Guilds

   Trade guilds date back to India (circa 2000 B.C.) and shoemakers' artisan guilds developed during the Roman Empire. Most guilds required long apprenticeships before achieving master status and had strict rules in order to maintain quality and control production. Medieval guilds protected and developed their members' jobs by controlling their education and progression of skill levels from apprentice to craftsman to journeyman and, eventually, to master and grandmaster of their craft.
   Guilds began to spring up in major European cities and specialized in trades such as millinery, textile manufacturing, footwear, dressmaking, and tailoring. These early guilds were elitist, mostly male-dominated groups that placed many restrictions on their members based on their skills. Some guilds became extremely powerful. Of particular note was the French tailors' guild, Maitres Tailleurs d'Habits. Government policies favored guilds, which in turn often impeded technological progress and maintained a sense of government control. One example is Barthélemy Thimmonier's sewing machine, created in the early 1800s, which was destroyed by journeymen tailors who felt that the machine threatened their livelihood.
   Functions of guilds were to oversee pay scales and to set work standards. Many guilds adhered to restrictions including the number of apprentices that could be trained, the quantity of a particular item that could be made, and the prices at which items could be sold. These and other restrictions, coupled with industrialization and modernization, led to the demise of guilds. However, modern-day trade unions and trade associations are somewhat reminiscent of the guild concept.

Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry. .

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Guilds — • Voluntary associations for religious, social, and commercial purposes Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Guilds     Guilds     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • guilds — guilds·man; …   English syllables

  • GUILDS — In Antiquity There is evidence in the Bible of a certain unity among craftsmen. This appears to have played a role similar to that of the unions of artisans which assisted their members in the economic and social spheres in ancient Babylonia at… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Guilds —    In Brussels, the word guild was at first reserved solely to designate the association of those engaged in the production and sale of cloth. Only at the end of the 14th century did the term begin to signify, in its plural form of guilds, the… …   Historical Dictionary of Brussels

  • Guilds —    Associations of individuals who practice specific trades, their purpose to control standards and maintain the monopoly of their activities. Although the concept of forming associations with members who share a particular interest had existed… …   Dictionary of Renaissance art

  • Guilds — Trade or craft associations, much like trade unions, but usually confined to a town. Most towns had craft guilds. The merchant guilds sought protection from foreign traders, as well as agreement between their associates as to behaviour and prices …   Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases

  • Guilds —    Associations formed to promote special objects, the members being bound together to observe certain rules and regulations for the attainment of these objects.    Formed in early times more especially for religious and trade purposes. The… …   Dictionary of London

  • Guilds —    Associations of merchants or craftsmen who obtained from the city authorities a monopoly in the trade or production of a cer tain branch of manufacturing or crafts (e.g., linen making, brewing, or goldsmithing). This medieval system of… …   Historical Dictionary of the Netherlands

  • guilds — ➡ Freemasonry * * * …   Universalium

  • GUILDS —    associations of craftsmen or tradesmen in the Middle Ages to watch over and protect the interests of their craft or trade, and to see that it is honourably as well as economically conducted, each with a body of officials to superintend its… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

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