Alte Seilerei

Industrial monument

The Alte Seilerei Hartmann is a listed professional building in Rüthen, in the district of Soest. Another attraction for the beautifully located city wall and thus for Rüthen. The ropery can be visited as part of a guided tour of the town.

Handwerkerdorf mit Hexenturm auf der Stadtmauer

Alte Seilerei von der Seite

Innenansicht Handwerkerdorf

Handwerkerdorf Ansicht vom Hexenturm aus


Alte Seilerei

Stadtmauerweg/Am Hexenturm

59602 Rüthen

Telefon: 02952-818172

Fax: 02952 / 818 170



The solid brick cable car building with a roof and 25 metal windows was erected in 1914 over a length of 60 m and today represents a very rare commercial architectural monument in its original appearance, even beyond the region. The building was renovated by the Förderverein Heimatpflege u. traditionelles Brauchtum Rüthen e.V. in 2002/3 and opened as a ropeway museum in May 2003. Inside, there are numerous historical representations, tools, devices and machines of this ancient craft, with the help of which the production of ropes can still be demonstrated to an interested public today.

Visits for groups by appointment through the tourist office of the city of Rüthen as part of guided tours. Many centuries ago, the manufacture of ropes was one of the numerous extra-occupational trades or crafts of an economic system that was as self-sufficient as possible in the town of Rüthen. For example, local rope-making businesses (reepschleger or reepdreger) can be traced in the town civic lists and treasure registers of 1648 and 1759.

In the Rüthen occupational and trade statistics of the 19th century, the ropemaking trade is documented with 6 businesses in 1848, 3 in 1885 and 2 in 1900. The last existing ropery ceased operations in 1937 due to increasing mechanization, the spread of industrially produced ropes and the unstoppable dominance of chains and steel cables. The ropery produced mainly agricultural products, e.g. sheaf bands, cattle halters, horse and plow ropes, hay and grain hauling ropes, hauling ropes of various lengths and thicknesses, etc., but also occasionally ship ropes, fishing nets, bell ropes and always a large number of twines and clotheslines for general household use. All ropemaking products were made of hemp, most of which was supplied in bales from Russia.

However, before the ropes, cords and lines were given their desired shape in length and diameter, long threads had to be spun from the raw hemp after the processing stages of heeling and combing. In the further manufacturing process, the individual threads were then twisted into cords (twining), which, depending on requirements, were then shaped into the desired end product in multiple thread paths by means of further precisely coordinated twisting processes using rope harnesses and carriages. In this way, the hemp threads were turned into a cord, the cords into a rope, and the cords were finally turned into the correspondingly strong rope: work processes which, in the time before electrification, demanded a great deal of physical strength and special manual dexterity from the rope makers.


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