near Rijksweg 88 (now Olmiuslaan), 6998 AK Laag Keppel
GPX: 51.99670701178459, 6.218283439146925
Established along the Oude IJssel in 1794. The founders had owned the blast furnace in Rekhem near Gaanderen (the first blast furnace in the Netherlands) for several years.
The Keppelsche Iron Foundry has always remained a largely manual, traditional iron foundry. The foundry started as a charcoal-fired blast furnace with a water wheel where iron ore was melted. The company produced all kinds of practical castings and later specialised in cast-iron windows, including huge church windows.
At the beginning of the last century, a water turbine was built at the Keppelsche Foundry—an almost unique facility in the Netherlands. Right behind the foundry, a weir was constructed in the Oude IJssel. The falling water set a paddle wheel in motion, which generated power via a dynamo for machines in the factory.
The product lines were later expanded to include machine parts, i.e. supply chain. But they never stopped producing for end-users, sometimes even just one or a few pieces according to the customer's wishes.
In the 1970s, the company faced difficulties. From 1980, the Keppelsche operated as a working foundry museum for a few years; a promising set-up, but unfortunately, it proved impossible to save the factory.
In 1984, the iron museum company was declared bankrupt, and a few years later, the foundry was completely demolished. The historic building set-up was still easily recognisable until the very end. A memorial made from part of the turbine wheel stands where the company was once located, now the Olmiuslaan.
Places of interest in the area
On the way from the memorial of the Keppelsche Iron Foundry to the Vulcanus Iron Foundry:
De Olde Schole, Rijksweg 88 - Laag Keppel
A historic building with a characteristic appearance, there is no other way to describe De Olde Schole. The building used to be a kindergarten but has been functioning as a catering establishment for many years and is well known in Laag Keppel and the surrounding area. A great place for a light snack or a full meal.
If you are interested in a small detour, follow the below description from ‘Rad’, the water turbine memorial:
Drive back to the parallel road, turn left, take the first right, and cross the Rijksweg onto the Van der Hardt Abersonlaan. Van der Hardt Aberson was a former owner/manager of the Keppelsche Iron Foundry. Follow the road to the right onto the Jan de Jagerlaan. Drive on to the junction with the Kolenweg. This was the supply route for the charcoal-filled carts from the Hessenweg to the foundry when the Keppelsche still had a blast furnace. Part of the road left to the Hessenweg is paved with slag, a by-product of the foundry. Follow the Jan de Jagerlaan until the end of the road and turn left onto the Hummeloseweg. From here, you are back on the main route.