Returning to Eibergen about 20km to the north of Winterswijk, Bert and I visited the Historisch Museum de Scheper (De Scheper History Museum) in a stately villa at Hagen 24. This Museum is the brainchild of amateur archaeologist and historian Herman Schepers, whom I first met when visiting Eibergen in October 2017.
We met him again today, in the brick barn near the entrance to the Museum, with a volunteer who is progressively taking digital photographs of hundreds of farm implements and other artefacts collected by Mr Schepers since WW2 which are currently stored in the dusty shed, awaiting an opportunity to be put on public display. This lent an authenticity to the effort involved in collecting and cataloguing the wide variety of effects assembled and stockpiled by the elderly Mr Schepers.
Looking through the exhibits on display in the Museum, I gained a fresh insight into why a small village like Eibergen had – during the time my father lived there from the 1920s to the 1940s – multiple slaughterhouses and butcher shops; and why so many members of my father’s parents’ families were involved in the cattle trade.
In the late 1800s, the Prakke family established a large tannery and leather production factory in Eibergen. The Praake factory principally produced leather transmission belts used in industrial-scale manufacturing, until its closure in the 1950s. A ready supply of cattle hide would be essential for a reliable supply of raw material for the leather factory.
This Museum was also interesting and a peaceful place to spend two hours looking over the exhibits.
The courtyard at the entrance to Museum de Scheper at Hagen 24, Eibergen
Leather transmission belts used in industrial-scale manufacturing, made by the Prakke family business in Eibergen – the van Praake tannery used chromium sulphate to tan hides, a ‘cutting edge’ process at the time because it was less hazardous than previous treatment methods
Awarded medals for the production of tans and leather by the Praake family
A picture of the Museum entrance
An old photograph of transmission belts made at the Prakke factory
Textile loom pickers made from rawhide leather – their main function is to absorb the impact of the shuttle in the process of weaving textiles. Rawhide could be problematic because the material is not uniform which caused fluctuations in textile manufacture. Also, rawhide pickers had to be oiled which could cause them to easily become distorted, causing an unsatisfactory throw of the shuttle. Nowadays, pickers are made from synthetic materials such as plastic.
Bicycle with leather hand-warmers
Painting of the Prakke tannery and leather products factory in October 1952
Tools used in textile spinning
Aerial photograph of the Prakke tannery and leather products factory
A section of an historic hand-made map showing the course of the Berkel River from Rekken to Eibergen to Borculo and beyond – the surrounding swamps (in purple tint) have since been drained for farmland
A machine used for textile weaving, another industry once prominent in Eibergen
A photograph of an industrial-scale textile weaving factory in Eibergen
This diamond-cut stained glass window, dated 1662, came from a farm at Vreden in Germany. It was gifted by Mrs E A C Ledeboer-Smits to the State of the Netherlands in 1954 and is on loan to the De Schepers Museum.
Photo portrait of Herman Prakke (1837-1906), the founder of the van Prakke tannery and leather products factory in Eibergen – the large business was later run by his sons, Jan Everadus Prakke (1871-1938) and Marinus Prakke (1873-1934), and then by Jan’s son Carel G Prakke (1904-1983)