At one time, the production of bricks and tiles was the biggest industry in Sønderjylland. This is no longer the case, but bricks and tiles are still produced here; one of the local brickworks is Petersen Tegl.
The production of bricks and tiles has been an important industry in Sønderjylland for centuries, and in 1920 the production of products such as bricks, roof tiles and drainpipes was the largest industry in Sønderjylland.
The first brickworks were established as long ago as 1603, and more plants quickly followed. The highest concentration was on the Broagerland peninsula, where the stone-free and sand mixed clay made up the perfect raw material. Peat from the bogs could be used as fuel in the kilns, whilst at the same time it was easy to transport bricks and tiles from the region by ship.
If you wish to get an insight into the work that took place at the brickworks, you can visit Cathrinesminde at Broagerland. Cathrinesminde Brickworks was operational from 1732 until 1968, since then the old buildings have been restored to their former state via an occupational project. In 2007 Cathrinesminde Brickworks was elected as one of the 25 official national industrial monuments in Denmark.
Production of bricks and tiles is no longer the dominant industry in Sønderjylland, but they’re still manufactured – for instance, at Petersen Tegl, which is also located on Broagerland.
Petersen Tegl was founded back in 1791, and it has been run by successive generations of the same family since. The great-great-great-great-grandfather of the current owner, Christian A. Petersen, was granted permission by King Christian VIIn to start the brickworks. Today the firm has 160 employees, and is famous for its so-called hand-struck bricks, which are made by hand and water-struck. As one of the few brickworks in the world, Petersen Tegl masters the art of firing bricks with coal, which provides the water-struck bricks with a rich play of colours in light and dark shades.
Petersen Tegl exports its products to 46 different countries – including 13 American states – and the firm has won several awards for its bricks.
Sønderjylland has six brickworks today, three of which are owned by Petersen Tegl.