The German Tool Museum

Tools for success

The German Tool Museum shows what people in the area have invented and developed over the years: from Stone Age clubs to high-tech tools in the computer age. It’s no secret that the museum is located in Remscheid. For centuries the town has been an important centre of tool manufacturing and the home of many inventors and creative minds. Countless tools have been – and are still being  exported from here all over the globe, thereby making Remscheid known throughout the world.

How to be a (temporary) toolmaker

When the steam engine in the German Tool Museum is set in motion the noise is impressively loud. The machine marked a decisive step forward in the development of toolmaking in Remscheid. At first people worked in the valleys with the help of water power, but from the middle of the 19th century they finally had access to a source of energy which was independent of any particular locality and could be used to produce tools in modern factories.

The museum has a lot of things for visitors to discover and – literally – to grasp. There are places where you can test your skills at being a lathe operator, a locksmith or a file cutter and try out the original tools.

How merchants lived

The adjacent Haus Cleff museum tells visitors about the lives of the merchants who sold the tools abroad. Haus Cleff was built in rococo style in 1778/1779.

In the beginning was waterpower

In the Steffenshammer building you can find out how everything began with waterpower. The old blacksmith’s workshop is situated in the Gelpe valley, around 15 minutes walk from the German Tool Museum. During the summer months the old water wheel rotates on regular occasions and blacksmiths work here.

The Trail of Tools

The Trail of Tools begins only a few minutes walk away from the German Tool Museum. It allows visitors to get a palpable idea of industrial heritage from the perspective of the railway, and also provides information on firms and their products.

The roots of the Remscheid tool industry lay in the streams running along the valley. With the help of hydraulic power high-class steel was forged and processed there. The invention of the steam engine around 1850 made manufacturers independent of this form of energy. Factories now expanded along the hills like a belt around the town centre of Remscheid. From there the goods and raw materials were transported elsewhere by rail.

The railway is now part of the past and its track has been completely redesigned as a trail for pedestrians and cyclists. Markings in the path show passers-by products made by local companies.
(Total length: 5 km)

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