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Fabrique nationale darmes de guerre Melkmachine

Milking machine 1947

Fabrique nationale d’armes de guerre BE

stainless steel

donation by the manufacturer, 1961

FN Herstal was founded in 1889 as a fire­arms factory, but since the 1940s also included an agricultural department. This milking machine worked in combination with a vacuum pump and was praised for its electrically welded body, whose seamlessness ensured that there were no remnants of milk left behind. When the machine was crowned in 1957 with the Golden Signet design prize, it suddenly ­acquired a cultural status too. Both at the Milan Triennale that same year and at Expo 58 in Brussels, the elegant milking pail was put on display without the accessories such as the tubes and the containers used to hold the milk. This caused confusion among visitors, one thinking that it was a samovar, a Russian water kettle for tea. The milking ­machine also entered our collection without its accessories, as a result of which today too it is easy to ­misread the singularity of this industrial implement.


Javier Gimeno-Martínez, Industrial design in the museum: the case of the FN milking machine, c. 1947, in: The Burlington Magazine, vol. 152 (2010), nr. 1290, pp. 603-608;
Met dank aan Javier Gimeno-Martínez.