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How have motors changed the world? Discover the first and most successful power machines in history.

Exhibition closed

The second half of the museum is currently being renovated, which is why this area has been closed since July 2022. The modernisation of the exhibition is scheduled to be completed in 2028, the 125th anniversary of the museum's founding.

What is Power Machinery?

“Power machine” is another word for motor. This exhibition features a wide variety of historic power machinery, from treadmills moved by muscle power, water wheels and windmills to large steam engines.

55complete steam engines (including functional models) are included in the collection.

19machines (three as models) are currently on display at the exhibitions.

12machines can be seen in action during regular demonstrations.

Power Machinery – Exhibition Themes

Real “Manual Work”

For millennia, muscle power was the only source of power available to people for their work.

Muscle Power Machines

Water Wheels

The first “motors”: a wheel is turned by the power of water.

Water Wheels
View inside the Power Machinery exhibition, with muscle power, wind power and early hydroelectric power machines and steam engines.

Wind Power

Wind as labour: the wind turns the blades of a windmill, and this motion causes work to be performed.

Wind Power

Steam Engines up to the mid-19th Century

The historic machines in the lower area of the room look a little like an exotic menagerie.

Steam Engines up to the 19th Century

Steam Engines up to the mid-20th Century

In the middle of the 19th century, the development of steam engines was by no means complete.

Steam Engines up to the 20th Century
“The time will come when people will travel in stages moved by steam engines, from city to city, almost as fast as birds fly – fifteen or twenty miles an hour. Passing through the air with such velocity, changing the scene in such rapid succession, will be the most exhilarating exercise.”
Oliver Evans (1755–1819), American inventor

Brief Tour through the Power Machinery Exhibition

In this video, museum employee Karl Ravens guides you through the Power Machinery exhibition. He shows 10-year-old Amelie the highlights of the exhibition. (Running time: approx. 30 minutes)

Team Power Machinery

Do you have organizational questions?