Salt was probably already being extracted in the Bad Reichenhall area in the Bronze Age (2000 - 1000 BC). This is indicated by a Bronze Age rim axe found in the area of the brine springs.
The Reichenhall brew pans were first mentioned in writing in the 7th century. In the year 696, the Bavarian Duke Theodor II gives Bishop Rupertus of Salzburg 20 "Pfannstädel" and one third of the spring deposits as a gift. This is the prelude to countless quarrels about ownership claims, mining rights and customs duties for the white gold. Until the end of the 15th century, numerous documents show ecclesiastical and secular lords as owners of the Bad Reichenhall salt pans.
From 1483 to 1532, Duke Georg der Reiche and Duke Albrecht IV acquire all the brewhouses owned by the bourgeois boiling lords and have the technical facilities thoroughly renovated.
By the 17th century, salt production had risen to 370,000 hundredweight per year. For boiling, enormous quantities of firewood had to be brought in from ever greater distances. Elector Karl Theodor successfully tackles this problem. Between 1782 and 1798, he streamlines the entire production process. Production increases, while energy consumption and the need for firewood decrease.
In 1816, the royal Bavarian salt works councilor Georg von Reichenbach is commissioned by King Max I and his minister, Count Montgelas, to build the brine pipeline from Berchtesgaden to Bad Reichenhall. He succeeds in a technical masterpiece: the construction of the brine pipeline and the construction of the famous Reichenbach pump, a water column lifting machine to overcome the differences in altitude. The historical installations can be admired today in the Old Salt Works and in the Berchtesgaden Salt Mine and on the hiking trail along the Old Brine Pipeline from Berchtesgaden to Ramsau.
In 1834, a devastating town fire destroys most of the saline facilities. Under King Ludwig I, the saltworks are rebuilt. Today, the magnificent industrial building, the main well house of the Old Salt Works, houses the historic salt springs and the Salt Museum. Salt production has long since moved to the modern Bad Reichenhall salt works.
To this day, the brine springs bubble up here underground in the widely ramified tunnel system. Above ground, the gigantic water wheels have been turning continuously since 06.06.1850.