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Handicraft Guild

The Au Handicraft Guild

In the 17th century the Bregenzerwald handicrafts, especially the seasonal builders that went to other countries, was a respectable tradition.  In order to be able to stay competitive, they had to create a firm organisation.  In 1657 they founded the Au Guild of builders, masons, stone masons and carpenters whose members were from the entire Bregenzerwald.  The guild made sure the younger generation was trained properly and supplied them with the necessary supporting documents which were required in many areas.

In 1706, the Au Guild joined the main guild in Innsbruck and with that became a part of an inter-regional organisation.  Because of the large number of builders from the Bregenzerwald, the guild had to divide itself up.  The central point for the organisation of carpenters was in Andelsbuch.  The masons and stone masons were in Schnepfau.  In 1791, the general guild of smiths, watch-makers, dyers, tanners, locksmiths, glaziers, saddlers, lorrimers, nailers, shoemakers, tailors, potters, wainwrights, coopers, millers and bakers was founded in Bezau.  When the board of trade was founded in 1850, it took over training the apprentices as well as auditing, and the guilds lost their importance.  The union of artisans and industry took their place in 1875.

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