Bizkaiko Industri Ondarea / Patrimonio Industrial de Bizkaia. José Eugenio Villar Ibáñez: 1 eta 2 Labe garaiak. Altos Hornos de Vizcaya / Hornos Altos 1 y 2. Altos Hornos de Vizcaya.

 

Blast Furnaces 1 and 2. Altos Hornos de Vizcaya (a)

 

Blast Furnaces 1 and 2. Altos Hornos de Vizcaya (b)

 

Altos Hornos de Vizcaya. Blast Furnaces 1 and 2

“When blast furnace 2A at Altos Hornos de Viz­caya is finally shut down later this year, Vizcaya’s heavy ¡ndustry will say goodbye to a way of producing iron and steel that has lasted for one hundred and fifty years. Ever since the first blast furnace was lit at the Santa Ana de Bolueta mill in 1848, these smoky giants have been a major feature of the landscape, forming a permanent backdrop to the uves of the locáis, as well as symbolising the spread and solidity of industrial progress in Vizcaya.

The following article is conceived as a tribute to two of the last surviving furnaces, numbers 1 and 2 at Altos Hornos de Vizcaya (AHV), describing some of the problems encountered during their construction at the end of the nineteen fifties and the service rendered over the years until their retirement in 1995. Then, as now, major technological changes occurred at AHV (Vizcaya’s most prestigious representative in the iron and steel industry) against a background of economic instability. But there is one big difference in the two situations: in the late fifties, change meant the substitution of almost all the company’s old production equipment. Today, it is the company itself that is being replaced; AHV, the old steel mills and workshops, are to give way to a new concept in iron and steel production, the mini-steelworks.”