February 27, 2016

2330-2333 ROMANIA (Caraș-Severin) - Reşiţa and its steam locomotives

Located in western Romania, in the Banat region, along the Bârzava river, which meets the Doman river in the centre of town, Reşiţa has been attested since the 15th century under the name of Rechyoka and Rechycha. In the Conscription act of 1717, it has been referenced under the name of Retziza, comprising 62 households imposed by the Austrian domination recently instituted at the time (in 1716, Prince Eugene of Savoy took the Banat region from the Ottomans).

On the 8th August 1768, the first foundries were founded under the reign of Austria-Hungary Empress Maria Theresa. Several months later the Imperial Court approved the proposal and on 1st November 1769, the construction of plants was started. On the 3rd July 1771, two blast furnaces were put into operation, and Reşiţa became the cradle of what will impose itself as one of the oldest and most important European metal-manufacturing centres.

Initially there have been 2 villages fairly close to one another - Reşiţa Română (Reschiza Kamerala or Olah Resitza) and Reşiţa Montană (Eisenwerk Reschitza, Nemet Reschitza or Resiczbanya). Reşiţa Montană, where the plants had been settled, was at first inhabited by Romanian coal men. Later in 1776, 70 German families originating from Styria, Carinthia and Upper Austria have been colonized and between 1782-1787 German families coming from the Rhine region.


At first, metalworking was the focus of activity, but machinery manufacturing gradually gained prominence. In 1855, with the empire facing financial crisis, the works were bought by an international consortium, St.E.G. In 1872, the factory manufactured the first steam locomotive, called Resicza, and having the running number 2. It had as model the locomotive Szekul (number 1), designed by John Haswell, manager of the railway engine factory St.E.G. from Vienna.

There were two similar steam locomotives, built in 1872-1873, Bogsan and Hungaria, the latter being presented at the Universal Exhibition of 1873 in Vienna. Resicza, which had been meant for serving internal transport within the factory, was in service until 1937. The metallic profiles of the famous Eiffel Tower, built by a technology invented by the Romanian engineer Gheorghe Panculescu for the Universal Exhibition of 1889, were realized also at Reşiţa, using steel from the Govajdia blast furnace.

Following the union with Romania of Banat, a 1920 royal decree transformed St.E.G.'s Romanian holdings into the Steel Works and Domains of Reşiţa (Uzinele de Fier şi Domeniile Reşiţa) company. Since then, the design and construction of different types of railway engines began at the Domains Factories in Reşiţa and at Nicolae Malaxa Factories in Bucharest. The steam locomotive 50.243 King Ferdinand, the first locomotive built in Romania between the World Wars was produced in Reşiţa, in 1926.

Owing to the success of the railway engine construction in Reşiţa and at Malaxa Factories, in 1930 Romania stopped importing railway engines. Between 1926 and 1960, 1207 steam locomotives have been built in Romania, out of which 797 were manufactured in Reşiţa Factories. In 1960 the production of steam locomotives was ceased, the Romanian industry focusing on the production of diesel railway engines. The steam locomotives have been used by CFR (Romanian Railway Company) until 1980.

In 1972, for the celebration of a century of steam locomotives production in Reşiţa, the Steam Locomotives Museum has been set up, the only open-air and the largest of its kind from Europe. It exhibits 16 exponents (of which 14 were manufactured at Reşiţa) dating back from different periods, the most important being the locomotive Resicza. It is displayed on a pedestal at the entrance to the museum, suffering little change over time.

About the stamp
The stamp, depicting Common Lungwort (Pulmonaria officinalis L.), is part of the first series Flora of Romania - Fauna flowers (I), about which I wrote here.

Reşiţa - Wikipedia
Reşiţa Works - Wikipedia
Reşiţa - Reşiţa Town Hall official website
Muzeul de locomotive cu abur Reşiţa - Official website
Muzeul Locomotivelor cu Abur de la Reşiţa - Banatul Montan

Sender: Raul Siladi
Sent from Reşiţa (Caraş-Severin / Romania), on 12.02.2016 

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