The Museum für Frühindustrialisierung is a museum of industrial and social history that shows the early development of industry in the valley of the Wupper with its technical, social, economic and mental facets. Founded in 1983, it was one of the first museums for social history which dealt with the history of industrialization. The museum visitor gets to know the valley of the Wupper as an early industrial pioneer region, as a laboratory of modernity.
Numerous original devices and machines as well as audiovisual and multimedia installations make industrialization in the Wupper valley comprehensible and tangible. Some historical machines are kept ready for operation and demonstrated to visitors to make their functioning transparent and understandable. This gives visitors a fascinating impression of the historical working processes and allows them to become active themselves.
The presentation of population development, immigration, forms of settlements and socio-religious structures occupies a large space. The living cultures of the bourgeoisie as well as of craftsmen and industrial workers are vividly presented with numerous original exhibits. The changes in communication and transport relations (railway, post, customs), global interdependencies and the question of the impact of production on the environment (water as a resource) round off the view of the Wupper valley as an industrial pioneer region.
The permanent exhibition in the Museum für Frühindustrialisierung is currently being modernized and is closed!
Here the spirit of a great historical personality breathes: Friedrich Engels (1820-1895). The son of a factory owner from Barmen was a real all-rounder: philosopher, social critic, historian, journalist, communist revolutionary, military expert, cosmopolitan, besides a linguistic genius, sporty, communicative and hard-drinking, but always a gentleman and basically a workaholic,
for Karl Marx „a true universal encyclopaedia“.
Already in the 19th century he recognized the pitfalls of capitalism. Friedrich Engels completed his commercial training in his father´s cotton mill in Manchester. The miserable situation of the workers in England particularly touched him. He took it as an opportunity to also theoretically deal with the textile industry, which operated with a high capital investment and the latest technology and was initially the leading sector of the “Industrial Revolution”.
His work "Umrisse zu einer Kritik der Nationalökonomie (Outlines of a Critique of National Economy)" (1844) had a lasting influence on Karl Marx, who had studied philosophy and law. Through Engels, Marx found his way to economics. The symbiotic friendship between these two lateral thinkers led to an extraordinarily productive working group with over one hundred writings. The best-known and most influential work was "Das Kapital (Capital)" by Karl Marx (volume 1 of three volumes waspublished in 1867). Engel´s important socially critical opus "Die Lage der arbeitenden Klasse in England (The Condition of the Working Class in England)" was published in 1845.
“Proletarians of all countries unite!” This famous sentence ends the “Manifesto of the Communist Party” published by Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx in 1848. Karl Marx, the theorist of scientific socialism, and Friedrich Engels, the practitioner of economics. Both are among the important personalities of the 19th century, who have had a lasting influence on the contemporary history of the 20th century.
In the historic Engels House there is an exhibition with original documents on the life and work of Friedrich Engels and his family.
This permanent exhibition in the Engels House is currently being modernized and is closed!
With the Manuelskotten, the city of Wuppertal has a special kind of industrial historic monument.
Nestled in the narrow valley of the Kaltenbach, the Kotten lies halfway between Cronenberg and Kohlfurth. Today, the Manuelskotten is not only the last waterwheel-driven facility on this stream, but also in the entire city of Wuppertal. Due to the various types of propulsion assembled under its roof, it is unique in the entire region. With water wheel, steam engine, diesel engine, generator and electric motor, it gives an overview of the history of energy production. Even today, commercial grinding and sharpening are carried out in the Manuelskotten. Due to the largely unchanged technology and minimal interventions in the environment of the Kotten, an authentic situation can be presented.
Since autumn 2017, the Manuelskotten has a new attraction: an exhibition on wet grinding, that can be visited on the upper floor (during the opening hours of the Kotten and by appointment).
Informative texts, historical pictures, archive documents and numerous exhibits from the extensive collection of the association provide exciting insights into the history of the Manuelskotten and wet grinding. They report on the people behind the grindstones, their daily work and working conditions. The special hand movements and challenges of this craft are illuminated as well as Cronenberg´s importance as a manufacturingsite for high-quality tools. The collection of the association includes more than 500 exhibits. Most of them are stored in thematically arranged drawers. These invite you to discover, read and deepen your knowledge.
The exhibition was sponsored by the Landschaftsverband Rheinland.
The Kalktrichterofen is a branch of the Wuppertal Historical Centre. It was built around 1850 and documents the beginnings of industrial lime production. In the west of the city, around the village of Dornap, an important lime industry was established at this time near the steelworks of the Ruhr area, which at times covered around 50% of German lime requirements.
The Kalktrichterofen had to be closed for safety reasons, and until further notice there will be no guided tours. The exhibition on the history of the lime industry inside the Kalktrichterofen is therefore unfortunately not currently accessible. In cooperation with the Sonnborn-Zoo-Varresbeck citizens‘ association, a new usage concept will be developed, which will form the basis for the redevelopment of the unique industrial monument.