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From needle to thread


In the run up to Heritage Day on 28 April, we’re sharing two film clips about this year’s theme: crafts and craftsmanship. The collections from the Sint-Niklaas City Archive and the Museum of Industry are home to two wonderful short films about textiles and machines, among other things, which provide us with lots of food for thought.

The clip below from the end of the 1940s illustrates, in mildly dramatic tones, the industrious activity that took place in the carpet weaving mills and knitting factories of Sint-Niklaas. Employment in agriculture declined in the 20th century, and small weaving businesses, clog makers and lace workers also gradually disappeared. Factories became the new workplace for lots of people, and old crafts were almost completely forgotten. But they didn’t disappear altogether – and handicrafts have been gaining in popularity again over recent years. Could you see yourself weaving baskets or making a stained glass window?

Traditional crafts were also slowly but surely being replaced by new technological developments in Ghent. This short film was used to train new employees so they could quickly get up to speed with textile production. The full training film explains in great detail how to clean a ring spinning machine from top to bottom. Specifically in this clip, the cylinders are being cleaned with a ‘flock catcher’.

The Museum of Industry is situated in an old cotton spinning factory in Ghent and provides a unique picture of the radical industrial changes that our society has undergone over the last 250 years.

The Sint-Niklaas City Archive (link only in Dutch) preserves archives from Sint-Niklaas and the districts of Belsele, Nieuwkerken and Sinaai. It contains both old, modern and contemporary archive material.

Want to see more? Find out what’s happening for Heritage Day in your neighbourhood on Sunday 28 April.

More clips in the spotlight: