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Exhibition pays tribute to China's industry pioneer

en.nantong.gov.cn Updated: 2021-01-04


One of the only four existing British-style weaving machines produced by an iron factory in Nantong more than a century ago is showcased at the Zhang Jian themed exhibition. [Photo/ntfabu.com]

An exhibition themed around Zhang Jian, a well-known local business magnate and renowned academic, is currently underway at Nantong Museum.

On display are more than 80 articles and over 130 old pictures, which are divided into six categories: patriotism, opening-up, innovation, honesty, responsibility, and succession.

Among them is one of the only four existing British-style weaving machines produced by a local iron factory more than a century ago.

When bolstering industrial development by introducing machines, Zhang not only imported weaving machines from overseas, but also established an iron factory to help maintain, repair, and produce machines.

From 1914 to 1917, the factory produced more than 1,000 British-style weaving machines, over 500 of which were purchased by Dasheng Yarn Factory, China's first large-scale cotton spinning business founded by Zhang in 1895.

According to historical research, it is the earliest recorded production of weaving machines in China, reflecting Zhang's ambition to boost independent national development of the industry.


A historic visiting card to Nantong Museum. [Photo/ntfabu.com]

Nantong Museum, which was the first museum established by Chinese people, was also founded by Zhang in 1905.

"The visiting card to the museum is the earliest recorded real ticket in China," said Du Jiale, the museum's curator.

According to Du, the museum encountered many management problems in its early stage of operations due to the lack of tickets.

In 1912, Zhang introduced a "visiting card system." White iron cards were issued to schools and organizations, while yellow iron cards were issued to companies and government departments.

Each card had the name of the institution written on the back side and was reusable.

In addition, various seals of different departments of Dasheng Group, couplets of the yarn factory and laws formulated by Zhang also made their debut at the exhibition.