Historical Crafts - it is possible to see on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays
Not all the tens of crafts that existed for centuries have persisted until
modern times. The reason is above all that the modernizing society had no need
for the products of those defunct handicrafts. On the other hand, many survived
and we can admire their fine handiwork.
The cooper´s products can be found among archeological findings from the mine of the Slavic tribes´migration in the 6th century and since that time constantly until the present. In the beginning, coopers worked mainly for governors, monasteries or for the aristocracy, but soon they settled in villages and towns. Coopers were united in guilds that were governed by their guild statutes.Coopers had Saint Wenceslas as their patron saint. Coopers had a barrel, a mallet and compasses in their guild sign.
Canmakers and later tinners produced tin or copper utility articles, e. g. various types of cans, ewers, cups, guild cans etc. Historical recources describe can-makers as an earlier profession while the name tinner started to appear in the 16th century. The patron saint of tinners was St. Charles the Great. Later, two trades detached from the tinner trade-bell founders and cannon founders. Tinners tools were also the symbols of the trade and are illustrated in type books.
Tinkers were skillfull craftsmen who were able to produce protective wraps for earthenware from wire . Broken earthenware was repair with wiring in order to be resistant to damage. Tinkers lived in the country rather than in the town. They were very useful craftsmen. They were widely active even in the first decades of the 20th century.
Potters are one of the oldest trades ( their patrons were Adam and Eve and later St. Gor and St. Florian).Various kinds of eathern vessels were produced as far back as several thousands years ago. In the 17th century, the potters´guild included the jug makers who later established independent guilds in some places or remained in the potters´guild. The symbol of this trade is illustrated in type books as the tree of knowledge with a snake wound around growing from a two-handled pot, the figure of Eve with an apple in her hand, and the figure of Adam.
Smiths are some of the earliest craftsmen (the patron saint is St. Eligius). They worked hot iron on an anvil into the desired form and made various products intended for practical use. Originally, smiths made all metal arti cles, including locks, keys and tower clock. It was in the second half of the 14th century that theyx began to specialize . Smiths retained the rougher work. The type books for smiths usually depict a horse-shoe with three pins.
Tailors hold one of the oldest trades (patron saints: St. Homobonus, St. Michael, St. Venceslas). Naturally this was not as a trade in its own right because clothing was originally made at home. Later, when the demand grew, tailors appeared hand in hand with fashion. Gradually they found their customers in towns and in places wheere there was a high population concentration. Symbol of the trade was an open pair of scissors.
Sword cutters made various types of swords and other cold steel veapons ofdifferent sizes including sword-hilts. Originally these weapons were also produced by smiths and later in the 18th century by armourers(gunsmiths). An independent sword-cutters´guild in the Czech lands is known only in Prague (1509) and it was an umbrella guild for all sword-cutters in Bohemia. The symbol of sword-cutters was a pair of crossed swords.
The bladesmiths´craft developed from the blacksmithing. In the Middle Ages bladesmiths were producers of knives andscissors.the blades were adorned with the guild sign. The bladesmiths were quite numerous which reflects the role knives played. In the production of knives, special techniques were, and still are, used.
Artificers gradually took over many of the jobs armourers did before them and produced different kinds of armour for the legs, shoulders and breast and later also plate cuirasses, helmets for head protection, mostly from plates and rings. This trade was and old early medieval craft, the craftsmen worked mainly for rulers and the aristocracy. They were much respected and the demand for their work did not diminish until the second half of the 17th century.
Gunsmiths produced and repaired manual fire-arms, commonly in use from the second half of the 15th century. They not only produced, decorated and repaired riffles, howitzers and tinderboxes for them but also they made gunstocks and gun powder. As specialist they separeted out from the locksmiths´ trade and were greatly sought-after craftsmen. Gunsmiths were much respected and meny of their products are part of historical collections.
Carvers were specialized craftsmen who made figural carvings of humans, decorative item and furniture decoration from softwood (linden, peatree) etc. They separated from the guild of joiners whose profession they had mastered. From the 17th century on, woodcarvers also made articles from ivory and animal bones. They worked as free craftsmen and their membership in guild is not documented.
Glass-blowing required a sufficient supply of raw materials, especially the supply of firewood. Glassmakers produced raw glass and their products in glass works that were situated near the woods. At the beginning of the 14th century glass was greenish, later blue and white shades were used and yet later other colors. The output of each glass works could be identified by certain characteristic features. Some of the most important articles produced by the glassworks were window panes, plate glass was rare and expensive in past centuries.
Jewel-makers were much respected craftsmen in the past (patron St. Eligius). They ranked highest in the hierarchy of craftsmen and they were real artists whose products inspire admiration and respect untill this very day. They retained their position of respected and sought-after craftsmen for centruries and even today good goldsmiths are in great demand. As the symbol of the trade, type books show the figure of St. Eligius holding a goldsmith´s hammer in his right hand and a staff in his left hand. Also, some of the articles were used as symbols, e.g. rings, kettles or cups.
Shoemakers (the parton saints were St. Cryspine and Crispinian) were traditional producers of all kinds of leather shoes for adults as well for children, they also sewed knapsacks and leather bags. They are one of the oldest trades and they appeared in towns immediately after their foundation. Shoemakers belonged to a profession, which had many workers so they soon created their own guilds and they often had their own pub. Their profession was indispensable and so it has persisted until the present day. The symbol of shoemakers is a high riding boot with a spur over the figure of St. Crispin.
Originally, cabinet-makers were called joiners. Their patrons saint were St. Joseph and St. Rochus). Cabinet-makers produced furniture (benches, tables, beds, cabinets, boxes) and also coffins, doors and windows, wooden floores, banisters, mangles, tools, organs and altars etc. The guild insignias were mainly plane with a compass, carpenter´s square, plumb-rule, handsaw and chisel.
The title Tubicenum Campestris- Field Trumpeter was especially used in the Baroque period. This period was also a time of exceptional boom in the trumpeter´s profession (or guild) Trumpeters produced their instruments themselves as the books of the Old Town (Prague) documented. In accordance with the general trend of getting closer to our own history and tradition there are several trumpeters in Bohemia that study and practicve the art of natural trumpet blowing and who have even tried to produce these instruments on their own.
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