Station: [15] Aar Valley Railroad, Bender Mousetrap

M: This is the room where tech fans and railroad enthusiasts come into their own! In here, it’s all about the vehicles used in public transit and local transportation systems – the ones that link Dotzheim to the rest of the world, then and now: buses, streetcars, and since the end of the 19th century, the railroad.

F: On the center shelf of our wall-mounted display case, you can see several model trains. With the Langenschwalbach or Aar Valley Railroad, Dotzheim possessed a real attraction – one that transported spa guests and locals from Wiesbaden via Dotzheim, through the Taunus hills, all the way to the Rhein-Lahn district. The southern branch, between Wiesbaden and Bad Schwalbach, was brought into service in 1889. The railcars were specially built, designed specifically to deal with the mountainous route through the Taunus range. In those days, railcars usually had three fixed axles, and there was a risk of derailment on the very tight bends. So they built cars with two double-axle bogies that were able to run safely on the steep, winding route.

If you’d like to see the Aar Valley Railroad in action, you can access a link to a short video by Dotzheim film maker Harald Kuntze at the end of this audio commentary.

M: Dotzheim’s rail link was not just used by tourists and spa visitors. The transportation network was also largely responsible for the economic upturn. For example, the sheet metal works owned by Carl Bender exported its products by rail. Its most important product is on display in the wall-mounted glass case, just under the model trains: the “Capito” mousetrap, which caught the mouse and then drowned it. Patented in 1896, it became the company’s top export and even made its way to the US by rail and by boat. But “Capito” also did good service back home in the Nassau region. One room where it was no doubt frequently deployed is next on our list: the historic kitchen.

Film station 15: © Harald Kuntze, Dotzheim