Ruhr Museum

Beginnings

On the eve of industrialisation agrarian society in the Ruhr area was characterised by natural economic limitations and the constraints imposed by traditional structures.

The legal preconditions for industrialisation were established by the Prussian state, motivated by business interests and the introduction of reforms like the emancipation of the peasants, trading freedoms and mining regulations. In addition, the abolition of customs barriers facilitated trade and commerce. The first steps in developing an industrial infrastructure were the building of roads and construction measures to ensure the navigability of the river Ruhr.

Pioneers like Franz Dinnendahl and Franz Haniel, Heinrich Arnold Huyssen and Mathias Stinnes, Friedrich Krupp and Friedrich Harkort set the process of industrialisation in motion. They intensified mining activities along the banks of the Ruhr, shipped coal to the Rhine and set up the first iron and steel plants with the aid of domestic natural resources, above all bog iron ore.