The valley of the River Mühl around Haslach near Austria’s borders with Bavaria and the Czech Republic has been renowned for its textiles for many centuries. One of the most prominent companies was Vonwiller, established in 1819, which subsequently constructed a factory that is one of the most prominent buildings in Haslach. Around 1900 fabrics woven on its Jacquard looms were being sent all over the world.
The factory closed in 1999 but there was concern amongst local people that textile traditions should not be lost. The building was purchased by the local authority and now houses a range of activities related to textiles, including a museum of weaving, a centre for promoting textile arts, a business concerned with the processing of wool from flocks in the locality, a one-year training course in weaving, and a hub for the development of new products. The centre maintains links with similar textile projects across Europe, and with the textile departments of several universities. A second building was taken over in 2006, and attractions now include a museum of slot machines and mechanical music.