Begun on 26 May 1863, the Hottinguer shaft is 618 metres deep, making it one of the deepest in France.
To reach such a depth, it had an innovative extraction system for the time, devised by the director, Zulma Blanchet. He invented a revolutionary atmospheric extraction system housed in a building with the architecture of the "Tour Malakoff".
A revolutionary extraction system
This atmospheric tube system remains unique in the world: in a tube 1.60 metres in diameter and 550 metres long (machined in Le Creusot), the cage piston, by suction created by the vacuum, can lift 4.5 tonnes of coal in 7 minutes, while it aerates the galleries.
The Malakoff Tower
As the extraction system required very high installations, a German-inspired Malakoff tower was built between 1872 and 1876 to protect the headframe of the Hottinguer shaft and the extraction machine.
The heritage value of this building has been recognised since the end of the 19th century, with visits organised and memoirs written.
Today, this structure is recognised as one of the most important examples of our industrial heritage, and a number of books have been written about it.
This monument is a candidate for classification as a Historic Monument and is undergoing extensive renovation work.
However, the deposit did not live up to Zulma Blanchet's expectations, as coal was only found at a depth of 618 metres on 17 November 1871 (i.e. 8 years after the start of prospecting!!). Atmospheric extraction was abandoned around 1884 and the shaft closed in 1936.
In 1910, a power station was added to the monumental building, providing electricity to villages as far as Autun and the Côte de Beaune (Meursault, Volnay and Pommard) (until June 1943).