Master craftsman

Master craftsman

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A master craftsman or master tradesman (sometimes called only master or grandmaster) was a member of a guild
Guild
A guild is an association of craftsmen in a particular trade. The earliest types of guild were formed as confraternities of workers. They were organized in a manner something between a trade union, a cartel, and a secret society...

. In the European guild system, only masters were allowed to be members of the guild.

An aspiring master would have to pass through the career chain from apprentice to journeyman
Journeyman
A journeyman is someone who completed an apprenticeship and was fully educated in a trade or craft, but not yet a master. To become a master, a journeyman had to submit a master work piece to a guild for evaluation and be admitted to the guild as a master....

before he could be elected to become a master craftsman. He would then have to produce a sum of money and a masterpiece
Masterpiece
Masterpiece in modern usage refers to a creation that has been given much critical praise, especially one that is considered the greatest work of a person's career or to a work of outstanding creativity, skill or workmanship....

 before he could actually join the guild. If the masterpiece was not accepted by the masters, he was not allowed to join the guild, possibly remaining a journeyman for the rest of his life.

Originally, holders of the academic degree of "Master of Arts
Master of Arts (postgraduate)
A Master of Arts from the Latin Magister Artium, is a type of Master's degree awarded by universities in many countries. The M.A. is usually contrasted with the M.S. or M.Sc. degrees...

" were also considered, in the Medieval universities, as master craftsmen in their own academic field.

United Kingdom


The Guild of Master Craftsmen continues a tradition established by the guilds of medieval Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

. The earliest of these were "frith" or "peace" guilds - groups bonded together for mutual protection following the breakdown of the kins, which were groups related by blood ties.

Merchant guilds - associations of international trades - were powerful in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, but lost their ascendancy with the rise of the craft guilds - associations of master craftsmen, journeymen, apprentices and the various trades connected with a particular craft.

Guild of Master Craftsmen coat of arms


The world-renowned College of Arms
College of Arms
The College of Arms, or Heralds’ College, is an office regulating heraldry and granting new armorial bearings for England, Wales and Northern Ireland...

 in London awarded the coat of arms of The Guild of Master Craftsmen in 1992, after four years of assessment. Designed by heraldic expert Peter Greenhill to reflect the many categories of Guild membership, it features: three escutcheons (shields) to represent artists, painters and stainers; a pair of compasses opened in chevron for building
Building
In architecture, construction, engineering, real estate development and technology the word building may refer to one of the following:...

, construction
Construction
In the fields of architecture and civil engineering, construction is a process that consists of the building or assembling of infrastructure. Far from being a single activity, large scale construction is a feat of human multitasking...

 and carpenters; a dovetail
Dovetail
Dovetail may refer to:* The dovetail joint used in woodworking* The dovetail or "riffle" method of shuffling playing cards* German equatorial mount, or dovetail plate, used to fix a telescope to its mount...

 (separating the top third of the shield from the rest) to represent cabinetmaking, woodworking
Woodworking
Woodworking is the process of building, making or carving something using wood.-History:Along with stone, mud, and animal parts, wood was one of the first materials worked by early humans. Microwear analysis of the Mousterian stone tools used by the Neanderthals show that many were used to work wood...

 and joinery
Joiner
A joiner differs from a carpenter in that joiners cut and fit joints in wood that do not use nails. Joiners usually work in a workshop since the formation of various joints generally requires non-portable machinery. A carpenter normally works on site...

; and a gavel
Gavel
A gavel is a small ceremonial mallet commonly made of hardwood, typically fashioned with a handle and often struck against a sound block to enhance its sounding qualities. It is a symbol of the authority and right to act officially in the capacity of a chair or presiding officer. It is used to call...

 and chisel
Chisel
A chisel is a tool with a characteristically shaped cutting edge of blade on its end, for carving or cutting a hard material such as wood, stone, or metal. The handle and blade of some types of chisel are made of metal or wood with a sharp edge in it.In use, the chisel is forced into the material...

 for masons
Masonry
Masonry is the building of structures from individual units laid in and bound together by mortar; the term masonry can also refer to the units themselves. The common materials of masonry construction are brick, stone, marble, granite, travertine, limestone; concrete block, glass block, stucco, and...

 and stoneworkers. The southern keep of Lewes
Lewes
Lewes is the county town of East Sussex, England and historically of all of Sussex. It is a civil parish and is the centre of the Lewes local government district. The settlement has a history as a bridging point and as a market town, and today as a communications hub and tourist-oriented town...

 Castle, which overlooks the Guild’s headquarters, is featured above the helmet as the crest.

United States


While guilds as such do not exist, many trades continue the apprentice-journeyman-master model. Electrician
Electrician
An electrician is a tradesman specializing in electrical wiring of buildings, stationary machines and related equipment. Electricians may be employed in the installation of new electrical components or the maintenance and repair of existing electrical infrastructure. Electricians may also...

s, pipefitter
Pipefitter
A pipefitter is a tradesman who lays out, assembles, fabricates, maintains and repairs mechanical piping systems. Pipefitters usually go through a mix of apprentice and trade school training. Journeyman pipefitters/steamfitters deal with industrial process piping and heating/cooling systems...

s and plumber
Plumber
A plumber is a tradesperson who specializes in installing and maintaining systems used for potable water, sewage, and drainage in plumbing systems. The term dates from ancient times, and is related to the Latin word for lead, "plumbum." A person engaged in fixing metaphorical "leaks" may also be...

s are notable examples. Even in academia
Academia
Academia is the community of students and scholars engaged in higher education and research.-Etymology:The word comes from the akademeia in ancient Greece. Outside the city walls of Athens, the gymnasium was made famous by Plato as a center of learning...

, the tradition survives, with elementary, middle and high school completing general education; with post secondary degress awarded in the Associates, Bachelor and Master levels; and PhD students as apprentices, post-docs and associate professors as journeymen and full professor
Professor
A professor is a scholarly teacher; the precise meaning of the term varies by country. Literally, professor derives from Latin as a "person who professes" being usually an expert in arts or sciences; a teacher of high rank...

s as masters. http://www.manchester.edu/kant/Universities/UnivIntro.htm http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=9898&page=30 http://ctl.unc.edu/hir2.html

The paper which needs to be presented in order to get an academic degree, proving the student's proficiency in the chosen subject and whose quality is examined by existing lecturers, is in effect a form of the medieval masterpiece
Masterpiece
Masterpiece in modern usage refers to a creation that has been given much critical praise, especially one that is considered the greatest work of a person's career or to a work of outstanding creativity, skill or workmanship....

 which needed to be prepared by anyone seeking to be accepted as a master in any professional guild.

The terms Master Mariner
Master mariner
A Master Mariner or MM is the professional qualification required for someone to serve as the person in charge or person in command of a commercial vessel. In England, the term Master Mariner has been in use at least since the 13th century, reflecting the fact that in guild or livery company terms,...

 and harbormaster reflect the fact that the holders of such positions were originally Master craftsman in the Seamen's Guild. Further derived from "harbormaster" is "stationmaster", though guilds no longer existed when railways came into being.

Germany


While guilds have also been abolished in Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, the ranks of apprentice, journeyman (German: Geselle, literally a person in shared accommodation [German: Saal => hall]) and master craftsman have been retained until today. For many crafts any business in the trade still has to be run by a master craftsman or has to employ at least one Meister to be allowed to run a business of that craft.

Journeymen and masters are by law automatically members of their regional Chamber of the skilled crafts which is a self governing public body. The Chamber is the organiser of the technical vocational educational training and oversees the examination of the journeymen and masters. The justification for this is the (perceived or actual) higher quality which is achieved by businesses run by master craftspeople. Some people claim that this restriction limits free enterprise initiative and thus fosters the current high unemployment rate in Germany. Lately, several crafts have had the requirement for businesses to have a master of the craft removed; however, any craft that is perceived as being security relevant, for instance electrician
Electrician
An electrician is a tradesman specializing in electrical wiring of buildings, stationary machines and related equipment. Electricians may be employed in the installation of new electrical components or the maintenance and repair of existing electrical infrastructure. Electricians may also...

s and chimney sweep
Chimney sweep
A chimney sweep is a worker who clears ash and soot from chimneys. The chimney uses the pressure difference caused by a hot column of gas to create a draught and draw air over the hot coals or wood enabling continued combustion. Chimneys may be straight or contain many changes of direction. During...

s, still has this condition and it is unlikely to be waived in the near future.

The German Meister qualification for a master craftsman is neither a degree nor is it comparable to the academic Master's degree. It, however, qualifies the holder to study at a University
University
A university is an institution of higher education and research, which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects. A university is an organisation that provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education...

 or Fachhochschule
Fachhochschule
A Fachhochschule or University of Applied Sciences is a German type of tertiary education institution, sometimes specialized in certain topical areas . Fachhochschulen were founded in Germany and later adopted by Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Greece...

, whether the Meister holds the regular entry qualification (Abitur
Abitur
Abitur is a designation used in Germany, Finland and Estonia for final exams that pupils take at the end of their secondary education, usually after 12 or 13 years of schooling, see also for Germany Abitur after twelve years.The Zeugnis der Allgemeinen Hochschulreife, often referred to as...

 or Fachhochschulreife) or not.

The Master craftsman is the highest professional qualification in crafts and is a state-approved grade. The education includes theoretical and practical training in the craft and also business and legal training, and includes the qualification to be allowed to train apprentices as well. The status of Master craftsman is regulated in the German Gesetz zur Ordnung des Handwerks, HandwO (Crafts and Trades Regulation Code
Trade and crafts code of Germany
- Articles 3 paragraph 1,, 14 and 43-55 of the EC Treaty - :...

).

The requirements to become a master craftsman are usually an education in the crafts in which the examination should be taken (a successfully completed apprenticeship and examination, called Gesellenprüfung) and experience of at least 3 to 5 years as a journeyman (Geselle). Only then can training courses for the Meisterprüfung ("Master's examination") be followed. The duration of the courses depends on the craft and can take 4 to 6 years. The examination includes theoretical, practical and oral parts and takes 5 to 7 days (depending on the craft). In some crafts the creation of a masterpiece is also part of the examination.

Master craftspeople who do not run their own business usually have a leading position in a larger commercial enterprises. This is due to the trend that many German-based companies prefer to hire master craftspeople (or Fachhochschule
Fachhochschule
A Fachhochschule or University of Applied Sciences is a German type of tertiary education institution, sometimes specialized in certain topical areas . Fachhochschulen were founded in Germany and later adopted by Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Greece...

 graduates) rather than university
University
A university is an institution of higher education and research, which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects. A university is an organisation that provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education...

graduate as technical managers (mostly mid-level management) as the education is more practical, and because these craftspeople also acquire some theoretical skills and business knowledge during their training. German master craftspeople are in demand across the European Union as a result of the high quality of vocational education in Germany.

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