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The works, founded in 1537 by mining officer Hans Leonhardt, takes its name from liquation, a process for extracting silver from silver-bearing copper ore. Grünthal Liquation Works was an independent community with its own jurisdiction. Residential and utility buildings are therefore found here alongside production and administrative buildings. After being taken over by the Electorate of Saxony, the Works became a copper processing centre, where copper coins were also minted. Virtually all of the buildings have remained intact, providing an example of the pre-industrial smelting and processing of silver-bearing copper ores that is unparalleled in Europe. The copper hammer built in 1534/37 is located outside the works complex. Between 1958 and 1960, the site was converted into a technical exhibition centre.