Haystacks is what the locals called them. And what do you find in haystacks? If you’re lucky? If you’re not you’d have been faced with more than 100 different working stages before you could produce even a single one, let alone find it. This was the case around two hundred years ago. And then some time later one or two ingenious minds thought up highly specialised machines like the eye-puncher and the polishing bench to help ease the production process. We’re talking about needles, of course. Sewing needles, crochet needles, furriers’ needles, carpet needles and saddlers’ needles, to name just a few examples. In the 19th century in particular their production was the pride of Iserlohn. You can find out more in the Needle Museum of the historic Maste factory site in the Iserlohn suburb of Barendorf. The museum concentrates particularly on the industrial processes without neglecting the social history aspects. One of the sections of the needle museum contains the fully operative mechanical equipment in the old hairpin factory which graphically demonstrates how a roll of wire is turned into hairpins by straightening, de-burring, tempering, buffing and polishing. The neighbouring brass foundry can also be seen in action at regular times during the week. This was were brass fittings and other typical bits and pieces were made. Nowadays visitors can see the brass being cast just as it was in the 19th century on the original site of a disused brass foundry.
All this takes place in the midst of an idyllic museum village which also contains a row of artists’ workshops. Anyone seeing the collection of half-timbered houses for the first time would scarcely suspect they were part of an industrial monument. The fact is that the village dates back to a brass rolling mill which was built here around 1820. The factory expanded up to around the mid 19th century to include further metalworking sites.
Production ceased during the First World War and afterwards the work was never resumed. In 1981 the listed buildings were purchased by the town of Iserlohn. The Needle Museum was the first to open in 1987, followed three years later by the brass foundry. Thus the Maste historic factory site in Barendorf unites two of the most important local branches of industry.
|Recommended duration of visit:||2,5 Hours|
|Duration of a guided Tour:||90 Minutes|
|Access for persons with disabilities:||Available|
|Infrastructure for Children:|
Saturday, Sunday 11am-1pm and 2-4pm