The Machine Hall

Go on a journey of discovery among bicycles, cars, aeroplanes and steam engines.

The exhibition closed on 8 November 2010.

The Machine Hall is the museum´s biggest gallery space. It was built in the functional style characteristic of its time, with eternite-clad walls and a concrete floor poured in slabs. One half of the gallery shows various types of engines: from simple water wheels to modern steam turbines. The other half of the gallery is now showing the exhibition Aeroplanes!

Sweden’s first Passenger Plane

From the ceiling of the Machine Hall hangs Sweden´s first passenger plane, a German-made Junker F 13 from 1923. Here you’ll also find a copy of German Otto Lillienthal’s hang-glider from the 1890s, a gyroplane – the precursor of the helicopter – from 1932, a Swedish-built example of the famous Blériot plane from 1911, and a double-decker fighter plane manufactured at Thulins factory in Landskrona in Sweden in 1917.

Samuel Owen’s Steam Engine

In the middle of the hall stands Sweden´s oldest preserved steam engine. It is a beam steam engine that was used at Höganäs Colliery from 1832 to 1909 for pumping water. The machine, which was designed based on Scotsman James Watt’s steam engine, was built at Kungsholmen in Stockholm by the influential Englishman Samuel Owen. The steam engine came to mean a great deal for both industry and transportation during the 19th century. The gallery displays a large number of steam engines, representing various designs and areas of application. In other parts of the Machine Hall, you can study the kinds of technologies used and being used in other energy fields.

Muscles, Wind and Water

Muscle power from people and animals was our most important source of power well into the 19th century. In the section describing muscle power, you can see a hand-driven fire pump from the 18th century and older models of tread wheels and horse-driven machines. In the section that deals with wind power, models of a windmill, a wind-powered saw mill and Näsudden´s wind power station are displayed. Sweden has a lot of flowing rivers and streams and water power has been of great significance throughout Sweden’s history. The water power section displays the development from simple waterwheels through the 18th and 19th century´s advanced mine hoists to today´s water turbines.

The Steam Engine gets Competition

The steam turbine was developed at the end of the19th and beginning of the 20th century as an alternative to the piston-valve engine. Two Swedish contributions to this development are represented in the museum´s collection: the de Laval turbine and the Ljungstrom turbine. Another alternative primarily to small steam engines was the hot air engine. In this group we have on display for example Swede John Ericsson´s caloric engine from 1855 and a modern Stirling engine, made by Kockums in 1979. The final section deals with internal combustion engines. This type of engine, which really made its mark in the 20th century, was developed in the mid 1800s — initially using gas as the fuel and later various types of petroleum products such as paraffin/kerosene and gasoline/petrol.

From Scooters to a SAAB Ecosport

The other half of the Machine Hall deals with various forms of transport. Here you can first follow the development of the bicycle from the 18th century scooter through the 19th century´s penny-farthings and safety bicycles to today´s mountain bikes. Another section exhibits the history of the motorcycle — from Sweden´s first motorcycle, a German Hildebrand & Wolfmüller from 1894, to a Husaberg 2000 model from Sweden´s last motorcycle manufacturer. The section on motor cars starts with Gustaf Erikson´s paraffin/kerosene-driven carriage from 1897, the first car with an internal combustion engine manufactured in Sweden. Here you´ll also find Stockholm´s first motor car, a French Leon Bollée from 1897. Other motor cars on display include Scania from 1902, Scania-Vabis 1912 model, Model T Ford made in 1922, SAAB 92, 1952 model, Volvo PV 444 from 1949 and a SAAB Ecosport from 1992.

Aircraft Terrace

On the Aircraft Terrace which you get to via a staircase inside the Machine Hall, you can see the history of aviation in Sweden with glimpses into aviation in other countries as well. Here there are models of aircraft, airships and balloons, early radial engines and in-line engines and Sweden´s first jet engine. Up on the terrace you can even inspect a real moon rock and flags that have been on the moon.

Last updated 25 July 2023.