This museum commemorates the work of an industrial pioneer who established a mechanical engineering company that produced a remarkable variety of products over more than two centuries. Frédéric Japy (1749-1812) served an apprenticeship as a watchmaker at Locle in Switzerland before settling at Beaucourt near Belfort in France-Comté, then a village of less than 300 inhabitants, in 1777. He established a company that combined the disciplines of large-scale production with the traditional skills of the metal-working artisans of the region. He retired in 1806 leaving the business to his sons, and his descendants were involved with the company for most of the rest of its history.
The museum opened in 1986 on the ground floor of a four-storey brick and stone factory called "La Pendulerie" (the clock factory), whose upper floors have been adapted as dwellings. The project was officially classified as a museum in 1996. The displays feature the astonishing variety of products made by the Japy company in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, watches, clocks, machine tools, coffee grinders, pumps, enamelled pans, typewriters and various kinds of prime movers. Displays show something of the lives of the workers and of the company’s Protestant ideology. It was argued by many that diversification weakened the company, which was split in 1955 into several different concerns the last of which went into liquidation in 1979.