I received the following report from Elke Langner . It was written by her grandfather, JOHANN Heinrich Friedrich Scharnberg, but from the point of view of one of his sons, Reinhardt or Walter. It conveys a vivid picture of the craft of wheel maker and the ways in which the family sought and found a dying career.

Of the 7 generations of the Scharnberg family, mentioned in call the Trittauer church books, no less than 4 have practiced the wheel maker craft. This corresponds to a period of about 150 years. The first period, in which 2 ancestors worked as wheel maker, extended to a few decades before 1700 and some later. Henrich Scharpenbarg and his son Hans Henrich Scharenberg, b. In 1693, wheel maker were in Trittau. Her craft was then in high esteem. There was heavy traffic on the highways. Huge freight cars carried the loads from one place to another. Construction and repair of these cars brought a lot of work. And just the area of ??Trittau was crossed by three main roads: one went from Oldesloe to Lauenburg, the other from Lübeck to Wandsbek and the third from Mölln to Hamburg. Today still popularly called an old barn on the Trittauer heath "Creole barn". The word comes from Karriol; for the barn, which belonged to the inn, which was at the same time a postman and a customs office, served to house the carriages and horses during rest and overnight stays. Then often the wheel maker was brought to repair a broken drawbar or rim or otherwise repair a damage. In addition to the heavy freight wagons, post offices and farm wagons were frequently seen on the highways, and thus this rich traffic also brought the craftsmanship rich labor and merit.

The son and grandson of Hans Henrich Scharenberg turned to other professions, but his great-grandchild, my great-grandfather Johann Hinrich Marx Scharnberg, built next to the house that he built in 1844 in Trittau, still another wheelwright workshop and brought the old profession to new prestige. He had 5 sons and all five became wheel maker. They worked at times with the father together or they worked in large car factories Hamburg and Altonas, z. For example, in Burnstein's factory, which employed 1400 workers, and in Salmon's sons at Gänsemarkt. One of them, my grandfather, Johann Jochim Hinrich Scharnberg, traveled through Germany and worked in Hanover, Groß Oschersleben, Poznan and Landsberg a. d. Warthe.

But over the next few decades, the job opportunities in the wheel industry dropped. From 1842 onward, more and more railways were put into operation in Germany, which also transported freight and goods. As a result, the freight cars gradually disappeared from the streets and the wagoner's earnings diminished. In hot summers, when the peasants drove their wagons into the village pond to protect the wheels from falling apart, work was still abundant; but in the winter times were often already dull times. Wood was sawn up, or my great-grandfather made mass-produced items that were a bit off the original craft. Such utensils were scythe trees, spade stems, fireflies and flails. Scythe trees and spade stalks traveled dozens of times to the shops of neighboring towns, mostly to Bergedorf; the fire chicks were sold at the fairs. These were small square boxes, provided with holes at the top and lined with sheet metal on the inside. Incandescent coals were put in, and old people warmed their feet to it.

The decline in trade was not just because fewer orders were received, but also because the work was poorly paid. So it happened that in those years some emigrated to America to find better living conditions there. Of the five sons of my great-grandfather, four went to Brazil, and another family was followed by six, who wanted to work more successfully in the wood industry. They all had to work hard; because the hard tropical woods made a lot of effort. Some of the emigrants came to prosperity and wealth, others died in poverty in a foreign country. After two of his brothers left in 1867, my grandfather followed them in 1869. He first found work with the Röhl brothers, in the country's first car factory in Rio de Janeiro, then worked in Pelotas and joined his two brothers, with whom he worked for years in the small town of Alegrete, 100 German miles inland in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. The three Scharnberg brothers made there with 5 - 6 colored people all the work that came into question for their profession, both the heavy ox-carrettes with the big wheels for the pampas, as well as the carpentry and carpentry work for the construction of new houses.

My grandfather returned home in 1878 after a nine-year absence, just in time to take out his old father's ax and saw before he died. In 1882 he built a new larger workshop in Trittau, which became a place of industrious work. The heavy hammer blows echoed widely through the village, driving the oak spokes into the previously-built oak hubs, or heard the buzzing sound of the lathe turning the hubs of oak or elm to their curves. The bucket drills screeched as well, driving the holes in bays and rims.

From the nearby forest, the Hahnheide, the trunks of oak, beech, ash, birch, fir and marmos migrated to the workshop for processing. They were cut open with the broad saw. Or maybe the sawers came from the neighboring village. They built a two-meter-high scaffold on which the tree trunk was lifted. Then two people sawed him, one downstairs, one upstairs, laboriously working to planks and boards.

The working sounds from the workshop often attracted curious people who were particularly fond of making a wheel. First, the hub was turned. She was on lighter wheels made of elms - in heavy oak. Then the holes for the spokes were drilled in and pinched. The oak hubs had to be cooked to soften the wood. The still hot hub came into the wheel and the previously made spokes were knocked into it. It had a help man with 2 lever rods hold each spoke, so that came to stand at the right angle. When all the spokes had been hammered in, the rims could be opened. These were previously sawn from beech or oak wood and provided with holes. After they had been adjusted and beaten, they had to be specially cleaned. With that, the wheel could come to the blacksmith, who put an iron tire around and tied the hub rings.

The wheel maker workshop provided the farmer with everything he needed: farm and milk trucks, plows and harrows. But elegant luxury cars with yellow acacia and hickory spokes and curved hickory rims were also made. Sometimes a Rickwagen had to be worked for the forest areas. He had two oversized wheels with heavy ash spokes. Between these wheels hung a large wrought iron pliers. With that the trunks were embraced, and the wagon dragged them out of the forest to the nearest road. Also wheelbarrows came in large numbers from the wheelwright workshop; for those were needed in almost every house in those years. In winter sledges were also made.

But the wheel-hobby industry lost more and more importance, and the employment opportunities became ever smaller. There were machines that made the manufacture of many items quicker and cheaper, and orders for luxury cars did not go away the more the car came. Yes, many of the work cars have even been replaced by trucks. The wheels also often had a transformation: hubs and spokes were made of iron, the rims of rubber. So today the old wheel maker craft lost much of its former necessity and importance.

Really aware of this new situation, which he partly experienced, partly anticipated, my grandfather did not want his only son to become a wheelwright, and so my father devoted himself to the teaching profession.

Of those who emigrated to Brazil and their descendants, no one practiced there anymore the old craft. Some of their sons already saddled and some of their sons are now among the most respected merchants in Porto Alegre. Only one, the youngest brother of my grandfather, who emigrated in 1877 and worked as a wheeler, farmer and teacher over there, sometimes reaches for his saw and planer at the age of 82 , Driven by homesickness and longing for the old profession, he tries to work in which he once practiced the power of his youth.

The workshop in Trittau is still standing today. The heavy bucket drills are still hanging on the walls and the wheel and bench are in place. But no scion is more present in the Scharnberg family, who brings it back to life and helps the old venerable craft to a new glory.

Tempora mutantur mitunter!

Trittau, January 3, 1943