Museums in Ostrobothnia

Plater Museum

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Did you know...
The conical lanterns typical for Vähäkyrö were originally used as skirt warmers in the church. The lantern was placed under the skirt during the church service.

The Vähäkyrö plater tradition reaches far back in history and is widely known in Ostrobothnia. The old artisan traditions come alive in the Plater Museum. Here the visitor gets to see, how and with what kind of tools tin plate artefacts are made. With a little bit of luck, you can also see a genuine plater in his work.

The Vähäkyrö plater tradition extends all the way to the 18th century. The plater craft came to Finland from Germany in the beginning of the 18th century, soon after large tin pits had been discovered in England. In the parish of Vähäkyrö were 35 platers in the 1890s, and a few decades later there were already 100 of them. Most of them were crofters or farm labourers, who were tired of agricultural work. Still in the 1950s at least one railroad car loaded full of plater products left from the Tervajoki station every week.

Tin plate was imported from abroad. The material was difficult to attain during the Second World War and after it, therefore the platers utilized for instance the tin roofs of outbuildings as well as the metal parts of decommissioned gas masks.

The plater craft has usually been devolved from father to son during the generations. The product characteristic for Vähäkyrö, the “fyrry”, is a toy with a wheel, which spins when air is being blown into it. It comes in five different sizes. Among the nearly 200 products in the museum are traditional tin products, for instance mugs, lanterns, pocket flasks and pitchers, but also newer utensils and decorative items, such as bespoke cookie cutters.

Some of the tools and machines in the museum, which the plater used for processing the metal, are over hundred years old. A special tin molding machine is needed for instance for shaping the round mugs and dishes. Work demonstrations are arranged upon request.

Museum is closed but will be open next year (2020) near Vähäkyrö museum and Savilahti-house