Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Coals to Newcastle, Fezes to Turkey

In the museum housed in Strakonice Castle you will discover much of interest, but nothing is so extraordinary as the story of the Strakonice fez industry. How did this provincial town in South Bohemia come to be the centre of world fez production?

The story is that a Linz businessman came to the town and asked for someone to make fezes to sell in Turkey. That someone was a knitter called Jan Petras. Petras was so successful that other knitters soon followed and the Strakonice fez industry was born.

In the 1820's a Jewish entrepreneur called Furth established the company that was to take fez production in the town to a whole new level. With mechanisation the production grew and the company expanded selling fezes to Egypt, India and the middle east as well as to Turkey. By 1937 business employed 3000 people, sadly with the war the Germans took over the factory and then after the war the business was nationalised. Now the successor company no longer makes fezes but instead creates fabrics for car upholstery.

I was in an antikvariat the other day and found a selection of fez labels (see above) and there it is in French (so presumably it was destined for Morocco) - "Societe Anonyme des Fabriques de Bonnets Turcs. Strakonice, Republique Tchecoslovaque".

I will be taking a group of people to the Museum on the Czech Tours Hussite Tour .

No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...