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Glass

(3,536 words)

Author(s): Reith, Reinhold
1. Definition Physically speaking, glass is a frozen, supercooled liquid. Its viscosity makes it easy to shape but susceptible to breakage. Its most important property is its translucency. Natural or mineral glass (obsidian) is produced by volcanic activity. Artificial glass is made by fusing a mixture of sand, potash and lime at a temperature exceeding 1,400 C (2,550 F) and then shaping it while it is hot and viscous. Small decorative items were already being cast in Egypt by around 3000 BCE, and…
Date: 2019-03-20

Hosier

(1,105 words)

Author(s): Reith, Reinhold
1. Knitting Hatters and trouser-makers creating knitted wares were active in cities in the late Middle Ages. In the first half of the 16th century, the stocking in the style of the Spanish court was a fixture, and knitters generally specialized in woollen stockings and caps. Beginning in the 16th century, knitters formed into guilds, like the stocking-knitters of Paris in 1527, the hose- and beret-makers of Strasbourg in 1574, and the hosiers of Nuremberg in 1583. The first mention of a…
Date: 2019-03-20

Commodity economics

(891 words)

Author(s): Reith, Reinhold
1. BackgroundCommodity economics is the systematic scientific treatment of commercial commodities. The approach is regarded as having been founded by Johann Beckmann, whose two-volume Vorbereitung zur Waarenkunde (1793/1800; “Introduction to commodity science”) laid out its foundations in the late 18th century[2]. In English and French ( l'économie des produits de base), the term designates a particular focus within economics, while Italian  merceologia denotes commodity economics as an academic subject taught by economics faculties since 1850 [6. 190].The scientific …
Date: 2019-03-20

Environment

(6,622 words)

Author(s): Reith, Reinhold
1. ResearchSince the early 1980s there has been lively discussion about the environment, nature, the protection of both, and the historical relationship between these and humanity. Most studies in the field have based themselves on the environmental media of soil, water, and air. This new interest was a consequence of the incipient awareness about the environment in the 1970s, a decade that is now seen as a watershed in the history of environmental politics. The bleak prognosis that emerged from the Club of Rome, which announced an absolute limit to growth on the Earth [39], now broug…
Date: 2019-03-20

Crafts and trades

(9,993 words)

Author(s): Reith, Reinhold
1. Concepts and definitions“Craft” denotes skilled manufacture (Latin  opus manu factum), “trade” in this sense an occupation of exercising such a craft. The German Handwerk historically combines the sense of both. Grimm's Deutsches Wörterbuch defines Handwerk (Latin  opificium or  ars manuaria) as “work of the hands,” and in the strict sense limits it to “a trade continually conducted” ("ein dauernd betriebenes Gewerbe”), the accomplishment of which, as distinct from art or basic manual work, requires manual skill ( ars mechanica) (vol. 10, 424). Johann Beckmann in …
Date: 2019-03-20

Civil engineering

(775 words)

Author(s): Reith, Reinhold
In contrast to structural engineering, various types of construction involving excavation are considered aspects of civil engineering, including hydraulic engineering, the construction of dykes and tunnels, road construction, and in the 19th century the laying of railways (Rail). In the early modern period, there was especially broad activity in hydraulic engineering, with the construction of canals and irrigation systems, wells and fountains, and water supply along with associated conduits for …
Date: 2019-03-20

Carter

(1,015 words)

Author(s): Reith, Reinhold
1. Concept and terms The terms referring to the professions of cartwright, wheelwright and carter go back to the most important products of the trade: the waggon, the frame of the waggon or plow and the wheel[5. 244]. The area of work also comprised carts, sleds or sleighs, rack waggons and harrows. Christoph Weigel’s books of estates mentions in 1698 wheelbarrows and Schanzkarren, the plough and common carts as well as the four-wheel carts, “to which belong, besides the little rattling brewers’ waggons, the trucks and carriers’ carts / long distance and…
Date: 2019-03-20

Lace

(1,022 words)

Author(s): Reith, Reinhold
1. Definition and manufactureLace (French  dentelles, Dutch kant, German  Spitze, Italian  merletto) is a collective term for decorative elements made of thread or thread and fabric (Textiles). In all its forms it is openwork: spaces of various sizes between the threads constitute a pattern. Lace must not be confused with embroidery (Textile technology). Its origins probably go back to the decorative treatment of hems by the darning, knotting, or braiding of warp threads.Technically there are two kinds of lace: needle lace and bobbin lace. In the former, threads a…
Date: 2019-03-20

Brickmaker

(1,340 words)

Author(s): Reith, Reinhold
1. Introduction A brickmaker (French briquetier, German Ziegler) was a maker of roof tiles and fired bricks. Production of these goods developed particularly in areas where suitable natural stone was not readily available (Flanders, eastern England, northern Germany, Netherlands; see also Building materials). Brickmakers are attested in northern Italian cities from the 11th century. From the 13th, they were organizing themselves in corporations with masons (Building trade), or forming corporations of t…
Date: 2019-03-20

Guildhall

(1,117 words)

Author(s): Reith, Reinhold
1. Significance and diffusion In the development of formal and informal associations or corporations of craftsmen, shopkeepers, merchants, and families, gathering places like taverns played a central role [2]. Guilds reserved rooms in public houses and rented or purchased halls to use for social and also business purposes [4. 441]. The purchase of guildhalls, beginning in the second half of the 14th century, illustrates the social and political importance of the guilds as well as their self-confidence [10. 250].The public representation of a guild by its guildhall was esp…
Date: 2019-03-20

Foodstuffs trade

(1,195 words)

Author(s): Reith, Reinhold
1. General In the early modern era, urban consumers spent a large percentage of their income on food. As a natural consequence, many people found employment in the foodstuffs trade. Bakers and butchers comprised the most numerous profession in the towns (including market towns); millers, brewers, and fishermen were also strongly represented. Additionally, there were numerous ancillary trades among the core professions and activities of the foodstuffs industry to supply the cities (Provisions, urban supply of[6. 35–38]).Reinhold Reith 2. Millers and bakers Given the impo…
Date: 2019-03-20

Arcanum

(1,497 words)

Author(s): Reith, Reinhold
1. Concept Arcanum (Latin, ‘secret’; plural arcana) is found in various contexts of meaning, firstly denoting secrets of nature, and in alchemy secret or confidential knowledge, especially as an appellation for the Philosopher’s Stone, where “arcane language” (see also Argot) refers to the language of alchemists and “arcane discipline’ to the teachings of alchemy. “Arcane discipline” (Latin  disciplina arcani) also denotes crucial and secret beliefs and cult practices in the Hellenistic mystery religions and early Christianity.Reinhold Reith 2. Religious and ph…
Date: 2019-03-20

Cloth shearer

(1,008 words)

Author(s): Reith, Reinhold
1. Fulling and cardingThe job of the cloth shearer was essentially to shear woolcloth, usually after first carding it. After being woven, cloths were first fulled (Fulling mill), to achieve the requisite thickening and strengthening. While coarse fabrics (e.g. loden) were neither dyed nor sheared, it was necessary for a cloth shearer or cloth worker to process medium-grade and fine fabrics after they had been fulled. Cloth shearers established themselves as a crafts and trades independent of clothm…
Date: 2019-03-20

Comb maker

(846 words)

Author(s): Reith, Reinhold
Combs of various forms, materials, and styles of decoration survive dating back to Antiquity. In church liturgy, richly decorated consecration combs were used during the consecration of a bishop, and some survive as grave goods [9]. Most surviving combs since the 14th century were from the profane sphere [5. 33]. Combs, as Christoph Weigel stated in his 1698 book of the estates, served ornament and cleanliness. The hair comb, however, was also a metaphor for a feminine craving for extravagance. They were used to remove infestations…
Date: 2019-03-20

Fulling mill

(872 words)

Author(s): Reith, Reinhold
1. Technique Fulling, or waulking (German: walken), refers to the treading, beating, or pressing of textiles in water with the addition of fuller’s earth (fine clay), urine, and/or soap to achieve greater thickness, resistance, and cleanliness. The process felted the cloth so that it could be shrunk by up to a third [1]. Fulling by means of foot-treading is known as far back as ancient Pompeii.Fulling mills were already mechanized in the High Middle Ages through the use of cam shafts that enabled rotation in a linear up-and-down or back-and-forth motion. …
Date: 2019-03-20

Building materials

(2,812 words)

Author(s): Reith, Reinhold
In the late Middle Ages and the early modern period, the major building materials were timber, stone, lime, sand, and clay. Their availability substantially influenced construction technology and architectural style (Architectural theory); over the long term, a shift from timber to stone (or brick) can be observed. The uneven geographical distribution of building materials and the high cost of transporting them made early modern construction heavily dependent on the particular  milieu naturel[12]. The surrounding countryside constituted the primary source of supply…
Date: 2019-03-20

Bleaching

(1,641 words)

Author(s): Reith, Reinhold
1. Definition Bleaching is the removal or destruction of organic dyes in spun vegetable fibers with the aim of making the fabric product as white as possible. The bleaching of yarns and threads was important, but so in particular was the bleaching of cloths that made linen, fustian, andcalico in particular marketable. There was no need to bleach cloths that were not intended for export. In 1564, the Zurich clothmakers’ guild stipulated that the preparation of coarse cotton was “not bleachers’ work or the work of men, but should in the main be done by women” ( nit der bleickeren als (oder)…
Date: 2019-03-20

Journeymen

(2,194 words)

Author(s): Reith, Reinhold
1. TerminologyIn German-speaking Europe, in the Middle Ages a person continuing on after completing his apprenticeship in the crafts and trades was called a Knecht; the term  Geselle (from  Saalgenosse) was applied initially to members of  gesellig (“companionably”) communicative social groups, including the master craftsmen (Sociability). After the formation of the first associations of  Gesellen, the term was transferred to those active in the crafts and trades ( Eidgesellen); in its present sense of “journeyman,” it appears, for example, in Speyer in 1343: the  Ge…
Date: 2019-03-20

Industrial espionage

(901 words)

Author(s): Reith, Reinhold
1. Basics Industrial espionage is a form of technology transfer with the declared goal of seeking out and then implementing new technologies; specifically, it comprises illegal forms of such activity [11. 289]. The empirical character of technology and the high value placed on experience meant that fact-finding efforts primarily targeted establishments managing innovative technologies or directly participating in their production [8. 125 f.]. There was already a long tradition of activities of this sort, including headhunting, sponsorship, and grantin…
Date: 2019-03-20

Chimney sweep

(1,240 words)

Author(s): Reith, Reinhold
1. Origins and early examples The profession of chimney sweep (German  Kaminfeger; also: Kaminkehrer; South German for Italian  spazzacamino; Old Bavarian Kümich-/ Künikehrer, east of the Inn Rauchfangkehrer, North German Schlotfeger and Schornsteinfeger, Middle German and Saxon also Essenkehrer[3. 232 f.]) emerged in the course of the early modern era. As stone construction spread, along with multistorey houses and the use of black coal for heating (especially in London), the earlier use of open-hearth fireplaces without a flue g…
Date: 2019-03-20
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