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Deutsches Technikmuseum - Fachwerk(e)

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The Websites of the donation Stiftung Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin at a glance:


The donation contains six locations:

Photo: A woman blows into a tube, thereby increasing the temperature of the soldering flame used to weld gold beads onto a metal sheet.

Granulation: To produce the correct temperature for melting gold beads, oxygen is fed into the flame.
© Britta Schlier

Photo: A piece of sheet silver with a floral design, the flowers are decorated with gemstones.

Panel by Annika Berndt: Repoussé sheet silver with Art Nouveau decoration.
© Britta Schlier

Photo: At an approximately one-hundred-year-old guilloché machine, a women concentrates cutting a geometric pattern into a thin brass sheet.

"Jewellery Production" exhibition: At the guilloché machine, Andrea Grimm demonstrates how to engrave uniform geometric patterns into metal.
© SDTB / Clemens Kirchner

Photo: An elongated piece of sheet silver lies in a pitch-filled box waiting further processing.

Supported on a bed of pitch, a fine decoration is worked into the silver sheet using a hammer and punch (steel bars).
© Theresa Thiering

Photo: Two women sit in front of the grinding wheel and work on gemstones.

The shape and brilliance of the gemstone only appears after being processed at the grinding wheel.
© Brigitta von Grünberg

Photo: Watercolour drawing of a golden chalice.

Drawings and sketches serve to document the historic art objects.
© Anne Kaden

Fachwerk(e) - A wonderful German play on words

Restorers and the Renaissance of Precious Metals

Gallery at the Photo Technology permanent exhibition

9 August 2015 to 10 March 2016

The art of guilloché, niello, damascene or repoussé: These ancient, almost forgotten techniques, were taught as part of the course on becoming a restorer in the gold and silversmith craft trade run by the Handwerkskammer Koblenz.
The exhibition documents this unique nationwide programme in advanced training for gold and silversmith masters and the various stages involved in creating the final work of the class of 2013 - a wooden chest with ornately decorated lid crafted using a half-timbered building as a model.

Ten photo collages give visitors an opportunity to take a peek behind the scenes into the workshops of the restorers and follow them on a journey through the history of the goldsmith's craft - from ancient Egypt to the modern era.

Photo: The basic material of this panel is silver and is partially gold-plated. It is decorated with pearls, a rock crystal and a lapis lazuli.

Panel by Ingeborg Braun Frederick, crafted in Romanesque and Gothic style. © Britta Schlier

A "Fachwerk" in many respects

Crafted by experts (Fachleute), the lid of the chest is an impressive "Fach-Werk" (a play on words meaning both an expert piece and a half-timbered building). The specific design was based on the numerous half-timbered buildings in Herrstein where seminars take place.

Each of the eleven panels represents an era in the history of style and was crafted using the typical goldsmith techniques and design resources of the period along with the metals and precious stones around at the time.

In fashioning her panel, for example, Ingeborg Braun Frederick combined two predominant styles of the Middle Ages, the Romanesque and the Gothic. The enamelled semi-circular ornament with rock crystal and the repousséd pointed arches with lapis lazuli in the middle were crafted using the stained glass windows of these eras as models.

Photo: Sheet metal decorated with golden ornaments and tools, hammer, bamboo stick and chisel.

Before assembly: Panel by Thomas Rinke damascened using the Japanese Koftgari technique. © Thomas Rinke

Thomas Rinke used a centuries-old forging technique from Japan for his field, the art of damascene. In this process, the base metal is laboriously roughened using a chisel and wafer thin gold leaf is then hammered into the recessed areas.

The exhibition gives an instructive look behind the scenes at the workbenches and clearly demonstrates the demands placed on restorers in the craft trade.

Extremely well versed in science and art history, they also have detailed knowledge of historic and modern craft techniques which they combine with craftsmanship and sensitivity.

Permanent exhibition "Jewellery Production"

Further evidence of craftsmanship and inventiveness can be discovered in our permanent exhibition "Jewellery Production" (same building on the first floor).
Using the Pforzheim jewellery industry as an example, a functioning workshop with historic machines demonstrates how manufactories produced a series of jewellery in 1900. Demonstrations and films provide additional information on further technical and historical concepts.

The German Museum of Technology is taking part in a project to pass on knowledge relating to "jewellery design manufacture" and is offering jewellery makers an opportunity to learn the almost forgotten techniques of jewellery making in the manufacturing industry. This accumulated and preserved knowledge is also a treasure trove of immense value for restorers.

Header photo: Fashioned using numerous historic goldsmith techniques, this chest lid represents the craftsmanship and skill of the gold and silversmith masters who took part. © Britta Schlier