Museum für Frühindustrialisierung

As a museum for social and industrial history the Museum für Frühindustrialisierung displays the early development of the industry of Wuppertal including its technical, social, economical and cultural dimensions.
Founded in 1983, it was one of the first museums for social history that has dealt with the history of  industrialization.
Visitors get to know Wuppertal as an earliy industrial pioneer region and as a laboratory of modernism.
Original devices and machines as well as audiovisual and multimedia  installations enable visitors to experience the industrialization of Wuppertal.
Some of the historical machines are kept ready for operation. They are presented attractively to the visitors in order to make their functioning transparent and comprehensible.
This gives a fascinating impression of  the historic working procedures. Visitors can engange themselves actively in a number of different ways.
The presentation of the population development, the immigration, the types of settlements and the social-religious structure is taking up the most space.
The lifestyle culture of the bourgeoisie as well as of craftsmen and industrial workers is displayed by using original exhibits.
As caused by the industrialisation the communication and transport networks (railway, post etc.), global interdependencies as well as the problem of the impact of industrialistion on the environment complete the view on Wuppertal as an industrial pioneer region.
The permanent exhibition of the Museum für frühindustrialisierung is being modernised and is, therefore, closed!


Here, the spectre of a great historic personality breathes:
Friedrich Engels (1820-1895). The son of a factory owner from Barmen was a genuine all-rounder:
a philosopher, social critic, historian, journalist, communist revolutionary, military expert, cosmopolitan as well as a multilingualist. He was sporty, communicative and hard-drinking – but always a gentleman and, basically, a workaholic.
For Karl Marx he was „a true and universal encyclopaedia“.

As early as in the 19th century he had noticed the dark side of capitalism. Friedrich Engels finished his commercial education in the cotton-mill of his father in Manchester.
He was very touched by the miserable condition of the workers in England.
Engels took this as an occasion to also deal theoretically with the textile industry which operated with high investments and the latest technology.
In the beginning, it was the most important leading sector of the Industrial Revolution.
His work entitled "Umrisse zu einer Kritik der Nationalökonomie" (1844) has had a real influence on Karl Marx who studied  philosophy and law.
Via Engels Marx had found his way to economics. The symbiotic friendship of the two lateral thinkers  has led to a very productive working community including one-houndred writings.
The most famous-and influential work is "Das Kapital" by Karl Marx (volume 1 of the three volumes published 1867).
Engel´s most famous sociocritical opus "Die Lage der arbeitenden Klasse in England" was published 1845.

The "Kommunistische Manifest" ends with the famous sentence “proletarians of all countries unite!”.
It was published by Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx in 1848. Karl Marx, theorist of scientific socialism, and Friedrich Engels, the practitioner of political economy, are among the most eminent characters of the 19th century - both have had a lasting effect on the contemporary history of the 20th century.

There is an exhibition inside of the Engels-House that provides original documents about the life and work of Friedrich Engels whose roots lie in Wuppertal.

This permanent exhibition is being modernised and is, therefore, closed!


With the Manuelskotten Wuppertal has an industrial historic monument of a special kind.
Nestling in the narrow valley of the Kaltenbach the cotten is half way between Cronenberg and Kohlfurth.
The Manuelskotten was the last cotten powered by a water wheel and also the latest of its kind in the entire city area of Wuppertal.
Due to the various types of operating mechanisms united under its roof it is unique in the entire region. Having a water wheel, steam engine, diesel engine, generator and electric motor it provides an insight into the history of energy production.
Inside of the Manuelskotten grinding tools are commercially polished and grinded even today.
Thanks to its unchanged technique and minimal interventions in the environment of the Kotten it is possible to create authentic moments.
Since autumn 2017, the Manuelskotten has a new attraction:

an exhibition on the process of wet grinding that can be visited on the upper floor (on opening hours of the Kotten and by agreement).
Informative texts, historical pictures, archive documents and numerous exhibits from the extensive collection of the citizen`s association provide an insight into the history of the Manuelskotten and the process of wet grinding.
They show the people behind the grinding stones, their daily routine and working conditions.
The techniques and challenges of this craft will be discussed just as much as the importance of Cronenberg as a production site for high-quality tools.
The collection of the association holds more than 500 exhibits. The major part of it is placed in thematically arranged drawers.
These invite you to discover, read and deepen your knowledge.
The exhibition has been supported by the Landschaftsverband Rheinland.



Built 1850 around , the Kalktrichterofen documents the beginning of the industrial production of burnt lime.
In the western part of Wuppertal around Dornap, during that time a lime industry has been created.
This industry was located close to the steelworks of the Ruhrgebiet and (temporarily) covered  about 50 percent of the German lime requirement.
The Kalktrichterofen had to be closed for safety reasons.
No further tours are offered. Thus, the exhibition on the history of the lime industry in the interior of the Kalktrichterofen is not accessible.
In cooperation with the citizens‘ association Sonnborn-Zoo-Varresbeck we are currently working on a new concept which is said to serve as a basis of the redevelopment of this unique industrial monument.