Mills and crafts
Farmers were obliged to use one particular mill when they needed to have their corn ground into flour. A trip
to the mill could easily take a whole day. One had to wait until the corn was ground and the mill became a
meeting place where people could exchange news. There was usually a farm attached to the mill and the
miller was often a wealthy man. Over the course of the 20th century, corn and feed merchants replaced the
old wind and water mills.
Craftsmen in the countryside were often smallholders who lived on crafts and a little farming. Almost all
villages had a smithy. The blacksmith shoed the farmers’ horses and made their tools. Carpenters and
joiners squared timber into half-timbering for the houses and made furniture. Wheelwrights and wainwrights
made carriages, coopers made beer barrels, butter churns and tubs. The turner made spinning wheels and
the clog maker cut the clogs that were the everyday footwear for most people in the countryside. These
woodworkers could not be found in all villages.
Many villages had a weaver. The large loom took up much of the space in the weaver’s living room. The tailor
did not get his own workshop until around 1900. Before that, he went from farm to farm and worked in the
farmer’s house. There were also shoemakers in the countryside, even though far from everyone owned shoes
Potters turned their jars and jugs, plates and bowls on the pottery wheel in their workshops. The clay had to
be baked in a brick oven, which required a lot of fuel. In regions where there was both plenty of clay and plenty
of firewood, there were many potters. In Southwestern Jutland, there were many women who made black pots.
They were built up on a board and baked in a charcoal stack. This made the pots black.
Potters and clog makers stopped producing their wares at the end of the 1800s. At the same time, the number
of craftsmen in the countryside increased and in the 1950s there were many different kinds of crafts. Since 1960
they have been vanishing rapidly.
Writer: museum keeper MA Gudrun Gormsen