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LWL-Industriemuseum | Westfälisches Landesmuseum für Industriekultur

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Kitchen interior of The Brickworks Pauslen near the town of Büsum, around 1920

Discovering history

Working at home and far away

Local industries could not offer enough work to men from the Lippe region. Hence hundreds travelling brickmakers left their homes every spring to find work elsewhere. Until autumn they worked at brickworks in north and east Germany, as well as in the Ruhrgebiet. What did these men take with them? Where did they live and what did their everyday working life consist of?

Trunks and bed frames – with bedbugs – photos and postcards written by men to their families, give an impression of their life and work away from home. Everyday life at home can be seen in an old cottage with a kitchen garden. Here the wives of the brickmakers had to cope with being alone for most of the year. They brought up their children, cooked and washed, grew potatoes and vegetables, kept hens, goats and a pig. In addition they often helped out on nearby farms during the harvest period in order to earn enough money to pay the rent.

On your tour of the handmoulded brick mill and the mechanical brickworks you will find out how the work changed over the course of a century.

Here you will get to know more about the work on the picking belt and the clay presses, in the pressing room, the drying shelves and finally the ring kiln, the place where the men had to push the unbaked bricks into the fire and take the finished products out again – an extremely heavy and sweaty job. This piece of history is repeated here every year in May when we fire the ring kiln to bake bricks.

Fire in the ring kiln