Location of mills in St. Alban Valley

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Oris mill (Tobacco mill, Front Grinding Mill - Vordere Schleife), 2 wheels, 32.60 hp
demolished in 1854, factory building erected in 1890

Like many other mills, the Oris mill served various purposes in its history. In the first records from 1366, it is referred to as a cutler mill, before Rutsch von Oris converted it into a grain mill in 1422. Later it was owned by the saffron guild for almost 300 years, which used the mill as a “Wurtzmühlin” (spice pounder). The guild entrusted the operation to a spice pounding worker who was subordinate to two spice quality controllers. In 1707, the guild had a fulling mill set up for the hosiers or trouser-makers (who were also members of the saffron guild) in addition to the pounding mill. In 1770, the mill was sold to Ch. Burckhardt, who had it converted into a tobacco stamping mill. After 1840, the Oris mill was extended by various alterations and additional buildings, and converted into a silk ribbon factory with 200 employees. Finally, in 1878, the property was purchased by Samuel Stöcklin. Thereby the Oris mill became the original company building of the Stöcklin & Cie company, which was the first in the St. Alban Valley to produce paper on a large scale by machine; thus they took the step from artisanal manufacture to industrial paper production. It was also to be the last: although the company successively acquired all the water rights and land on the Vordere Teich, the narrow strip of land between the steep slope of St. Alban-Vorstadt and the Rhine was no longer sufficient to meet the requirements. In 1955, the company moved its headquarters to Arlesheim.

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Gallician mill (Klingental mill), 23.23 hp

One of the showpieces of the renovated St. Alban Valley is undoubtedly the Gallician mill, which today houses the Basel Paper Mill (Swiss Museum of Paper, Writing and Printing). The core of the three-part building complex dates from the 12th century, the four-storey residential building from the 15th century. The striking three-storey roof structure above the commercial building dates from 1788. Paper was dried here. The narrow dormers by means of which one could regulate the air supply are typical. The mill was probably built immediately after the construction of the St. Albanteich. In 1284, it was owned by the Klingental convent in Kleinbasel. In 1433, the grain mill was converted into a hammer mill. Twenty years later it was bought by Anton Gallician. This descendant of a Piedmontese papermaking family quickly rose to become the most important paper producer in Basel. His Stab-Papier (staff paper; named so because of the Ba-sel staff watermark) was traded all over Europe. However, the Gallician family’s rapid social and political ascent was abruptly halted in 1523. The mill came into the possession of the Thüring family, who operated it for over 200 years. In 1850, the mill that was once the most important paper mill was converted into a tobacco stamping mill and used until 1931. In 1975, the municipality transferred the development rights of the Gallician Mill to the Christoph Merian Foundation. The foundation established the museum, which opened in 1980.

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