Open House Day 2016

«Magic Machines»

Sunday, June 5th 2016, 1pm - 5pm

magic machines


On the Open House Day early June 2016, the Iron Library and the Corporate Archive of Georg Fischer Ltd opened their "chamber of wonders" to present magic machines from four centuries.

Our 100 visitors had the opportunity to look at books and documents – all of them related to "magic machines".

From Copperplates to the Digital World

In the 17th century, Salomon and Isaac de Caus created a universe of machines and automatons. These magic machines are being brought to life through 3D animations. More>>

Magic machines made in Schaffhausen

250 years later, Johannes Rauschenbach built agricultural machines in Schaffhausen, including some that sound magical such as the "hail cannon" for cloud seeding. More>>


+ Treasures from the library collections and the Archives

+ Tour through the Iron Library

+ Thematic handicrafts for children

+ Iron Library quiz

+ Free beverages


Visitors in the Iron Library

Photo: Pauline Zade 


Report on

Visitor in the Iron Library (photo: Sascha Erni)

Photo: Sascha Erni 

Report by Sascha Erni (in German)

400 Years of «Magic Machines»: from Copperplates to the Digital World

magic machines

The magic machines in question are more than 400 years old. Starting point of the presentation are two books published by Salomon de Caus (1576-1626) and his brother Isaac de Caus (1560-1648) in 1615 and 1657. In these books, Salomon and Isaac construct a universe made up from various machines and automatons.

The Iron Library is one of the few libraries in the world that has original editions of the above mentioned books by Salomon and Isaac de Caus in its holdings. We showed the books and at the same time moved the included copperplates into the digital age. Rüdiger Mach, an engineer from Karlsruhe, has developed digital 3D models and animations from Salomon de Caus’ copperplates. These animations not only breathe life into the machines, but also make their functionality understandable.

The following trailer offers an insight

«Magic machines made in Schaffhausen»


The Corporate Archives presented «Magic machines made in Schaffhausen» from the engineering works Rauschenbach, which was taken over by Georg Fischer in 1929.

Paper models for children: Follow the footsteps of Georgius Agricola!


Younger visitors were invited to do papercraft in the footsteps of Georgius Agricola. This scholar has written one of the most important books on mining and metallurgy: "De re metallica" (1556). The famous woodcuts in this book depict mining and metallurgical machines. We offered paper models that are based on Agricola's woodcuts.