Pewter is one of the earliest known metals used for basic utensils and remnants of early plates. Pewter became the predominant metal for most household objects, and between 1640 and 1840, thousands of individuals or small companies in both Britain and Europe produced it. In Germany, during the 14th and 15th centuries, marks showing quality were added to the finished pewter by certified examiners. Guilds were formed to control the quality, and the ‘Tudor rose’ and the ‘Rose and crown’ stamps introduced in the 16th century were used throughout England and Europe
Martin and Appollonia Trost’s second son Johann (Hans/ Joannes) was born in Dettingen an der Erms in February of 1557. In 1584, at age twenty-seven, he married Barbara Stanger(s), twenty-one year old daughter of Jakob, at the parish Lutheran church, Michaelskirche.
“Hans (Johannes/Joannes) Trost, Martin Trost’s unmarried pewterer son, and Barbara, Jacob Stanger’s unmarried daughter, both from Tettingen, got married on May 5, 1584 in Dettingen an der Erms. Image 764.”
Pewterers in Wurttemberg during the 16th and 17th centuries produced a variety of domestic and religious items from pewter, including plates, bowls, cups, and candlesticks, using tools such as hammers, anvils, molds, and lathes. They worked in small workshops located in urban areas, often near markets or other centers of commerce. Pewterers typically worked in small urban areas, in workshops separate from their homes.
According to “Die Zunftordnungen des Herzogtums Württemberg” by Ernst Günter Krenz, pewterers were organized into a guild, or zunft, which regulated their work and protected their interests. And, historian Wolfgang Lefèvre notes that the guilds regulated their work and ensured quality control. These guilds also dictated the locations where pewterers could set up their workshops, typically in designated areas of town. Lefèvre writes: “Most towns had ordinances specifying that workshops had to be located in certain districts, often in the vicinity of the city wall or a particular market” (p. 61).
The guild regulations contained strict regulations, and apprenticeship lasted up to six years, which was followed by a period of travel. Only apprentices who could prove that they had a legitimate birth were trained. To qualify a journeyman’s piece was required, and in order to become a master, different requirements existed in the different regions.
The apprenticeship lasted up to six years, which was followed by a period of travel, which was initially six years and later shortened to two years. Only apprentices who could prove that they had a legitimate birth were trained . To qualify a journeyman’s piece was required. For example in Friesland would require one teapot. And, in order to become a master there were different requirements in the different regions: In 1375 in Hamburg it was one bowl. In 1517 & 1589 Regensburg & Augsburg respectively it was one jug, bowl, and watering barrel. In Desden and Breslau you had to make four masterpieces.
Pewterers were required to serve as jurors and town council members, suggesting that they held a position of some social and political importance in their communities.
In the town of Dettingen an der Erms in the late 1500s, pewterers would have occupied a position somewhere between the lower and middle classes in the socio-economic hierarchy. They were not as wealthy or influential as the town’s leading merchants and officials, but they were generally more prosperous than laborers and artisans in other trades.
Pewterers were considered skilled artisans and were respected members of their communities. According to a study of 16th-century Wurttemberg society by historian Steven Ozment, “Skilled artisans such as weavers, tailors, shoemakers, pewterers, and locksmiths were respected members of society and enjoyed a measure of economic security.” (Ozment, Steven. The Age of Reform, 1250-1550: An Intellectual and Religious History of Late Medieval and Reformation Europe. Yale University Press, 1980, p. 269.)
Read more about the Trost family story: The Trost Families of Swabia on the “Römerstraße” or “Römerweg” (Roman road) And, here’s a teaser for Part 2 of their story: a Teaser for Part 2 of The Trosts now of Dettingen an der Erms, 1557
– Ozment, Steven. The Age of Reform, 1250-1550: An Intellectual and Religious History of Late Medieval and Reformation Europe. Yale University Press, 1980.
– Württembergisches Landesmuseum Stuttgart. “Pewter in Wurttemberg.” https://www.landesmuseum-stuttgart.de/en/exhibitions/pewter-in-wuerttemberg/