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From Osterøy museum

From Osterøy museum (Svein Nord).

Gjerstad Fornminnelag (The historic society of Gjerstd), typically named in the fashion of the time in 1920, today is called Osterøy Museum. The museum has received collections from the rural communities in inner Nordhordland, with emphasis on handicrafts and small businesses, which is very characteristic for Osterøy. Ten of the museum’s buildings are in the farmyard at Gjerstad, moved there from various places. Fjellskålnesloftet from the 1600s was erected just after the war, and the latest addition to the museum is the schoolhouse from 1922. A farm tannery from Brakvatnet also belongs with Osterøy Museum, as does a tannery museum at Valestrand, a farm smithy in Mjelddalen and the small lock factory in Bløddalen, just below the museum at Gjerstad.

  • Interior from the smithy
  • “Gjerstad Lock Factory” in Bløddalen

The smithy in Bløddalen

According to traditions blacksmiths from Voss were the ones who taught the craft to the Oster-people. The main traffic between the Voss communities and Bergen passed by Osterøy, so the story may well contain a grain of truth.


Osterøy bcame a centre for smithies and metal workshops from the 1860s; many of them with marketing outlets in Bergen. Just after the last war almost 20 of them were still in operation. The lock smithy in Bløddalen in Gjerstad gives us a fascinating close-up of this industry, in the transition between craft and industry. Gjerstad Låsfabrikk (lock factory) was established in 1887 and was in operation up to the 1950s. The factory specialised in bolt locks, and at its height 6-7 men worked in the factory. The smithy itself is in the cellar, with a furnace driven by a waterwheel, and on the floor above the locks were assembled. Tools and workbenches are left just as the smithy was on the last day of work, with all the original equipment in place. Today the Bløddal smithy belongs to Osterøy Museum.

  • The good soil at Gjerstad is old seafloor and it has provided the basis for many farms.

The good soil at Gjerstad is old seafloor and it has provided the basis for many farms. Gjerstad church in the background. (Smith-Pettersen)

  • Osterøy Museum. <1990>. 16 s.