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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: 2019-10-14

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: 2019-10-14

Apprenticeship

(2,420 words)

Author(s): Reith, Reinhold | Stöger, Georg
1. Introduction; development From the late Middle Ages, apprenticeship functioned as the first stage of professional training in trade and in crafts and trades, as well as providing a transitional period away from the family between the worlds of youth and adulthood. In craft professions, apprenticeship consisted mostly of a formal process of training. Although the training of a merchant also took place away from the family, frequently abroad, it was informal in nature, as was apprenticeship in other fields (e.g. in early modern mining) [1]; [17. 228]. Philanthropic and mercant…
Date: 2019-10-14

Fulling mill

(1,108 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: 2019-10-14

Energy

(8,431 words)

Author(s): Steinle, Friedrich | Reith, Reinhold
1. ConceptEnergy (from the Greek enérgeia, “activity”, “actuality”) today describes the capacity of a body or a physical system to do work. Energy being a conserved quantity that, while appearing in different forms (mechanical, electrical, thermal, chemical, etc.), remains constant in total in isolated systems is one of the most fundamental principles of natural science, applying equally to and thus connecting the physical and chemical sciences and biology. Mechanics was already approaching an unders…
Date: 2019-10-14

Machine

(8,634 words)

Author(s): Popplow, Marcus | Pichol, Karl | Reith, Reinhold | Mende, Michael
1. General remarksMachines were in use in Europe long before industrialization. The watermill was in widespread use going back to antiquity, and there were tens of thousands of working mills in Europe at the beginning of the modern era, including mills for grain and for other rough work like crushing, for example of hides for tanning (Leather production), or for pounding the components of gunpowder. Machines of this sort, along with cranes (Lifting apparatus) and pumping stations (Water and the ar…
Date: 2019-10-14

Laundry

(1,176 words)

Author(s): Reith, Reinhold
1. GeneralIn the early modern period, how laundry was done varied depending on the social context [6]; [9]; [4]. In the estates of the nobility (Gutsherrschaft) as well as in patrician or upper-class households that had a substantial supply of textiles, a “big wash” was performed several times a year. Sometimes there was a separate laundry room along with a washing area and a drying area; additional washerwomen were hired, whose pay was sometimes specified in schedules of fees [12. 333]. In addition there would be more frequent “small washes.” The household account bo…
Date: 2019-10-14

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: 2019-10-14

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: 2019-10-14

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: 2019-10-14

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: 2019-10-14

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: 2019-10-14

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: 2019-10-14

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: 2019-10-14

Innovation

(4,182 words)

Author(s): Reith, Reinhold | Mahlerwein, Gunter
1. Concept Innovation may be defined as a voluntary break with habits by the use of new processes or objects. Underlying it is a considered procedure that, being the result of an idea put into practice, also harbors a certain risk in regard to efficiency. Originally an English expression defined as follows by Joseph A. Schumpeter: “Innovation is a process by which new products and techniques are introduced into the economic system,” the word was borrowed into German as  Innovation, and in the 1960s it became distinct from the older  Neuerung (“renewal”, “improvement”) and the Latin  inve…
Date: 2019-10-14

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: 2019-10-14

Metal

(2,864 words)

Author(s): Reith, Reinhold
1. Concept and definitionThe importance of metals in the history of material culture is apparent from the very fact that several epochs of human history are distinguished according to the use of various metals. The Stone Age gave way to a “Metal Age,” which is in turn subdivided into the Copper Age (Chalcolithic), Bronze Age, and Iron Age. Periods or phases of marked prosperity are called Golden Ages, and the ancient poets Hesiod and Ovid already distinguished a “Golden” and a “Silver Age.” Metals …
Date: 2019-10-14

Leather production

(1,845 words)

Author(s): Reith, Reinhold | Stöger, Georg
1. Procedures and centersBecause leather has so many applications (especially for apparel, but also for technological purposes, for example in mining), it was in great demand in the early modern period, which led to the development of extensive leather production in Europe. Beginning in the late Middle Ages, the process of tanning (i.e. treating hides mechanically or biochemically to render them durable while also preserving their material properties) spawned important forms of specialization. Init…
Date: 2019-10-14

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: 2019-10-14

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: 2019-10-14
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