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Arnold Schunck inherits and finally moves to Heerlen

Arnold Schunck inherits and finally moves to Heerlen

by Pierre Schunck

Kettenis near Eupen, 1865. Sometimes this region is Germany, sometimes Belgium. Death of the weaver Nicolas Severin Schunck. His son, Severin Joseph, continues the parental workshop. Another son, Arnold, settles in Hauset and finally in Heerlen.

Father Nicolas Severin Schunck is 66 years old.
He is ill and suffers from pneumoconiosis (a weavers disease). He died in 1865 - he was a God-fearing man who loved his profession, or, as he called it himself, his "artisanat". He would have liked nothing better than if his sons had sat with him in the loom and made well-done hand-woven fabrics.
But it would be else. The oldest, Nicolas, worked in a third-party factory in Aachen on the cursed iron "Katzowwen" (mechanical looms, not hand-operated. Probably a corrupt version of the Flemish word “getouwen”, which just means looms).
Wilhelm was far away in Russia.
Arnold, my grandfather, dreamed of emigrating to New Orleans, where his friend Kops had a mechanical workshop.
Ludwig did not know what he wanted, but he also could imagine emigrating to America with Arnold.

Severin Joseph Schunck

Only Severin Joseph worked well and faithfully with his father in the loom. He wanted to continue the parental business, but both he and his brothers and sisters knew that this would only be possible if he mechanized and used steam power. To do that, Severin had saved money.
His co-heirs did not want to take away his saved money. But that made the division of the heritage very difficult. Although there were fixed assets (a house, a workshop with obsolete equipment), but no liquid funds.
Only three years later, when Wilhelm returns from the Russian part of Poland, is there a solution to the hereditary problem.

In 1868 they decided as follows:
The brother Severin Joseph becomes owner of the weaving mill, the house and the workshop in Kettenis.
Severin Joseph must pay 1000 Rhenish Thalers to each of the other heirs after five years.

To the sons, who had worked in the company of the deceased father without any compensation other than food and lodging, he would now give a handloom and after the five years a further compensation in the form of fabrics, which he had woven himself.
Father Nicolas Severin did not live in an opportune time. Due to the change from the Duchy of Limburg to the Kingdom of Prussia, he had to look for other sources for its raw materials, as well as trying to find a new sales area.
But his son Severin Joseph fell, so to speak, “with his nose into the very best butter”. From 1870 Germany was no longer divided. A big industrial blooming was the result. Weaving art had found a new, big market. This lasted until 1873.
Severin Joseph had fully benefited from it. He was able to fulfill all his obligations to his co-heirs.
My grandfather got his stuff and on top of that his two brothers who were in Russian Poland (Białystok) gave him their wooden looms. In return, he would sell for them the fabric he owed them and give them the money.

Kupfermühle Hauset

My grandfather moved with his brother Ludwig to Hauset, where they tried to earn their living in a vacant mill (called Kupfermühle, copper mill). That was already in 1866. They had no means to buy yarn and to finance orders. That’s why they had to come up with something else: they dyed and finished yarn and fabrics for the industry. You can do that without using too much liquid funds.
See for more details: 1866-1872 Kupfermühle

Carte de semaine

Week card for the 1867 World Exhibition in Paris, valid until October 14, for Mr. A. Schunck
At that time, Arnold was 25 years old

However, when the fabrics became available in 1874 or 1872 (the number is improved and unreadable in the manuscript), the economy was temporarily unfavourable for this market. The great productivity of Eupen and Aachen after 1870 harmed the textile industry of Verviers. There they sat on the unsold supplies. They were dumped on the market after 1873 at dumping prices and my poor grandfather and Ludwig sat "off the mark" with their dyed fabrics.
For the sales of the fabrics, however, a solution was found that actually gave the impetus for the founding of the shop Schunck in Heerlen.

Das Textilgeschäft Schunck
The glass palace Schunck, Heerlen (NL) is one of the Dutch top 13 of the world’s thousand most important buildings in the 20th century.