Incredibly linked to the city’s industrial identity the old brick and tile factory of the Tsalapatas brothers has been transformed into a great museum that helps preserve Volos modern history.
The new grinders, the silo, the old dryers, the Decauville steam locomotive and the impressive Hoffmann kiln are just some of the items that make a visit to the Rooftile and Brickworks Museum N. & S. Tsalapatas so interesting, as it offers a unique insight into a rare example of Greece’s industrial heritage. The factory, which opened in the Palia district in 1925, took its name from its founders: brothers Nikolaos and Spyridon Tsalapatas. Although it was based in Volos, the Tsalapatas business had a Belgian air about it from the beginning, since most of the
equipment and engineers providing the knowhow for the factory’s construction came from there. In the beginning, the brickworks employed between 125 and 150 people (rising to 250 in later years), and produced approximately 8–9 million bricks and roof tiles per year.
The major milestones for this historic business, which represents tangible evidence of how industrially developed Volos once was, include the first exports (1934), a major earthquake that damaged the factory (1955), financial difficulties (1975) and closure (1995). The Ministry of Culture, recognizing the factory’s importance, has declared it a listed monument.
It’s certainly worth making a stop at this lovely, well-preserved museum. There are unusual display items, including the black trolleys used to transport the clay all in a row; the long, smudgy chimneys of the dryers; stacks of red bricks; two green brick and tile presses in the central production area; and the Hoffmann kiln;. There’s also a dimly lit but charming tunnel dating back to 1924–26, which was closed only twice during the factory’s operation: during the German occupation and after a major earthquake.