The German Carpenter (Zimmermann)

It is an old traditional trade which goes back hundreds of years. You can recognise a Zimmermann by his traditional uniform which is also very useful to work with.

The Waltz – Clothing

The journeymen on the waltz can be easily recognized on the street by their clothing. The carpenter’s black hat has broad brim, some professions use a black stovepipe hat or a cocked hat. The carpenters wear black bell-bottoms, a waistcoat and the “Stenz” which is a traditional curled hiking pole. The costume is completed with a golden earring and golden bracelets – which could be sold in hard times and in medieval times it was used to pay the gravedigger at times.

The belongings are carried in a leather backpack called the “Felleisen” but some medieval towns were banning those (for the fleas in them) so that many journeyman use a coarse cloth to wrap up their belongings.

The Waltz – History

Historically the relationship between a master craftsman and his apprentice was a paternalistic one. It was seen as the masters responsibility not only to teach his apprentice the craft but also to in still the virtues of a good craftsman in him. He was supposed to teach him honour, loyalty, fair-mindedness, courtesy, compassion for the poor. He was also supposed to offer spiritual guidance to his apprentices, to make sure they fulfilled their religious duties and to teach them to “honour the Lord“ (Jesus Christ) with their lives. The master craftsman, who failed in doing this would “lose his reputation”.

The apprenticeship ended with the so called “Freisprechung“ (exculpation). The master announced in front of the trade heading that the apprentice has been virtuous and God-loving. The young person had the right to call himself “Geselle” (journeyman) now.

He had two options. He could decide to work for a master or he could decide to become a master himself. Working for another master had several disadvantages. One was, that in many cases the journeyman, who was not a master, was not allowed to marry and found a family of his own. So many journeymen decided to go on a journey in order to become a master. This was called Waltz or Journeyman years.