Wednesday, May 7, 2014

St. Gallen and the Textile Trade

Yesterday morning I saw a travel program on St.Gallen, Switzerland that caught my eye. St. Gallen is the capital of the canton of St. Gallen. (A canton is a member state, of which the federation of Switzerland has 26 cantons.) St. Gallen evolved from the hermitage of Saint Gall, from the 7th century. Today St. Gallen is a large urban town, having an attractive tourist attraction, the Abbey of St. Gall, containing a priceless library of books dating to the 9th Century of over 160,000 items.

The most interesting thing though, 18th Century speaking, is St. Gallen's embroidery trade which flourished in the early 1700's. In 1714, yearly production reached 38,000 pieces of cloth, including handmade lace and embroidered cloth of incredible design, all this done by hand! By the middle of the 18th Century, however, strong foreign competition caused an economic depression for the region, but by the early 1800's, the first embroidery machines were developed in St. Gallen, and production continued! Today, computer operated machines have increased competition across the globe, but if haute couture designers want something Very special, they still visit St. Gallen. 

  There is a fabulous textile museum in the town that highlights the history of St. Gallen's textile industry, see website address below. That's something I'd like to see! 

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