The Steinbach Family of Artisans

For most of two centuries, the Steinbach family has been producing fine wood products. Originally from Austria, the family dates back to Erwin V. Steinbach, a famous architect and master builder of the "Muenster" or Dome of Strasbourg in 1284. The family included architects, builders, merchants, judges, politicians and military men.

The family settled around the Erzgebirge, a mountainous mining area that at one time was part of East Germany. This region was rich in gold, silver, tin, cobalt and uranium, as well as timber, which were needed to support the ceiling of the mines. As the metal supply dwindled, many families were forced to turn to the trade of woodworking. Woodcarvings used as souvenirs, gifts and religious purposes, were popular since the 11th century. The lathe became readily accepted by the people in this forest are and furthered the development of the art. Thus a trade of woodturning was established in the 15th and 16th century. It became so popular that a decree was published permitting woodcarving to only be performed by the native craftsmen and their families.

The Steinbach family started in business in 1832 by purchasing a timber yard and operating a wood sawmill, which ran initially by waterpower and then by steam power.

"To produce one nutcracker," explains Herr Steinbach, "can involve up to 130 separate procedures. At one time, the curling and natural drying to the wood could take up to 3-4 years depending upon the piece."

The major processes include:

Cutting~Shaping~Hand-Turning~Automatic Lathe~Polishing~Drilling~Priming~Spraying~Carving~Painting

The family now lives in Hohenhameln, just north of the beautiful Harz Mountains. Herr Steinbach and his daughter Karla make many public appearances at special events and at collectible shows. Whether you meet the Steinbachs in person at such special events, or collect these exquisite pieces for their beauty or secondary market value, you will always feel their special warm, friendly and contagious old world charm.