Canton of Aargau

The Canton of Aargau is in the centre of Switzerland to the west of Zurich. The major centre of the Swiss Straw industry was in and around the town of Wohlen, which is situated in the Freiamt area of the canton Aargau.


For an outline history go to Swiss overview.


Strohmuseum im Park (Freiämter Strohmuseum Wohlen/AG)

Curator: Anna Hegi

Bünzstrasse 5, 5610 Wohlen, Tel. +41 (0)56 622 60 26


Opening hours (from 8.May 2013):

Wednesday - Saturday 2 pm – 5 pm Uhr

Sunday 12 – 5 pm





Strohzeiten, Geschichte und Geschichten der Aargauischen Strohindustrie

(Straw Times - History and Stories of the Aargau Straw Industry)

ISBN: 3-85502-428-6

Available from the museum


Zauberhaftes Stroh, Herstelltechniken aus dem Freiamt

ISBN: 0-9541795-1-X

Available from this Foundation and from the Freiämter Strohmuseum

Published in English as Swiss Straw Work - Techniques of a Fashion Industry ISBN: 0-9541795-0-1


Strohmuseum Brochure available from the museum

Horsehair in the Straw Industry

The use of horsehair in the Aargau straw industry began in about 1830. In order to be able to use horsehair first had to be cleaned and then knotted into long lengths. This was a home-based occupation, which kept between 4,000 and 5,000 women busy. The knotted horsehair was then made into lengths of bobbin lace, primarily by workers in Erzgebirge but also by lace makers in the cantons of Freiburg and Thurgau.


The lengths of horsehair bobbin lace were skilfully decorated and embroidered with straw and other motifs to make them into fashionable and highly prized products.


In 1840, with the introduction of braiding machines into the straw industry, horsehair became a very important material as it could be either made into narrow or wide, long lengths. By the 1860s, the industry had reached its height with enormous amounts of horsehair braid produced on machines, but by 1875 horsehair lost its popularity and almost disappeared from the industry.

Hubert Boschung, october 1999 (Source: G. Rodel)