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Cleaved toys from Erzgebirge

by Tibor Uhrín

Illustration of technologyErzgebirge (the Ore Mountains) is a location rich in wood and was an area rich in non-ferrous metal deposits that provoked busy mining activity into the region in the Middle Ages. As the ore deposits declined in the 18th century, local people had to look for new ways to feed their families. They went into wood processing of spruce forests. They started with kitchen utensils, spinning wheels and buttons. Toys they made were the most popular product. They did not change wood processing technology for two hundred years. The production methods they used are recognised today and are determined to be the predecessors of industrial mass production. A major improvement of the process got its start in the early 19th century (around 1804) in Seiffen and came in the form of new technology called reifendrehen Hoop Turning. This method, usually used for making wooden animals and vehicles, introduced the mass production of various sizes. The method joined turning and cleaving. One ring allowed for many small figures – around 40 – 60 pieces. It exemplifies the use of turning, cleaving and wood carving in mass production as it involves certain degree of workmanship.




Further articles in the magazine Craft, Art, Design 01/2008:


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