In the middle of campus, in the old foundry of Jönköpings Mekaniska Werkstad (Jönköping’s Mechanical Workshop) from 1914, you will find the University Library.

Jönköping’s Mekaniska Werkstad

The big foundry, which now houses parts of the University Library, was drawn by the architect Magnus Steendorff for the engineering company JMW, Jönköping’s Mekaniska Werkstad.

The company was founded in 1859 by Frans Gustaf Sandwall, Johan Edward Lundström and Carl Frans Lundström. The brothers Lundström wanted to manufacture machine elements for their matchstick factory which they had started in 1845. Sandwall needed trade mouldings for his hardware store.

The factory was initially called Jönköping’s Foundry until 1866 when Sandwall sold half of the company to foundry foreman Claes Gustafsson and the company called Jönköpings Mekaniska Werkstad was formed. This led to rapid expansion and a broader focus including steam boiler manufacturing. From the end of the 1800s through 1910 it also functioned as a shipyard. JMW manufactured a total of 31 steamships and during the 1930s the company was considered the foremost manufacturer of steam boilers in Scandinavia.

Old monochrome image of the foundry building being used as a workshop.

Photo from Jönköping county museum.

AB Zander & Ingeström bought the company in 1950 and in the beginning of the 1960s they merged with Alfa-Laval Corporation. In 1982 JMW was sold to Scandpump. Production was gradually decreased until coming to a complete stop in 1992.

1993–1994 the foundry hall was used for art and music projects.

In 1995 ground was broken for the construction of the new university campus in Jönköping.

Reconstruction from foundry to library

Exteriorly, the foundry hall has retained its original appearance, the only change made to the exterior is the removal of a cupola and renovation of the roof and gables, all of which took place after a fire in the 1960´s.

Interiorly, two freestanding rafters have been erected and the library’s holdings are housed on the three floors of the foundry hall.

A new three story building was built directly to the East of the old structure. The two buildings are connected by an atrium. The new building consists of staff offices, reading rooms and group rooms.

The architectural drawings are made by White Arkitekter AB, Gothenburg. On 11 August 1997, the new University Library was opened for business. The official dedication of the new university campus took place 25–27 September 1997.

Fact about the building

The foundry building has a carved stone base, a red brick facade and a gabled roof covered with black roofing membrane. The western facade, facing Kyrkogatan, is divided by pillars with large rounded cast iron windows. The upper edge of the wall is decorated with a detailed frieze and over that a polished banner with the text JÖNKÖPINGS MEKANISKA WERKSTADS AKTIEBOLAG.

Around the facade there are round, forged anchors. The exterior is decorated in some areas with limestone plates with relief designs in a propeller motif.

The inside of the foundry building consists of one large room. Crane tracks run along the long sides of the building, upon which a so-called ”fish belly” bridge crane, manufactured by Halmstads gjuteri AB in 1907 still sits.  

Two original steel pillars support a section of the eastern long side of the building. The original hung ceiling plates remain but the inner ceiling made out of plaster was added after the fire in the 1960s.

Facts taken from:

Mollstadius, A., & Jönköpings mekaniska werkstad. (1960). JMW:s äldsta historia 1860-1897 : "Sandwallska gjuteriet". Jönköping: Jönköpings mekaniska werkstad.

Syllner-Gustafsson, M. (1995). Jönköpings mekaniska verkstad : Historik och dokumentation. Jönköping: Jönköpings läns museum.