Robert Sputh - inventor of the beer mat
In the centre of Mittelndorf, the members of the Mittelndorfer Frühlingsfestverein e.V. have transformed the vaulted cellar rooms of the former inn into a very special exhibition space.
The focus is on the former paper mill, which is historically significant for the village but is increasingly falling into disrepair - known to the locals as the Sputh Mill - and its founder Robert Sputh, who is regarded as the inventor of today's beer coaster.
The paper mill in question was located in the Sebnitz valley on Mittelndorf's land. On the Bautzen-Bad Schandau railway line, Sputh built a groundwood pulp factory near Mittelndorf in the Sebnitz valley from 1882 onwards, powered by water from the Sebnitz stream. The factory had its own railway siding and was popularly known as the Sputh Mill. The first customer for the groundwood pulp produced was the Sebnitz paper factory. The Sputh Mill was an employer for many Mittelndorf residents for decades.
It was here that Robert Sputh also invented the first coaster using the wood grinding process - more out of necessity than anything else. As a result of an overproduction crisis in the wood pulp industry, he looked for new uses for groundwood products in 1890/91. In 1892, he patented a "process for the production of wood felt plates or wood felt coasters", which were used as beer glass coasters. From then on, the new absorbent coasters made of groundwood replaced the felt coasters previously used in the catering trade.
In 1937, the factory burned down and is unfortunately only a ruin today.
With the exhibition, a piece of local history has now been preserved and made tangible. The people of Mittelndorf have created this exhibition with great attention to detail and look forward to your visit every Saturday from 12:00 to 16:00!