The guests reverently climb the wonderfully carved wooden staircase sweeping upwards in a curve to the first floor of the house. In doing so they gaze on a picture of cloth production as it generally occurred in the 18th century: washing and drying the wool, spinning and weaving, milling, cropping and finally sealing the finished material. Up above in the Blue Room the Lord of the Manor and his wife welcome their guests to take tea or coffee in their precious chinaware. That said, this „only“ occurs on a portrait of Wilhelm and Theresia Elisabeth Scheibler made in 1780.
Visitors are in one of the most beautiful buildings from the era of manufacturing and the early industrialisation of woollen cloth making: the Red House in Monschau. Built by the cloth manufacturer Johann Heinrich Scheibler around 1760 it shows various different epochs of upper class domestic life. The house was not only used as a family residence, but also housed the offices and storage rooms, not forgetting the cellar with its scouring and dying rooms and their rinsing channels.
Nowadays the Red House is a museum which visitors may view on guided tours. It is not only the sole remaining representative building belonging to a cloth manufacturer in the old town centre of Monschau, but also one of the most splendid buildings of them all. The little town on the River Rur with its narrow streets and half-timbered houses blossomed in the 18th century. Here workers produced precious woollen material which was exported to countries as far away as Turkey and Russia. During the peak years there were around 4,000 to 6,000 spinners and weavers in the Eifel and the region around Limburg, all working at home for Scheibler´s company. In this way they were able to eke out a little extra to supplement their meagre farming income. When mechanical production began to take over at the start of the 19th century, it attracted waves of people into the town in search of paid work. But the poor road communications and the difficulty firms experienced in expanding their businesses in the narrow Rur valley resulted in the cloth industry gradually moving away from the area. Now the Red House, more than anything else, stands as a reminded of the splendid period of textile production in Monschau.