ITMA – The industry fair of superlatives
Published on 9/19/2016 by
Trade fairs have been staged in Basel since the 1950s already. These included the International Textile Machinery Exhibition of 1967, a fair of genuine superlatives. Those in charge of the trade fair had to come up with some ingenious ideas to ensure the safety of exhibitors and visitors at the fair.
Three months before the fair opened already, the producers of the textile machines – still a key sector of industry in Europe back then – had to provide the foundations and plinths for their machines. Since the machines weighed 9000 tons altogether, the floors of the exhibition hall were reinforced and supports provided at some points. But this still did not fully guarantee the safety of visitors and exhibitors. To ensure that the halls did not collapse, the machines were never permitted to run all at once.
881 exhibitors from 18 countries displayed their products on more than 79,000 square metres. By way of comparison: during the first Muba, an almost idential number of exhibitors had only 6000 square metres at their disposal.
The ITMA fair sold more than 110,000 admission tickets and generated an enormous economic benefit. While the visitors and Swiss Sample Fair staff went home in the evenings, the international guests of the ITMA remained in the city and generated 200,000 overnight stays in the tri-national border region. 6000 private rooms, a train made up of sleeping cars, a barracks and eight hotel boats were at the guests' disposal. The ITMA was an industry fair of superlatives.
Despite this success, the ITMA did not come back to Switzerland, since, with the end of the classic industrial era, textile production moved from the western world to Asia at the start of the 1970s.
Photos: Staatsarchiv Basel Stadt/Privatarchiv MCH Group