KELLERMANN: THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE RANDERS GLOVE FACTORY
Randers Handskefabrik was established in 1811 and is thus the world's oldest glove factory.
In 1811, the German-born merchant Olaus Christian Kellermann (1779-1837) obtained with the king's grace the privilege to run a "Glove factory" with associated tannery and dyeing in Randers. When Kellermann started his factory, Randrusian glove-making had been reduced to insignificance, but Kellermann revived the town's reputation for fine glove-making. He was an enterprising businessman with international experience and vision.
Kellermann brought skilled glove makers and tanners to Randers from Grenoble, France. Among them was Charles Louis Francisco Mattat, who would later take over the glove factory. Kellermann also arranged for Mattat to marry the priest's daughter to ensure that Mattat remained in Randers.
Randers Handskefabrik had a tradition of employing mainly German-speaking journeymen, but with Kellermann, the French technical terms were introduced which facilitated communication around the work. Technical terms that are still used to this day.
The young Mattat brought with him a new tanning technique, white tanning, where the hides were soaked in a mixture of salt, alum, wheat flour, egg yolks and vegetable oil, after which they were aged. The result was the softest leather for glacé gloves, which are gloves made of fine, white goatskin. Mattat advertised for lambskin, preferably from heifers. They were thin and exposed to wind and weather, and therefore particularly suitable as glove leather.
A NEW AGE OF GREATNESS
As early as 1816, more than 35,000 pairs of gloves were produced and 10,000 skins were prepared. The company grew from 20 employees to more than 200 during the following decade, and Randers Handskefabrik thereby once again established its position as the epicentre of glove-making in Northern Europe.
In 1817, Kellermann transferred the glove factory to Mattat, as Kellermann moved to Vienna, where his son later became a famous cellist as part of Johann Strauss's orchestra and later a solo cellist.
RHANDERS IN HISTORY
In the aftermath of the French Revolution, continental Europe experienced a series of wars born of the European powers' fear that the rebellious conditions in France would spread to the kingdoms and principalities of Europe, and because of Emperor Napoleon's dream of subjugating most of Europe.
Until 1807, Denmark had tried to be neutral in the Napoleonic wars but entered into an alliance with France after Copenhagen was bombed by Great Britain in 1807 because Denmark refused to choose a side.
Denmark then experienced violent inflation and in 1812 the state went bankrupt. After the peace negotiations at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Denmark had to cede all of Norway to Sweden in 1814, which meant that Denmark was now to be regarded as a "small state".