History of the European cartwright


Cartwrighting is an invention of our region, meaning it was here introduced by the German tribes pressing and eventually overruling the roman empire.

They were nomads, warriors depending heavily on their ability to dress horses. With them they also introduced the knowledge to build carriages strong enough to travel on every kind of road at as high a speed as the horses could pull them. In fact, they still had a military background.

They even made their own machines to build these waggons. The lathe was introduced by these people in the early medieval world, as can be seen in the history of the furniture of these times. In fact the cartwright has always been the person that builds 'machines'. A carriage itself can perhaps be seen as a machine. But what to think about spinning wheels, weaving machines, or even pumps or presses for food or cider which were traditionally products that had to be ordered from the village cartwright. Not to mention all kinds of mills, thus harnessing energy from wind, water or horse...

The guild of the millbuilders in most flemish cities grew out of the guild of cartwrights.

This has had an extremely important impact on our history as will be seen later.

However they were very traditional minded, they were always looking for devices to make the work lighter. This didn't always have to be machines. Their ingenuity was far greater than that. So they could make light wheels, large enough to travel the worst roads, and strong enough to carry as much or even more weight than the wooden axles could possibly bear. The waggons were build to last as long as the wood could be expected to keep its strength. They introduced various ways to preserve the wood. They made their own paint, because the waggons didn't only have to be useful, they also had to be beautiful. Right from the start, a vehicle was a symbol of state. It has always been relatively expensive and it has always been something you had to come out with. It was never something you could hide behind the walls of your own privacy... This to has always been a motive to produce better, stronger, more beautiful.

There devices became more and more apt for the job that had to be done. Not sophisticated but simple and well thought about. They invented the wooden thread wire, used for the large fruitpresses.

Eventually Europe grew a class of workers that were skillfull enough to put about every idea in reality. It is this what made the industrial revolution in Europe possible. Indeed when it comes to point out why this exactly happened in the 18th century European world and not in another great culture, this is the only distinctive factor. Cultures like that of the Chines, the Inca, the Greek or even the Egyptian had all about the same level when it comes to intelligence, knowledge, commerce, or even technological as it comes to architecture or for instance shipbuilding... The Chinese were able to build 200 meter long ships when we in ! The only thing they didn't have was a strong, independent thinking class of workers, like the European cartwrights and blacksmiths. The principles of the steam engine were known long before the middle ages. Only it was impossible to produce a usefull machine.

This building of machines is something so typical for the cartwright, eventually even pushing his friend the blacksmith to make use of machinery too. Cartwrights have been inventing machines for as long as the trade has existed. A lot of machinery factorys grew out af cartwrights' shops rather than for instance smithys. After them the car building industry has taken the mission over from them, eventually resulting in the introduction of the computer.

Where the cartwright is often considered to be someone who disappeared because he couldn't follow the evolution, it will be closer to the trueth to say that the modern technology is for a very large part due to the European cartwright. Without him we simply still would live like 200 years ago. It is even probable that the technological revolution would have occured sooner if there hadn't been so much restrictions imposed on him from the upper class. The same upper class that as allways later recuperated the merits from the really ingenious men, these craftsmen wore.