The small town in northern Alsace owes its name to the Royal Arsenal founded in 1730 thanks to the initiative of Colbert, Minister of Economics under Louis XIV. 25 craftsmen from Solingen were recruited to work in the weaponry. In 1770, the 600-inhabitants village was home to two hammer mills, a locksmith's shop and five large grinding shops. There were smaller workshops, too, including 40 forges as well as foundries, hardening plants and filing shops, most of them powered by water. At the beginning of the 19th century, the weaponry employed about 500 workers, but it closed down in 1836 since the arms manufacture was relocated to Châtellerault in the west of France, far away from the borders.
Nobody in Klingenthal would be aware of this industrial heritage without the "Association pour la Sauvegarde du Klingenthal" (Association for the preservation of Klingenthal), which worked on the establishment of an exemplary museum since 1994. Opened in 2007, the museum illustrates the production of bladed weapons by elaborately reconstructed workshops and a relevant collection of tools and products. An industrial heritage trail with displays provides insights into the architectural remains.