Public Waters Mine of Terrassa, National Museum of Science and Technology of Catalonia

“Public Waters Mine of Terrassa, The heart of the industrial city” is an exhibition explaining how water was brought to the town of Terrassa, from the very earliest days thanks to the initiative of a number of industrialists, to provide power for the textile industry, with a tunnel being built to draw water for public use. The company Mina Pública d’Aigües de Terrassa, S.A. has served the city non-stop from 1842 down to the present day.

The Museum of Science and Technology of Catalonia has recreated the exhibition at the entrance to the original power plants of the former Vapor Aymerich, Amat i Jover factory, providing the displays with a particularly suitable ambience corresponding to the workplace of the company’s employees, supplementing the reconstruction of the water tunnel with a setting of great interest itself, namely the coal stores.

Behind the taps we use every day there hides an extensive array of pumps, pipes, tanks and comprehensive analytical and quality control of the water, along with the hugely important work performed by hundreds of men and women every day, to perform the miracle of drawing water, making it drinkable, analysing it and piping it to our homes, factories and cities, with the utmost health guarantees.


Water in the Vapor Aymerich, Amat I Jover
Water for the City: Industrial And Public Uses
Creation Of The Mina Pública D’aigües De Terrasa, Sa
Running Water: Quality And Quantity Control
Water Today
Terrassa, Network of Water Tunnels
Recreation Of A Water Tunnel

Mineral coal is the fossil fuel that fueled steam engines throughout the industrial revolution and was the hallmark energy of that era.

Coal has the category of fossil fuel due to its organic origin. It was formed in a geological process that began about 300 million years ago, in the Carboniferous period, which is part of a much wider period, the Paleozoic. The deposits originate from plant waste: trunks, branches, plants, leaves, which are deposited at the bottom of marshy areas, in different layers, and decompose, first in an environment with oxygen and over time they being covered with sediment, giving way to an anaerobic decomposition process, that is, without oxygen.

For many years geological phenomena subject these masses to great pressures and increases in temperature, which favor the process of transformation of organic matter into coal. The carbonization process results in high carbon retention, the main component of coal, which gives it fuel ownership. It contains but other elements such as hydrogen, oxygen, iron oxide, sulfur, etc.

Coal formation is a natural cycle of transformation of plant matter, which, depending on the geological conditions, the period of formation and their age, gives rise to several types of coal with different characteristics. The oldest coal is anthracite, and before it became anthracite, it has gone through each of the previous stages: peat, lignite, coal.

Coal combustion is an exothermic (heat-extinguishing) chemical reaction that generates waste gas such as carbon dioxide (CO 2 ), hydrogen (H 2 ), sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, and more. When combustion is not good due to lack of oxygen, carbon monoxide (CO) is released which is very toxic.

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Gases emitted are harmless. They have a very significant impact on the environment.

Carbon dioxide is one of the gases responsible for the greenhouse effect on the planet. The greenhouse effect has been augmented by the massive use of fossil fuels, such as coal, which is causing the continual and steady rise in temperature on the surface of the Earth.

Nitrogen and sulfur oxides, when mixed with the humidity of the environment or with rainwater, react chemically to very corrosive acids, a phenomenon called acid rain. Acid rain damages the vegetation where it is deposited and reduces the fertility of the lands, making them inoperable.

There have been no major coal deposits in Catalonia. In San Juan de las Abadesses the coal was exploded but was not profitable as it was cheaper to bring it from Langreo (Asturias) or from Newcastle (England). The coal deposits of Berguedà were lignite, intended mainly for local consumption and with a high sulfur content.

The Catalan steamers consumed coal, due to its greater availability and the best energy characteristics, arriving in Barcelona by sea from Asturias and England.

National Museum of Science and Technology of Catalonia
The National Museum of Science and Technology of Catalonia (mNACTEC) is one of the three recognized by the Parliament of Catalonia national museums. Its mission is to permanently show the implementation and development of scientific and technical progress in Catalonia, industrial application and especially their involvement and social impact.

The National Museum of Science and Technology of Catalonia is the product of the rich and lengthy heritage of scientific and technical innovation and knowledge, and the industrial application of this, as developed in this country over the centuries. Although the plans for a museum dedicated to the dissemination of scientific and technical knowledge, vocational development in these two fields and the preservation of the most substantial material records of the technical creativity of humanity, and the most significant objects invented or manufactured in this country, originally dates back to the early 20th century, it was not until 1984 that they were to take shape in the form of this cultural and social landmark museum.

The mNACTEC and its Territorial Structure, closely linked to Catalan industrial society, as an element of national identity and focus, decentralised, innovative, regionally implemented and with the utmost social return and impact, has over the course of 35 years successfully positioned itself as an international flagship and model presenting the uniqueness, specificity and social impact of scientific, technical and industrial culture in Catalonia. Despite the economic difficulties the country finds itself in, the mNACTEC maintains, consolidates and underpins the growth and expansion of this important museum, heritage, cultural and social project with new aims, greater expectations and an even greater dose of renewed enthusiast and interest.

We are in a moment of social change which is forcing us to focus all our efforts in the consolidation of the existing spaces, updating the Museum’s programming, planning new initiatives, ensuring access to a suitable structure, updating and expanding the museumological discourse of the Territorial System when applicable, and encouraging new projects providing incentives which further allow us to become a national museum of note in the new museumology of the 21st century. It should be a modern dynamic museum which must necessarily have major direct involvement in our contemporary society without forgetting its important role in the recovery, conservation and valorization of the scientific, technical and industrial heritage and culture of Catalonia without forgetting the power and drive of our people who, by making this heritage their own, transform the mNACTEC into a living project serving and promoting “the soul” of this society, reminds us where we came from, what we are and where we want to go.