Information taken from Iserlohn city tourism website. A Proud Tradition in Iron and Wood At the beginning of the 20th century, Iserlohn was the most important industrial city in Westphalia. There were several “Eisen Fabrikschen” - small iron factories - in the town center, but today, most have been converted into apartments or stores. “Iser” and “Lohn” are old, regional expressions for “iron” and “wood”, and there were once plenty of both. Wood is needed to process iron ore. Back in the 17th century, Iserlohn was already famous for its production of iron needles. Deliveries were sent as far away as China. Chains, chain mail shirts, locks, iron mountings, and snuffboxes were exported to England, Sweden and Russia. The heyday in iron production lasted until the mid 19th century. The foundation stone for the Metal Industry Vocational School was laid during this time. But as the Ruhr area grew into a metropolitan region, Iserlohn’s somewhat remote location proved to be a great disadvantage. Dortmund quickly surpassed the iron-manufacturing city in terms of population and wealth. From Steel Chains to Fine Wire Today, Iserlohn is a small and remarkably picturesque industrial city. From the surrounding hills and mountains, you can see almost nothing but forests. Many of the streets in Iserlohn are lined with villas built by the 19th century factory owners, with gardens that once backed on to the factories. In addition to the service industry, the metal processing industry is still one of Iserlohn’s main economic pillars. The focus of production has changed, however. The largest steel chains in the world are still manufactured here, but the wire drawers have been replaced by fine wire suppliers for the American air and space agency, NASA. The information technology sector has also discovered Iserlohn and many IT companies have established themselves here. The “Brausezentrum”, located on the highly polished grounds of a former pen factory, is popular among start-ups. The picturesque industrial city on the edge of the Sauerland is without a doubt an up-and-coming location.