This department has two big attractions: a demonstration of historic suitcase production methods and a large section on jewellery manufacturing. Both focus on preserving and relating the techniques and skills with which men and women produced everyday items using a combination of work done by hand and by machines.
“Suitcase production” shows how a common everyday product was made. The cardboard case with vulcanised-fibre corners has been a typical piece of luggage since the 1920s, a mass-produced article for all. This is the only museum where you can watch all the steps involved in manufacturing.
Our big exhibition of “Jewellery manufacture” allows you to follow the production of a piece of jewellery on authentic machines, some of which are more than a century old.
Seven fields are highlighted: embossing/pressing/punching, rolling and drawing, casting, grinding and polishing, engine turning, chainmaking, and the goldsmith’s craft skills. Film excerpts provide fascinating insights into jewellery manufacture past and present.
A research project is currently reconstructing early-twentieth-century Art Nouveau jewellery and examining the ways it was manufactured.