|ANNE WANNER'S Textiles in History / publications|
|The Sample Collections of Machine Embroidery
of Eastern Switzerland in the St Gallen Textile Museum
in: Textile History, 22 (2), p. 165 - 176, 1992, by Anne Wanner-JeanRichard
|page 3 of 10
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The new cotton industry caused
Degersheim to more than double its population
within a few years; in 1763 there were 21 houses; by 1798
there were 47. The village was almost totally burnt down
in 1818, and when it was rebuilt an atempt was made to
establish a weaving basement in every house. From the
beginning of the 1840s, goods from Toggenburg were
successfully sold in Central and South America.
Here too, the new technology was first
used by small firms which soon developed into actual
factories. The factory law of 1877 resulted
later in a return to home embroidery and home industry.
The reason for this change was the fact that all
firms with three or more machines counted as factories. They
were therefore subject to the new law which imposed
restrictions regarding working hours, employment of
children, etc., on firms.
The first firms in Degersheim were the Giger Brothers, Grob-Raschle, Ernst Kuhn, Meyer-Kreis, Hartmann, Grauer and Hufenus.
The latter went to Geneva at the age of 15 to learn French. We meet him again in Paris, aged 17, in the company of two other Swiss men. After his return to Degersheim at the age of 19, he joined the embroidery firm of Arnold Hufenus. The latter, however, soon moved to the town of St Gallen to establish a business there.
Isidor Grauer continued to run the firm
in Degersheim - which after his marriage changed its name
to Grauer-Frey - on his own. He acquired a leading
position in providing embroidery for the fashion
industry, and for a long time Degersheim was called
The entrepreneur introduced various innovations, as for instance the first automatic embroidery machine which he purchased in 1911. Fifty designers and drawers created novelties which were exported to the United States, South America, England and Russia. In 1922, the enterprise, under the leadership of Isidor's sons, changed its name to "Grauer & Co".
|From his numerous
business travels, Isidor Grauer brought home historical
lace and embroideries which served
his designers as illustrative material. In the
course of time, he printed fabrics of various periods and
In October 1983, the Textile Inistitute in St Gallen obtained this collection, the "Sammlung Grauer". Besides the historical textiles there is a specialist library obtaining 2'000 items. Today, the St Gallen textile library also owns the sample books from the period between 1885 to 1920 containing about one million machine embroidery fragments.
9 - Clemens Principe, Degersheim, wirtschaftliche Entwicklung und Sozialstruktur (Dissertation, Zürich und St. Gallen, Polygraph. Verlag AG), p. 20.
|content||Last revised 25 July, 2004|