The MAK presides over a unique archive of industrial textile products made during the Habsburg empire between roughly 1820 and 1845. In this period, which is known as the Biedermeier, new machines like the Jacquard loom presented entirely new opportunities in textile production.

The archive—only part of which is shown here—originates from the “Fabriksprodukten-Kabinett” [Cabinet of Factory Products], a collection of industrial products that was founded in 1807. Subsequently the holdings were transferred to the Technologisches Gewerbemuseum (a Viennese institute of technology that still exists today). This is the reason for the abbreviation “TGM Archive.”

The textiles were presented to the MAK exactly 100 years ago, in 1914. At that time the Biedermeier period was being rediscovered, a fact that is reflected both in the arts and crafts movement as well as in the museum‘s publications and exhibitions. Consequently, the TGM’s textile collection constituted an enormous enrichment of the museum’s holdings.

The archive is comprised of hundreds of cardboard panels, which document not only the breadth of production at that time, but also its quality, materials, and techniques. Particularly fascinating is the wealth of expressive patterns, which can be traced back to a range of stimuli: animal materials like fur, Indian cashmere shawls, or images from microscopes that reflect technical accomplishments. Many of the designs remain timelessly modern.
Sample board of silk fabrics: Vienna, 1831
Sample Board, tapes and ribbons (detail): Vienna, 1825
Execution: Johann Siehs
Silk, metal threads
TGM 23166
Designs To Go