Sweaters, socks, underwear, sportswear, swimwear – products like that were churned out by the Salhus Knitwear (Tricotage) Factory for more than 130 years. Notably knitwear branded Krone-Maco became quite known in Norway. For visitors the machines are still put into operation, since the former textile works nowadays host the Textile Industry Museum. The multi-part building with its workshops bathed in light is located at the Salhus Fjord right to the north of Bergen. Tours of the museum start in the oldest part of the factory and cover every single step of the manufacturing procedure, ranging from wool carding to spinning and winding the threads and to the final knitwear products. For visitors this is an experience that involves all senses. How does carded wool actually feel? How does a knitting machine work and what noise level does it reach? What were the working conditions like and how did they affect the employees? At the end the well-stocked museum shop invites everyone to buy the same socks and scarfs he or she just watched being produced.
Measured in terms of population figures Salhus is small. Nevertheless it plays a major role for the Norwegian textile industry. In 1859 two Germans, Philip Christian Clausen and Ernst Christian Ramm, established Salhus Tricotagefabrik to produce knitwear for a variety of functions. At that time fully mechanized textile factories were very rare in Norway, thus making Salhus a pioneer of the country’s industrialization. In fact the place paradigmatically mirrors the fundamental cultural and economic transformation of Norway from an agricultural 1850s society to a modern industrial nation.
To illustrate this context the Textile Industry Museum moves on two separate tracks. The focus is on the factory itself with its original and still functional machines including a circular knitting machine from 1889. Apart from that the museum serves as a gateway to an industrial heritage trail across the town. By following it visitors explore the surroundings of the factory, consisting of worker’s dwellings, a school, and a nursing home. In addition, Salhus was home to two further large textile works, the Salhus Væverier and Birkelund Trikotasjefabrikk. Together they turned a former unknown village into a centre of the Norwegian textile industry. In their heydays the three plants numbered roughly 700 employees and shaped the place for decades - everything in Salhus, even the social and cultural interaction, was linked to the three major employers.
When the factory chimneys stopped smoking in 1989, Salhus Tricotagefabrik was listed in order to represent the legacy of the textiles sector in Western Norway. After an extensive restoration of the buildings and machines it reopened as a museum in 2001. Today it is Bergen’s only national industrial heritage site. Guided tours for children and special knitting events are part of the regular programme.
|Recommended duration of visit:||2 Hours|
|Duration of a guided tour:||60 Minutes|
|Access for persons with disabilities:||Available|
|Infrastructure for children:|
|Gift and book shop on site:||yes|