Report - - Spinning mill Jakobstal, Nov. 09 (CH) | European and International Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Spinning mill Jakobstal, Nov. 09 (CH)


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Hi everybody, this is my first post.
Until now, I enjoyed browsing through this forum very much and I was surprised that there is so much to explore in the UK. In Switzerland, space is rare and abandoned buildings get demolished very soon. It is unusual that things like this stay for a longer period of time.
Now I’m happy to give something back and I hope you will enyoy my report.
Please excuse my bad english, some words might sound a bit strange.

The cotton spinning mill was founded in 1863.
In 1889, it was bought by Blumer Söhne+Cie AG.
Production was going on until 1982. Then, decay begun.
In 1995, a fire destroyed the roof of the main building. It was just a question of time that the wooden floors collapsed.
In an outbuilding, there is an old Sulzer tandem cylinder steam engine, built in 1903, which is a real beauty! Unbelievable that this beauty has not been restored but there is not much hope. The owner and the state office for the preservation of monuments could not reach an agreement so time goes by and decay continues.
A club that already has restored a similar (one year younger) Sulzer steam engine in a gasworks near Zurich (see http://www.tgvzu.ch/) wanted to buy that engine but the deal failed.
As most of such locations, it is used as scrapyard and all those sprayers have to put their tags to the walls. But what really hurts ist that some ignorant people smashed all those beautiful controls in the steam engine room. Recently, some copper thiefs stripped the generator and some transformers. They just spilled the oil to the floor.
Even though that sounds sad, it was an fascinating explore, If you were there once, you will come back one time. The pictures were taken during 3 visits from 2006 to 2009.

A site overview

We started at the main building.
On the front wall, there is a staircase which gives the wall some stability. The other walls of the main building looks quite unstable but here we could climb up without any doubts.
From the top, you get a nice view.


In the main building, we found an old Rieter spinning machine, built in 1958.
We didn’t venture into the collapsed area, fortunately, this machine was quite close to the staircase.

Some gears inside...




Don’t know the function of this rubber belt.


We walked along the main building.
All windows were walled up but some of them have been opened by some people. You could see the collapsed floors through the holes but it was too dangerous to enter.
At the end of the main building, we found a bigger hole. It didn't look too dangerous, so we entered.
The door on the left leads to a chamber where some (fire?)-tubes were hung up for drying.
There was an underground channel where I found a big fan.


At the end of the next building, we found a Francis turbine.

Generator belonging to it

Control cabinet


At the end of that genarator room, there was a door to the main building, in 2006, it looked like this:

And now to the steam engine.
Next to the turbines, there is a small power station which is in a better condition than the main building.
Even before you enter, you see a crankshaft and the huge flywheel through the door. Impossible not to enter that building after seeing this.
That dust-coated steam engine and the whole building with the tiled floor and the arched windows has a very special aura. You automatically speak quiet like in a church.
I wish I had a time machine and could see it in operation!
The generator is not directly driven, there is a rope transmission to an intermediate shaft. That shaft drives the generator by a huge leather belt. That belt is approx. half a meter wide!
I don’t know why the generator is not directly driven, I guess the eralier spinning machines were directly driven through a transmission.


Rope drive

The generator

View from the intermediate shaft. Now, in 2009, the generator is stripped. They have stolen the cupper coils.

Panorama of the rope drive.
On the left, you can see part of the claw clutch.

The controls

Smashed ampmeter

In the basement, under the steam engine, there’s some more stuff.
The boiler

There is still some coal

The site as „little planet“ panorama. On the left, you see the main building with the staircase.

I've made some qtvr panoramas (requires Quicktime).
Here I was on the bridge:

Another one of the steam engine:



28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Every time when I was there, I saw some people walking by but never saw any urbexer. But I guess it's a well known place, you can see it from the motorway and you could read about it in the newspapers several times.

In some parts, people had parties and left a huge mess.
One time, I was shooting the francis turbine, a bum was passing me and went to the steam engine. He put a sheet to the floor and sat down. Nice livingromm indeed!

Here some more pictures:
The generator in 2009. The ceiling is much more damaged now.

And a nice wiring detail of the control cabinet

Bottom view fo the steam engine

The door to the boiler room

Some kind of a grinder, I guess it's made in UK. Maybe it was used for maintaining the spinning machines

In the courtyard. Not possible to enter the main building here, too dangerous

Another detail of the main building

Stipped transformers. We could still smell the oil.

Empty transformer case



28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Thanks, cpcnick, for these valuable explanations.
They all makes sense to me.

Unfortunately, I have no more pictures of that "grinder".
It's a grinding wheel, approx. 30mm wide.
On the shaft in the foreground, there is a left-hand and a right-hand thread which seems to drive the wheel along the shaft. On that picture, you can't see whether the wheel is driven by the big shaft or by belt. I slightly remember that the wheel is connected to the big shaft by a key but I'm not sure.
Here a brighter picture



28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Hi Howard

Thanks for that information.

I don't know about other spinning mills, this is the only one I've visited.
There is another one nearby but it has been converted into a hotel/restaurant a few years ago.
In most cases, when spinning was not profitable anymore, the buildings were used for storage or other business so they did not get abandoned.

I know another steam engine but this one in not located in a spinning mill, it's in a gas works. This is a real beauty!!! Se here: http://www.tgvzu.ch
Here some info in english: http://www.tgvzu.ch/downloads/zeitungsartikel/36-in-old-glory-01/download

There is a spinning museum in the Zurich uplands, it has no steam engine, it was driven by two water wheels (see here), later by Girard turbine and rope transmission (see here).


28DL Member
28DL Member
Many thanks indeed for this link - I shall visit this museum next time I am in Zurich - the engine is beautiful and has been very well restored from quite a bad condition.
Thanks you also for the info on Neuthal - I was aware of this because I have helped the people at the museum with operating their cotton mule.


When I was travelling to Neithal I passed a number of old mills but none of them work these days. There is only one working cotton mill in CH now and I don't know how much longer it can survive.
Every time I buy a new shirt, I make sure it is made from Swiss-spun cotton, expensive but they last forever!

Best Wishes,



28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Thanks a lot for these infos.
What a surpsise, I have seen the cotton mule running in Neuthal, a very interesting machine! That's really cool there, they let the machines run and explain how they work.

Visiting the gas works is a good idea but they open only 4 times a year for puplic.

One thing about steam engines in spinning mills. I guess there were not many engines because there was not much coal in this area. Wood was too expensive and not available in the needed quantity. In the 17th and 18th century, there was much less forest than nowadays. This can be seen in old paintings. I think that was the reason why in the Neuthal area and in the near Töss valley, water was used for poweing the machines. Almost every drop was used by factories. Some pipes and transmission gear is still visible.
A nice example here: http://maps.google.ch/maps?hl=de&ie=UTF8&ll=47.454658,8.778755&spn=0.001092,0.002881&t=h&z=19


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
After years, I visited the site again in march this year, thanks to the mods for reopening this thread.

All the trees around have been rooted out, now you can clearly see in which desolate condition it is.
Almost every building is at least partly collapsed.
Now it's clear that there is no hope anymore, it will be demolished soon.
I just hope that someone could take the steam engine out.

Enough whining for now, on with the pictures.


A closer look

Without all the trees, I found a building I never saw before.


That building was a bit strange. It has a gabled roof but inside, it looks like a cellar.

No idea what it was used for...

The earthmovers are ready

A sad sight...

Burnt down

Another detail...
I love the boxes stored on the 1st level.

Here again...

Another collapsed building

A view from the other side

The boiler house

The transformer building

As it was in the newspapers, there were many people taking photos. I didn't take photos of the steam engine, there were too many idiots hanging around.