Tools for Working Wood
Invest in your craft. Invest in yourself.

 Joel's Blog

What a 14th Century Treasure Trove!  

05/12/2009 House Books of the Nuremberg 12 Brothers Foundation

I read a lot of blogs and one of my favorites has always been Jeff Peachy's blog on book conservation. Jeff has been a friend of mine for over ten years when I met him at an EAIA annual meeting. We were the folks from Manhattan.
Anyway I digress.
Last week or so Jeff did this awesome post and never one to stand on ceremony I immediately thought of the tool and woodworking implications.
As near as I can understand (this archive is huge, in German and I've just started plowing my way through it) starting in the 14th century the merchants of Nuremberg set up a charity were 12 needy men at any given time where given food, lodging and taught a trade. At some point later, when their careers were established, this book was created giving a portrait of each man, some biographical information, and a portrait of them at their trade. There is an English page listing the trades and all sorts of crafts are covered, turning, carpentry, and gimlet making to name a few. I have started poking though the illustrations and using babble fish to do some translations but this will take ages. The tools shown are of course from before the great English technical advances of the 18th century but Germany and Nuremberg of the time was a major rich city and what's illustrated is basically state of the art for the time, although these is a lot of artistic license since the point of the pictures was the portrait.
The English index to the pictures and the archive is here.
Tags:Historical Subjects
Comments: 5
Also enjoy Jeff Peachey's blog (he once gave me a bookbinding lesson) and especially liked the nuremburg post.
Did you see the modern version - the report on NPR (sadly truncated) of the tools especially made for the Hubble telescope fix?
05/13/2009Peter Follansbee
Thanks for leading me to this site. I had seen the earliest Mendel Hausbuch, but didn't know there were later versions. It's great to have the digital images of these tradesmen...I pored throught scads of the pictures, and copped one to go on my blog as well. forgot to credit you, I'll make it up to you next time...
thanks again
05/15/2009Jeff Peachey 
Hey Joel-
Did you know the image you picked out is the same one reproduced on the
cover of Hampton and Clifford's "Plandcraft: Hand Planing by Modern
Methods",Woodcraft 11th Printing, 1982?
No. What can I say it's a great image. They have lots of interesting images of carpenters. Some like this guy working in a shop. Others of guys working on site.
05/20/2009Stephen Shepherd

I am not sure whether to thank you for that link or not. I have spent way too much time there. Great stuff.

Comments are closed.
The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the blog's author and guests and in no way reflect the views of Tools for Working Wood.
 Joel's Blog
 Video Roundup
 Classes & Events
 Built-It Blog
 Work Magazine
Recent Blogs:
The Seaton Chest Revisited - 03/14/2018
Cræft by Alexander Langlands - 03/07/2018
News: much is happening here & OSMO is arriving! - 02/24/2018
Beautiful Cabinet Shop Space Available for Rent in Gowanus - 02/05/2018
Safety Last - 01/31/2018
I Am a Panda - 01/19/2018
The Unheated Workshop - 01/10/2018
How to Cut a Groove in a Frame By Hand and Without a Plow Plane - 12/27/2017
How to Mortise the Moxon Way: Part 2, Chopping the Mortise - 12/20/2017
How to Mortise the Moxon Way: Part 1, Layout and Cutting Tenons - 12/17/2017
Why Schlep? - A Look at Tools Baskets and Bags - 12/13/2017
Saw Sharpening Essentials - Gramercy Tools Saw Vise (Back in Stock) + Vallorbe Saw Files (They Finally Arrived) - 12/06/2017
How to Choose the Best Dovetail Saw for Yourself - 11/29/2017
Woodwork at City Hall - 11/22/2017
The Marquetry Plane Shows Up In England 1760-1780 - 11/15/2017
Joel's Blog Ten Ways I am Doing Things Differently - Part 4 - 11/08/2017
Where Moxon Got His Mojo - 11/01/2017
Industry City Wants a Handout as it Kills Woodworking Jobs - 10/25/2017
An Introduction to Hand Tools - The Instructor Confesses - 10/11/2017
Ten Ways I am Doing Things Differently - Part 3 - 09/27/2017
Older Entries...