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 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.
Join the conversation
05/12/2009 rfrancis
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?
http://www.npr.org/blogs/pictureshow/2009/05/nasa_tools.html
Drool.
05/13/2009 Peter Follansbee http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/
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
Peter
05/15/2009 Jeff 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.
05/20/2009 Stephen Shepherd http://www.fullchisel.com/blog
Joel,

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

Stephen
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