Helical industrial chimneys in Spain

Autores UPV
Revista Construction History


The industrial chimney has been the symbol of the Industrial Revolution par excellence. Transcending both regionalism and traditional forms of construction, some specimens found in Spain, dating mainly from the early twentieth century, follow unique schools of construction with regard to the mastery with which the brick is handled. All this was achieved without being endorsed by famous architects; rather they were the product of master masons, skilled in their craft and relishing the opportunity to give to the best of their ability. Currently unimaginable in today¿s construction climate, their work shows signs of enduring, despite their obsolescence and disappearance of their original function. One of the most beautiful and spectacular types of chimney, whatever cross section it has, is the helical chimney. The paper reviews the origin of these chimneys and illustrates their various types of construction using both historical photographs of lost chimneys and photographs of some spectacular ones that have survived. In an interview with the author, one of the last great chimney builders explained how to erect a helical chimney using the tool he invented for the purpose. The paper ends by noting that heritage legislation in Spain is gradually including industrial heritage and that, in Valencia, industrial brick chimneys of merit, constructed before 1940, are now protected.