I highly recommend a visit and tour of the museum and factory, having seen it ourselves in May 2011, when we supplied and delivered a large collection of original Bengel jewellery and sample items back to the museum. It is a veritable time capsule! The museum exhibition and factory tour is in two parts. The exhibition currently shows over 30 glass display cases of jewellery in the form of watch chains and (mostly) necklaces from the in-house production during the 20th century with additional explanations of the history of the jewellery trade sector and the production process.
You can also see a working chain making machine running in slow motion to show how a wire is turned into a chain.
The second part of the exhibition is in the factory and machine rooms, where not only will you see the mechanical production processes, but also an impressive presentation of the economic development, the social structures and the working conditions of that period.
In the machine room there are 40 chain machines – most of which were built by in-house toolmakers in the factory. The oldest being over 100 years old. With these well preserved and regularly serviced machines, chains are still produced to this day.
Also during the tour other machines like die cutters, drawing benches, friction presses will be activated and explained. The running machines allow for a comprehensive understanding of the operational sequences and work methods of the last century. To visit the exhibition room and see the working chain machine, opening hours are: Open all year, Monday to Friday 7 am – 4 pm. Closed on holidays.
Admission prices are a very reasonable and currently (July 2011) €3.00 Euros per adult with concessions for students, larger groups and children under 6 years free. For safety reasons the tour through the factory can only be done with a guide and in small groups with up to 15 people. The guided tour on weekends can only be made by previous appointment by phone.
Prices for the complete tour and exhibition are also a very reasonable €22.50 Euros for a group of 4 adults (all inclusive), and concessions for larger groups and students.
For further information contact the museum on 0049 6781 27030
Sheryl with Christel Braun, granddaughter of Jakob Bengel and daughter of Ernst Hartenberger who took over the company and was chiefly responsible for the production of the art deco jewellery at the factory.
A small section of the original factory showing the working machinery.
Sheryl with Karl-Dieter Braun (left) husband of Christel, and Wilhelm Lindemann, author of the second Bengel Art Deco Schmuck book at the factory in Idar-Iberstein.
Another section of the original factory showing cases full of dies and presses used to make necklaces and brooches.
An original 1920’s sample card showing chain and bracelet samples with the raw material in the shape of flat and tubed metal before production.
Karl-Dieter Braun showing Sheryl production techniques on one of the original machines used in the factory.
An original sample card from the Bengel factory currently owned by Sheryl’s Art Deco Emporium which is being purchased by the Jakob Bengel Foundation.
Sample cards showing a small selection of coloured samples of galalith used by the factory.
An original pattern book showing designs for jewellery produced by the factory during the art deco era.
Samples of some of the work produced by the factory and currently on show at the museum
A selection of original drawings by Bengel.
A sample card of watch fobs on view in the factory. One of many sample cards displayed on the walls throughout the factory.
An art deco style machine to make art deco jewellery!
Another sample card showing among other things, glass items. Much of the glass was supplied from Czechoslovakia which was a major glass producer during the 1920’s – 1930’s.
More dies and stamps for the production of jewellery viewable in the factory.