Husqvarna, a small community 5 km south of the city of Jönkoping, has been an important centre for engineering since the seventeenth century. In 1620 King Gustavus Adolphus established several armaments manufactories, one of them at Jönkoping, whose managers in 1689 opened a machine shop, principally for working the barrels of muskets, alongside a waterfall at Husqvarna.
In 1757 the Swedish state disposed of the two works to a private entrepreneur who in the course of the next century concentrated all the company’s activity at Husqvarna. It began to manufacture a wide range of products for civilian markets, including guns for hunters, stoves, bicycles, motorcycles, sewing machines, chain saws, lawn mowers, and a variety of household appliances, although weapons were still produced until 1989. The company now concentrates on outdoor powered products.
The museum, managed by a local history society in collaboration with Husqvarna AB, illustrates its activities over several centuries, and in the street called Smedsbygatan, a short distance away, workers’ housing from late seventeenth or early eighteenth century has been adapted as studios for artists and craftsmen, at the centre of which is the Galleri Smedbyn art gallery.