“Martinelli Ginetto” Textile Museum Leffe

Inaugurated in 2005, the Textile Museum is an important testimony of Val Gandino’s textile tradition. The Museum is managed by the Associazione Ricerche tessili Storiche, A.R.T.S. a non-profit organisation. It is more than just a simple collection of mementos in that it recreates a complete (and functioning) cycle of textile activity. It starts straight away with cotton and silkworms, then moves on to the machinery for spinning, carding, teaseling and shearing but also shows special processes that serve to create lace, fringes and embroidery. The Museum also offers a section regarding silk making, with a circular silk twisting machine from the end of the 1700s with a diameter of 4.5 metres from the Leffe spinning mill.


The circular silk twisting machine has had a technological product life of at least seven centuries in the textile industry, a completely unique situation in the history of mankind: From its advent in Lucca in the 13th century to when the last models were shut down in 1935.
Leonardo da Vinci contributed to improve its efficiency with several of his inventions. The Museum has reproduced several of his intuitions (such as the traversing device) contained in the Codex Forster and Codex Madrid The first circular silk twisting machine in Leffe was built in the second half of the 1600s, establishing a “factory system” which predated the “cotton mill” of the Industrial Revolution in England by two centuries.
There is also a gigantic wheel of oak, the water-driven instrument from the old twisting machine to complete the exhibition.


Another section regards the evolution of looms: from the typical medieval loom where the shuttle is manually thrown and the “flying shuttle”, (the shuttle is thrown with a manual device), to two hand looms with wooden Jacquard machines, and finishing with a mechanical dobby loom from the early 1900s.
Other sections feature control and measurement instruments: dynamometers, torquemeters, precision scales, reeling machines as well as spinning wheels and spooling wheels.
A wheeled twisting machine with 12 flyers from 1750 and a Japanese manual twisting machine from 1800 are of exceptional interest.


Also on display: a fulling machine for woollen baize cloths, numerous sewing machines from different periods, fabric samples from 1842 onward, numerous textile designs (on paper) with patterns for punching boards for Jacquard designs, in addition to many other machines.

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