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The Technical Museum of Pforzheim

An overview

The Technical Museum is a place for stimulating encounters with Pforzheim’s jewellery and watchmaking industries. In the building of the former Kollmar & Jourdan jewellery manufactory, visitors can gain insights into the world of Pforzheim’s traditional jewellery and watchmaking industries, which once dominated the global market. In addition to showing the products and the technology involved in their manufacture, the significant role these historical industries played as a work environment for the people concerned and as a driving force for the city’s development is highlighted.

Retired artisans from the jewellery and watchmaking industries display their goldsmithing or steel-engraving, engine-turning or chain-making skills at workplaces equipped with historical machines. So visitors have an opportunity to witness first-hand the numerous worksteps involved in manufacturing a watch or a resplendent piece of jewellery.

The museum is a place where history comes alive, by judicious and illuminating juxtaposition of these industries’ past and present. A number of contemporary jewellery and watchmaking companies are spotlighted, as well as a few that have developed other, innovative industries and services from their traditional capabilities.

Pforzheim’s icon of industrial architecture

The distinctive building in Bleichstrasse attracts both locals’ and visitors’ attention with its façade entirely clad in tiles. It was built in the early 20th century for the renowned Kollmar & Jourdan jewellery and chain manufactory. Originally, the building comprised an entire block of houses – which is no wonder, considering the fact that in advertising material dating back to 1910, Kollmar & Jourdan referred to itself as the »world’s biggest chain factory«. The edifice was damaged in World War II, but did not lose much of its imposing size and elegant façade. The eponymous company produced jewellery there until 1977. Afterwards, the building became home to shops and offices, to the Technical Museum (in 1983), as well as to other institutions, such as the Pforzheim Gallery – the Municipal Gallery of Regional Art, and a school.