craft guilds

There were three classes of persons in these guilds; the apprentices or learners, the journeymen, and the masters or employers. Apprenticeship usually lasted from three to ten years. The master was held responsible not only for the professional but also for the moral training of his apprentices. Upon the completion of his apprenticeship the young artisan became a journeyman qualified to work for other masters. To become a master, a journeyman was obliged to pass an examination before the elders of the guild. All the work was done in the house of the master, with whom the apprentices lived. The goods were made by hand with simple implements, and, as communication between towns was difficult, were usually sold at the town market or fair. Everyone in the town knew his neighbor, and an individuality stamped each man's work. This stimulated a spirit of emulation which resulted in the production of excellent work. The craft guilds cared for both spiritual and temporal interests of their members after the manner of the merchant guilds. The altered industrial and social conditions of Europe after the Reformation deprived the craft guilds of their power in England, while in France, Germany, and Italy, they were abolished by the authorities in the 18th and 19th centuries.

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