Building 322 A
Cartridge shell turning shop
Built in 1928, partly a national monument
The building was the turning shop for cartridge shells (section A), but was later extended with the annealing line (section B). In the 1950s, the building was used to make the AR-10 rifle. This virtually indestructible weapon was the pride of Artillerie-Inrichtingen. The rifle was intended to become the new standard weapon of the Dutch army but, in the end, this didn’t happen. Therefore, only a few thousand of the rifles were produced, in collaboration with Fairchild Armelite (licence).
Next to the building is a reinforced concrete shelter, with an underground emergency station (an in-house safety facility). This was a precautionary measure during the Cold War. This subterranean emergency station is a national monument. The building has a saw-tooth roof (shed roof) that was commonly used on factories to ensure even lighting. The northerly light makes the building ideal for art displays, a big advantage given its current use.
A former employee recalls: ‘There were huge furnaces there, that all the cast iron went into. And when the casting process was complete, they had to be completely scraped out. […] Once you’d scraped it all out, it had to be completely covered again with a type of clay, then it was ready to use again. […] As I recall, casting always took place on Thursdays. All the metal was liquid and there was a plug at the bottom. You had to push the plug open with really long pole, with a kind of rag on it. Then the buckets were filled as they were carried along the conveyor belt. […] Once a bucket was full, a stopper was put in, then it continued on its way. One time, the mechanism […] broke, and everything spilled out. This man climbed into it and put a stopper in. Of course, his legs got all burned. It all spills onto the floor and splashes everywhere. […] You had to admire that guy’s dedication.’
Art Zaanstad BV is now based here. As well as renting out art, it is also a gallery for contemporary artists.
For more information: https://artzaanstad.nl/content/