Early Steam Engines in Central European Mining Conference 7-8th October 2022, Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia

IEEC are delighted to share full details an Early Engines conference being organised by our friends in Slovakia in October 2022, focused on early engines in Central Europe.

The Slovak National Archives, Slovak Mining Archives division, and the Slovak Mining Museum are inviting participants to Banská Štiavnica, in Slovakia for this international conference (English language presentations).

With participants from Slovakia, Belgium, Hungary, Austria and the United Kingdom having committed to delivering papers it should prove a fascinating event.

Organizing Committee

A warm welcome is extended by the committee:

For the Slovak Mining Archives (Slovenský banský archív):
– Mgr. Peter Konecný, PhD. Head of Slovak Mining Archives (Slovak National Archives) expert guarantor of the conference, editor of the proceedings, main curator of the exhibition (peter.konecny2@minv.sk)
– Mgr. art. Michala Oravcová – main organisational support for the conference, and editor (michala.oravcova@minv.sk)
– Mgr. Katarína Olajcová – archivist and editor (katarina.olajcova@minv.sk)

Slovak Mining Archives, Banská Štiavnica (Photo Credit: Marcin Szala, Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0) Wikimedia)

For the Slovak Mining Museum (Múzeum Banska Štiavnica):
– Mgr. Helena Galková – (galkova.helena@muzeumbs.sk)

Slovak Mining Museum, (Photo Credit: P. Branik, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, Wikimedia)

Conference Proceedings

The conference organisers intend to publish the full versions of the papers read at the conference in a single volume.

The conference program is currently divided into four blocks, each with 3 papers of 20 minutes in length, with twenty minutes reserved for discussion.

Conference programme

7th October 2022

  • 8:30-9:00 – Registration (Slovak Mining Museum, Old Castle)
  • 9:00-9:40 – Opening of the conference, introduction of sponsors
  • 9:40-10:25Introductory Presentation: David Perret, The Survivors – Their Story
  • 1st Session: Economic and Administrative context of Early Atmospheric Steam Engines (10:40-12:00)
    • Miroslav Lacko, Mining and Fiscal-Military State: Habsburg Metal Production for Global Markets in the 18th Century
    • Marek Uškrt, Peter Konecný and Milan Palou, Physicians, Soldiers, Diplomats and Entrepreneurs: Speculative Investments in an Early Modern Gold Mine (Althandel, Nová Bana, 1723-1730)
  • 12:00-13:30 Lunch break
  • 2nd Session: The First Engine Builders in Great Britain and Hungary (13:30-15:30)
    • Steve Grudgings, Thomas Newcomen – The Man and His Engines
    • James Greener, Who Was Isaac Potter?
    • Peter Konecný, How to build an Atmospheric Steam Engine Outside of Great Britain: The Engines at Althandel in Nová Bana and Joseph & Magdalene Shafts in Štiavnické Bane
  • 3rd Session: Archaeological Excavations of Engine Houses (15:45-17:10)
    • Matej Styk, Archaeological Excavation of the Engine House at Althandel in Nová Bana
    • David Hardwick, Newcomen Engine Buildings in 18th Century Europe: Comparative Architectural History
  • 17:30-18:15 Guided Visit to the Exhibition “The Engine That Changed the World: The Story of Isaac Potter’s Fire Engine” (Slovak Mining Museum)
  • 18:30 Evening Dinner for conference participants at the Monarchia restaurant (Andreja Sládkoviča 2, Banská Štiavnica) – NB this meal not included in the conference refreshments fee)

Saturday 8th October 2022

  • 4th Session: Building and Depicting Engines and Engine Houses (8:30-9:50)
    • Peter Konecný & David Hardwick, Handling of the Technology and Preserving: Last Atmospheric Steam Engine House in Hungary (Štiavnické Bane, Königsegg shaft, 1758)
    • Barbara Hodásová, Depicting Atmospheric Steam Engines in Art and Artistic Craft
  • 5th Session: Approaches to assessing and improving the performance of early steam engines (10:10-12:20)
    • Gerald Muller & Branislav Mereš, Thermodynamic Assessment of the Newcomen Engine & Its Application to the 1722 Nová Bana Engine
    • Alice Reininger, “…I saw Mr. Kempelin’s Machine at Work Today…“: Wolfgang von Kempelen and James Watt
    • Jan van de Veen, Development of Steam Engines in the Netherlands (1750-1850)
  • 12:30-13:00 Memorial 2€ Coin Presentation (National Bank of Slovakia)
  • 13:00-13:15 Final discussion and instructions for the field trip
  • 13:15-14:30 Lunch break
  • 14:30-17:00 Field trip to Althandel in Nová Bana (Excavation site of Isaac Potter’s Engine House from 1722)
    • At 14:30, excursion participants will be transported to the site of the archaeological excavations at the Althandel shaft in Nová Bana, where a tour commentary will be given by the archaeologist Mgr. Matej Styk, PhD. and Mgr. Peter Konecný, PhD., member of the Althandel Civic Association.

NB Submission of papers read at the conference should be sent by January 1st 2023 to the following address: peter.konecny2@minv.sk

Conference Fees

€60,00 – Full delegate participation in the conference and excursion, refreshments and a single volume of the papers read at the conference
€20,00 – Students and pensioner concessions – participation in the conference including refreshments
€20,00 – Separate fee for excursion alone

NB All other expenses (meals and accommodation) are to be paid by each participant individually or financed by their organization.

Payment methods

By bank transfer or cash at registration
IBAN: SK74 0900 0000 0051 9074 3181
PayPal: info@althandel.sk

A list of accommodation and restaurant facilities, and a map of the wider town of Banská Štiavnica and helpful contact phone numbers is included below. Accommodation is to be arranged by delegates themselves, however the organisers will be pleased to assist you, please contact if needed.


The Conference is supported by:

together with the The National Bank of Slovakia (Národná banka Slovenska), The Newcomen Society, and ourselves at the IEEC – International Early Engines Conference.