The Huguenot Anthon Fournier migrated from Lyons to Nurnberg in 1569 and established a workshop making leonische waren (leonine wares) which are fine gold, silver and copper brocades used in embroidery, military uniforms, religious works of art, bridal crowns, jewellery, Christmas decorations, and in the packaging of confectionery and cosmetics, made by rolling metals between polished steel rollers in a machine called a Plattmühle, before combining the very fine strips with linen. In 1621 Fournier’s sons set up a workshop at Roth, 15 km south of Nürnberg, which became the principal centre for the manufacture of leonine wares. The industry expanded in the 19th century making use of the water power of the Rednitz and Roth rivers, and then of steam engines, and from the early years of the century employing Jacquard looms. Towards the end of the century the technology developed in Roth was used in the manufacture of cables and other equipment for the electrical industry.
The local historical society, the Historische Verein Roth, was established in 1908, and in 1986 began to establish a museum commemorating the town’s principal industry, that was opened in 1988 in a former cable factory. It moved in 2000 to the Ober Mühle (upper mill) that had most recently been used for drawing wire, but which was occupied by a manufacturer of sequins in the early 20th century. The museum shows how leonine wares were made in the early 20th century, and includes a working Jacquard loom and a waterwheel that drives a 220V/250W electric generator.