HAND-WORKING AND DOMESTIC INDUSTRIES OF GERMANY
The trades designated as “artistic” trades have many times been claimed as a field in which the hand producer is protected from the competition of factory methods. Their productions are commodities in which aesthetic features are prominent, such as metal work of iron, bronze, gold, silver; furniture of special designs; ceramic wares; textile fabrics; stained glass, and printing of high grades. The awakening as to the value of such work came after the London Exposition of 1851. The assumption was that here lay a field in which production of goods with a view solely to their utility and wearing qualities, as was then assumed to be the characteristic of the factory, was impossible, and even at the present time the motive for the efforts of the advocates of industrial art education are based more or less on this assumption.
The industrial census gives little or no assistance in seeking a reply to the question as to the number of persons or establishments engaged in producing what might be termed artistic goods. The group of industries classed as artistic trades includes what might more properly be classed as professions; that is, painters and sculptors, together with engravers, stonecutters, chasers, designers, and miscellaneous. But on this point we have the descriptive work of Hirschfeld, entitled Württemberg's Grossindustrie und Grosshandel, and of Kahn, entitled Münchens Grossindustrie und Grosshandel. In these works are described some large factories whose products must be regarded as of the highest artistic quality. Prominent among such establishments is the bronze-casting establishment of Müller, in Munich, where bronze statuary is the specialty. The description suggests that many of the modern works of this kind can be produced only by the use of factory methods. For instance it required over 100 workmen to per form successfully the operation of casting the statue “Bavaria.” The factories of Bruckman, at Heilbronn, and of Hauber, at Schwäbisch Gmünd, produce articles of silver and make use of a great variety of power machinery, as rollers, cutters, and stamping and pressing machinery, as well as engines of some capacity. That all the parts of an article need not be made by hand for it to possess artistic qualities is a point proved by the existence of the apparatus used in these establishments. One of the largest factories in Wurttemberg is the Württembergische Metallwarenfabrik, at Geislingen, which employs over 1,700 persons, and here a large number of designers of exceptional ability are employed. A person of considerable artistic creative ability if engaged in a smaller establishment would find much less opportunity for its exercise than is here given.
Source: Bulletin of the Department of Labor (United States) - 1902