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Musée des Arts et Métiers

Two new restoration projects

The Fondation d’entreprise Hermès continues to support the Musée des Arts et Métiers in Paris, with two new restoration projects focusing on machines that ushered in important new innovations in their day – part of an initiative to preserve the historic examples of the past, as springboards for continued innovation today.

Fondation d'Entreprise Hermès - Musée des Arts et Métiers
© Musée des arts et métiers - Cnam, Paris

In 2012, the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès supported the restoration of two iconic machines at the Musée des Arts et Métiers: a production model of Duhamel’s haute-lisse tapestry loom, dated 1747, and Clément Ader’s Avion III of 1897 (the original wing canvases).

Designed for the manufacture of braid and trimmings, Duhamel’s loom is a rare illustration of a form of weaving technology widely used prior to the spread of Jacquard looms in the 1840s. Its restoration safeguards a precious example of a technique that has now completely disappeared.

The second project involves the original wing canvases of Clément Ader’s Avion III. Hailed as the father of French aviation, Ader (1841-1925) was a brilliant, Toulouse-born engineer who created numerous flying machines. This is the sole surviving example, currently hanging over the museum’s main staircase. In 1897, the Avion III is thought to have made the first ever ‘flying leap’ over some 300 feet (although eye-witness accounts differ). The original wing canvases (used for the historic ‘flight’) were removed for study and restoration at France’s Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace, and now require storage and display better suited to their continued preservation. The Foundation is supporting an initial feasibility study into the restoration of the historic canvases, now badly damaged, furthering our knowledge of Ader’s aeronautical research, and revisiting the history of this exceptional aircraft.

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