Stadtführung Hall in Tirol © (2)

Historic waterwheel at the Hall Mint Museum

To the west of Hasegg Castle, with the Hall Mint Museum and the Mint Tower, there has been a new attraction since early summer 2019: the two water wheels, each with a diameter of five metres and reproduced on a scale of 1:1, provided the first hydraulic drive for a minting machine from 1571. As early as the Renaissance period, this made it possible to multiply the number of coins minted in the hammer minting era by means of roller minting.

The roller minting machine was considered a technical sensation in the Middle Ages and was capable of minting around 4000 coins a day. By comparison, a journeyman minting coins by hand only managed about 300 coins per day.

Technical revolution

In the 15th century, the so-called "thaler currency" was invented in the form of the "Guldiner", which not only enabled economic exchange across national borders, but was also the namesake of the dollar. But the first functioning industrial coinage, the roller minting, was also developed in Hall in Tyrol. This technology spread throughout Europe, a larger area of distribution than today's euro zone, and was considered "state of the art" for a period of over 180 years.

The roller stamping machine - a technical sensation: The silver mine in Schwaz, which was run by the German banking family of the Fuggers, caused the demand for silver talers to skyrocket. The demand for new talers could no longer be met by the manual hammer minting that was still common at the time. So they began to look for ways to automate the minting process. Archduke Ferdinand II of Tyrol (1529-1595) was a great friend of technical innovations. Under him, not only was the Hall mint moved from the city centre to Hasegg Castle, but roller minting was also introduced.

The roller minting machine, which was driven by water power, was first used in Hall in 1571 and enabled the mass minting of silver coins. This form of minting was extremely efficient and gave the mint master a significant competitive advantage. Hall was thus the first mint in the world to make the transition from a craft business to an industrial operation.

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