10. Until then, all the linen products coming either from the looms or the bleaching went directly to Bremen or Hamburg for retailing. The building and its equipment is still largely in its originial condition and is being restaured.
Main part is a mobile mangle box containing about 12 tons of foundlings. It is approximately 12 m long, 2 m wide and 2 m high. This box was moved repeatedly over the linen that was wound on rolls. It was driven first with an ox-capstan, later on with a horse and became an electric engine in 1930.

Mangelfritz using the mangle

This pictures shows the employee "Mangelfritz" in 1930 while putting the wound linen under the box mangle.

The linen from the weaving mills came directly to the bleaching, first by trolley, after the war also by car. It had to be watered such that the totally dry goods became uniformly wet. Until the beginning of the 60's, this was done by hand even for cloths with a length of up to 100m. Later on, a moistening machine was acquired. The linnen went through the machine and was moistured by a rotating brush. Afterwards it fell onto a trolley that had to be carried forth and back all the time for the linnen to fall uniformly. For work-saving reasons, a number of cloth was stuck together with needels. The next day, the good was layed in front of the winding chair (in the past also winding board or hoisting chair). Then it was dragged through the construction and wound onto a role. Until 1930 this role was moved by hand with a crank handle, later it was driven electrically. The engine was turned on and then, a pedal had to be pushed for the role to turn around. Otherwise, it might happen, that the linen gets stuck accidentally and one cannot stop it in time. When mangling table-cloth or sheets, one had to put the beginning of the next one under the end of the previous one.
The wound linen was put under the box mangle, which was filled with stones. The box itself weighs 12 tons and was first dragged by an ox, later on by a horse. In 1930, at its 75-th birthday, an electric engine was installed. In the beginning, the ox resp. horse had to change its direction, later on, a lace gear was installed for that purpose. The box was driven over the linen approximately 20 times back and forth. Once a year, the ox had to be exchanged, giving rise to a huge festivity under which the previous ox was butchered. The so-called Mangelfritz, a companion working in the mangle between 1857 and 1930, was well-known in Steinhude. The old horse Max whom he was working with, died short after him due to both senility and longing for his old master. After the first 20 turns, the linen was wrapped in the other direction and put under the mangle for another 20 turns. After that, it was unwrapped in the winding chair. The long cloth was then carried away, while table-cloths and sheets were further processed in here.
At the folding table, they were fold up and then pressed into cardboard form.
In the waveries glorious days, the box mangle was driven as a regular occupation. Of course, one also mangled table-cloths for private persons and hotels. The most prominent customer was the Royal House of Schaumburg-Lippe. Between 1963 and 1983, the plant was driven as a sideline job by Alfred and Irmgard Baumgärtner.


As of today, the following items can still be found in the box mangle's building:

  • Box Mangle (12m x 2m x 2,5 m)
  • Winding Chair
  • Folding Table
  • Towel Press with shelfs
  • Cardboard Press
  • Moisturizing Machine

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