Limbach-Oberfrohna, a medium-sized town, 19 km. west of Chemnitz and 36 km. east of Zwickau, is one of the historic centres of the textile industry in Saxony, and is particularly important for its role in the development of hosiery technology. Johann Esche (1682-1752) built a silk stocking factory in the town in 1719. His family continued to manage factories in Limbach-Oberfrohn and the present-day Esche-Museum is located in a three-storey hosiery factory built in 1854 by Ernste Reinhold Esche (1817-73), where in 1860 he employed about 110 workers in 1860, together with about 60 more in a textile finishing plant, and many more who worked in their own homes. The museum, supported by a voluntary association, the Forderverein Esche-Museum eV, was established in 2001. It tells the story of the hosiery industry from the time when it was entirely a domestic manufacture, through the time when knitting frames were used in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to the present day, and emphasises particularly the role of Limbach-Oberfrohna and of Saxony in general.
The latter stages of the exhibition are largely devoted to the work of Henrich Mauersberger (1909-82) whose stitch-bonding process, developed in his garage using scrap materials in 1946-49, transformed many aspects of textile manufacturing throughout the world. It is called the MALIMO process: i.e. MAuersberger LIMbach-Oberfrohna, and has been licensed in more than 80 countries. Mauersberger died in Berlin where in his last years he lived a modest life, deprived of the royalties due from his patents, which were withheld from him by the former GDR government.