Transportation

 Carrying ore in Bergmannsgata.
Carrying ore in Bergmannsgata.
The copper works created an enormous requirement for the carriage of goods within the mining area and between the mine and the outside world.

Kirsti Jordet

The ore had to be carried out of the mines to the smelting houses. There were long lines of horse drawn sledges or carts carrying charcoal, firewood, timber and materials. Moss and hay was transported to the farms. Provisions and equipment used in the mining operations were freighted in from the outside world, and the processed copper loaded up and carried to Trondheim. For a time the copper was carried south. Leif Braseth has tried to calculate the enormous quantities involved in this transportation. He suggests that during the winters of the 1760s, when the smelters were running full out, Lovise smelting house took in some 14,700 horse drawn loads, 12,000 of these were charcoal. The traffic at Malmplassen in Røros was even greater.

Most provisions and goods were transported during the winter months. The summer tracks were much longer and in much the same condition as they had been in the middle ages. The routes followed were those we can see from maps drawn in the 1700s. Maps from 1675 belonging to the Swedish Colonel, Oerneklov show the route from Røros over Budalen, Soknedal, Hoelonda to Trondheim. From one of his maps of a year later the roads through Brekken, Aalen, Singsaas and Storen are included. Strangely, the maps do not show a connection over Rugeldalan. But it must have been there. The road to Gauldal was recognised and known for some time as a difficult road. To travel by that road, was like having a baby, it’s been said. It was not until the end of the 1700s, that a horse and wagon could travel along it. In the meantime many other routes were opened up such as, Budalveien, or the road from Singsaas over Samsjoen to Kvaal and on to Trondheim.

The main road south during the summer months that used right up to the 1790s and it followed the route over Sundet, Galaaen, Os church, Tallsjoen, Vingelen and over to Tynset. This was quite simply the road used in the middle ages. The winter route followed ice covered rivers, lakes and swamps: Glaama, Gaula, Femund and others. The task of droving required many men and horses. And it is not surprising that north Oesterdal in both 1657 and in 1835 and considerably larger numbers of horses than the rural areas in the rest of the country; in 1657 there were 257 horses per 1,000 inhabitants and in 1835 148 per 1,000. The average for the whole of Norway was 104 per 1,000. Ramm writes that Os had the greatest number of horses. Røros municipality itself had 188 horses in 1851, while nord Oesterdal had 1,600. The horses and oxen did not drive themselves and the requirement for drovers was not small. Another historian, Fryjordet estimated that in the 1740s there were approximately 1,000 men employed, possibly more.

 During market day the tradition of driving to Røros by horse and sledge is still kept up.
During market day the tradition of driving to Røros by horse and sledge is still kept up.
The result of all the activity in the forests was that ca. 70% of the costs of production went to pay the peasants and farmers. The same situation existed in the ironworks industry. And as far as the Røros Copper Works was concerned the circumference of 1646, and the amended circumference of 1753 together with the whole of the Røros district and nord Oesterdal, were not area enough for their needs. Horse and sledges arrived in Røros from places as distant as Leinstad outside Trondheim and as far away as the villages of Hedemark. It was not to be wondered at that a strange solitude sank over Røros in the 1890s when the horse bells were no longer heard.

Sources:
Oberst Ørneklovs kart fra 1675 og 1676 
Armfeldt-armeens kart fra 1715 
Leif Braseth: ”Drømmen om den store malmåra” (1995) 
Kiær: ”Nordre Østerdalen. En historisk-statistisk studie…” (Trykt 1899-1900) 
”Høifjellskommisjonens kjennelser av 13. juli 1934” 
Gjermundsen: ”Bygdebok for Os”, bind 1 (1999) 
Fryjordet: ”Skogadministrasjon i Norge gjennom tidene”, bind 1 (1992) 
K. Jordet: :”Særtrekk ved kobberverksdrifta ca 1630-1890” (2003) 
Arnulf Selnes: ”Kløvvegen fra Røros (personlig mottatt artikkel)



Røros was added to UNESCOs of World Heritage Sites in 1980, refer also to Riksantikvaren, ( Norwegian Inspectorate of Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings).
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