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Article about: F.B. Reichenbach is about 10 km (6 miles) away from me. If you want, I'll make a photo of the building. If it is still standing.

  1. #401

    Default Re: Muetzenfabrik

    Quote by BenVK View Post
    My inability to understand German even now that I can convert the font to a more readable one is my downfall here. It's useful to be able to paste the text into a online translator to get a feel of what's being said but it's very limited.
    From the bits and bobs I have understood though in the pre 1940 publications, I did get a feel for exactly what FB is referring to. Machinery is talked about as a means just to help and not replace the handcrafts and there's a sense of nervousness and fear that runs through most of what I've read about the encroaching need for industrial scale manufacturing. It's a very strange conflict between trying to keep the traditional crafts alive and how they connect to the social, economic and nationalism strings of being German and the "vulgar" necessity of mass producing uniforms and weapons to win the war.
    Yes, indeed. Context is a lot of it, after all.Click image for larger version. 

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    damit, basta.

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  3. #402

    Default Re: Muetzenfabrik

    But Ben is surely my hero as is Dr CMH to have tucked into this important, if not unproblematic source of the storied UM. If this were a history seminar, you'd both get "A"s while the stitch fairies and internet snake oil salesmen would go the principal's office with demerits.Click image for larger version. 

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    damit, basta.

  4. #403

    Default Re: Muetzenfabrik

    This is a picture of Nazi caps, in case the above is too arcane and esoteric.Click image for larger version. 

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    damit, basta.

  5. #404

    Default Re: Muetzenfabrik

    This is how they look without the bad plastic, but I do not know how to keep dust off of them (it is dusty where I live) as well as keep moths from eating the textiles. The cap stitch fairies have eaten my spirit, though, which has been revived by the generalized embrace of the UM CD by the yearning persons of this site.
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    damit, basta.

  6. #405

    Default Re: Muetzenfabrik

    You surely need some of these FB!
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  7. #406

    Default Re: Muetzenfabrik

    Quote by BenVK View Post
    You surely need some of these FB!
    Yes, I do. I especially like the kittens at play with the hat box.
    damit, basta.

  8. #407

    Default Re: Muetzenfabrik

    Some random thoughts entered my head today that might be of relevance and interest.

    I recently bought a Japanese sword of WWII era. Some pics for you all. It has a bullet hole in the scabbard. It's was brought home from Burma by a British soldier. My Great Uncle served in Burma and ended up in POW camp. He bought me my first ever whisky and told me some stories about his terrible experiences.

    What on earth has this to do with German mutzenmachers? Well, WWII era Japanese swords are, for the most part, considered as junk to serious sword collectors. Reason being that they are not tradionaly forged and are partly or mostly machine made. However, there are different degrees of quality depending on the maker etc.

    As I studied the sword I couldn't help but make the connection between German handcraftsmen and Japanese sword makes. The pressures of war time production demanded the implementation industrial manufacture methods despite the cosseted values of the traditional crafts. I'm sure Japanese sword smiths were equaly disgusted by the implementation of the machine within their highly respected world but what choice did they have. Having said that, consumers in Japan who had wealth, just like in Germany, could still buy the best of hand made items right to the bitter end I'm sure. As we are all too aware, the rich are never truly effected by financial depressions, earthquakes or tsunamis.

    Getting back on track though, I've always wondered why many collectors of TR regalia state that they only want "mint" items or concentrate on eReL visor caps because "man, they are the best!" They obviously are not collecting on the basis of their own interest and appreciation of history or the context in which these items belong. I recently visited a Japanese sword dealer in the heart of London to ask if he had any WWII era swords. He literally laughed in my face and then showed me a 300 year old "Art" sword that had been polished the week before and the fittings all refurbished. The asking price was £7,000. The bloody thing was so sparkling it could have been made yesterday. He was no doubt an expert in the subject of swords but had no concept of history at all, just collectability and value. I would consider that kind of person as completely missing the point entirely. Likewise the same applies to the "erel is the best" collector or the "I want a Pz Gren cap because they are so rare" collector.

    Not that I wish to dictate how or why people should collect of course!!
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  9. #408

    Default Re: Muetzenfabrik

    Very nice piece with much poetry to it. Please do not make me say mean things about the Lubstein fetishists. It is not fair to them or to you, in fact. Just today I was discussing with a colleague as to how the California glamor dealers invented categories of regalia via a whole sale rape of the lexicon of the local wine trade since the 1970s to conjure a lexicon of desirability that is berserk. I mean, when I started, there was piece in nice condition, and used condition. I think the used condition has real merits, of course, since it bespeaks history. Over restored pieces are akin to over bred show animals that appeal to an arch aesthetic sense of decadent mind and spirit. These caps are old, and so am I, so there is no sin in their showing their age. I have friends who collect Japanese swords, which are an art form, and I cannot account for the tastes of same. My heart goes out to all those who have died and suffering so greatly in Japan. We here have a great kinship with them, of course.

    But, dear Ben, we live in a consumer culture in which the handicrafts and the value added through one's own labor are completely debased. Completely robbed of the intrinsic value that was an obvious feature of former times. Also dead and gone is any sense of time as a benefit in the acquisition of knowledge, skill, craft, art, science, or whatever. It all has to come from the "app" at the touch of a button, knob, or dial, and it should all be there as if by magic, whereas in reality, as Moltke said, "Genie ist fleiss," a sentiment that is also totally ridiculous in the 21st century.

    Your sword with the signs of war is a nice thing. Take good care of it.

    And take good care of yourself. Thanks for the digitalized untangling of UM. I am sorry not to do all the work for you people, but I have a real job and travel alot and cannot do the work of machines in an instant.Click image for larger version. 

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    damit, basta.

  10. #409

    Default Re: Muetzenfabrik

    The point I forgot to make was the fact that in terms of German hat manufacture, the consensus nowadays is that hand sewn is cause for concern as being suspicious.

    If we study the UM and articules like the one I posted about a sewing apparatus that can machine sew all the major components of a hat together in one operation, prehaps we should change our views on what constitutes a well made hat and as a consequence, what does quality mean?

    If we think about it therefore, a neatly machine sewn hat made by Lubstein for example does not equal tremendous quality workmanship because as shown, the Pfaff machinery could accurately sew it all for you. This is a really important point to stress I feel. For certain, and as also pointed out in UM, the skill of the operator is paramount but does not take away from the fact that machines made the work easier and faster.

    I've owned and handled many hats of the pre 1938 ish era that were obviously completely handsewn. As per are current collecting standards quite rightly pointed out as beserk by yourself FB, such hand sewing would most likely be considered as "shoddy" compared to the neatly machine sewn hats of later years. As mentioned, the UM really does highlight the esteem in which handwerk was held but nowadays we are unable to see it in front of our eyes. Some of the finest German hats I've ever studied were held together by so few hand stitches that they might easily be misstaken for being inferior products. That's completely missing the point and missing the evidence of a skilled mutzenmacher. I like to compare it to a skilled surgeon. A surgeon that uses just a few stitches to achieve the same result as the one that sews a hundred is the more skilled.

  11. #410

    Default Re: Muetzenfabrik

    You're quite right, Ben. The hand made items are more interesting, invested of intrinsic quality. But you are tilting at wind mills. Most of the collectors think that the past was merely a black and white version of today. Lubstein was a modern outfit that filled a huge need with a well made, industrialized product as befitted the 1930s. For anyone familiar with the economic history of Germany, there is no real story here, in fact. The contemporary sources go into it in great detail, to include the extracts I have appended to this thread and which you others have now seized on. This thread began with the assertion that cap making was an industrial undertaking, which it manifestly was not, actually. The bulk of the RZM licenses are for A2, that is, for cap makers as opposed to industrial, mechanized concerns.

    But there is little point in dwelling on finer points of society, economy, and modernization. It is a bridge too far of interest to a small number of us.

    The past is a foreign country and the suppleness of mind required to understand the puzzles and enigmas is all too rare especially on these websites. I have been trying to make this point for years, which Ben underscores, but I have long ago given up.

    I am glad that some of you have taken in an interest in this wonderful source, which, sadly, is NOT as easy to read as one of the dorky coffee table books, but which contains far greater knowledge of a useful and insightful sort.

    sapere aude.Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Friedrich-Berthold; 03-19-2011 at 02:21 PM.
    damit, basta.


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