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It has been two hundred years since the mill, which would provide energy to the papermaking machines, was set in motion on the Rječina. The protagonist of this story is the Rijeka entrepreneur Andrija Ljudevit Adamić. In 1821, he bought the small mill in the Rječina canyon, in the area of Lučica, and two years later paper production began there. With this move, he laid the foundations of the building that we recall as the Paper Mill. For years, the City Museum of Rijeka collected material about this part of Rijeka’s commercial history and formed the Paper Mill Collection. The collection is the cornerstone of the exhibition, dedicated to the workers of the Mill who are no more and the machines that no longer work.
The author of the exhibition, Kristina Pandža, has attempted to cover the numerous chapters of the story of Hartera – the Paper Mill. Starting from Adamic’s visionary business idea and his decision to sell the initial plant to Walter Crafton Smith and Charles Meynier, two men with experience in paper production, whereby the era of continuous investment in the production process, the building of a modern plant, which included a steam engine, began. The end of the 19th century brought the greatest change in production: at that time old rags ceased to be the main raw material for making paper – they were replaced by cellulose. Wrapping and packaging paper, crêpe paper, cigarette paper, printing paper and other types of paper that left Rijeka’s production halls were in demand on all continents.
The work of the Mill did not go without challenges. We do not only mean the floods of the Rječina’s riverbed, frequent fires and the like but the difficult working conditions in the plants, as well as diseases such as “cunjavica” (anthrax) that appeared because of the use of old rags in the production chain. At the end of the 19th century, the more systematic production of cigarette paper began. The 20th century was marked by a series of changes in its owners and directors. Work would continue despite difficult economic circumstances, the division of the city between the Kingdom of Italy and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, and the dangers that the Second World War caused. During the time of Yugoslavia, cigarette paper continued to be the number one export, and the Mill provided seven per cent of the world’s cigarette paper market in the 1980s. But then came the transformational 90s, which meant shutting up shop. The insolvency proceedings were completed in 2005.
The exhibition is open from 16th September until 19th November 2021.

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