Swiss Sewing Machine Museum & AGM

17 Mar. 2012

In conjunction with the Annual General Meeting on March 17, 2012, we visited the Swiss Museum of the Sewing Machine and Unusual Objects in Fribourg. We received a warm welcome by Mr. Wassmer the founder and owner of the museum and his son. The 16 visitors were split into an English and a French speaking group. The unique collection of household appliances, vacuum cleaners, irons and more than 250 sewing machines etc. are on display on the ground floor and in the magnificent vaulted cellar. We could see the oldest existing sewing machine, tiny machines for children, beautifully designed ones, also very large ones for sewing leather, jute or other heavy material. We learned that Singer is an American inventor (here is an MIT-based link on Isaac Singer). The museum also contains an extraordinary series of irons. Plunged suddenly into the past, we imagine our great-grandmothers heating their irons with methylated spirit, gas, hot coal or simply by placing them on the stove. Very special also the first mechanical vacuum cleaners with bellows. Two people were needed to operate them, one to pump the air., the other to sweep. We could also see antique wooden washing appliances. There are hundreds of unusual objects to be seen, such as a pistol to kill moles, a top-hat that could be collapsed for traveling etc. Our guides explained the various objects and what they were used for. Amazing how human beings have always been innovative to find ways to make everyday life easier. The museum is located in the old town of Fribourg, on Grand-Rue 58, near the Cathedral St. Nicolas. The foundation of the house dates back to the 12th century.

Jake Nigg