1 – Woodwork in Šumava and the Bavarian Forest

The old weir on the 98,9th kilometre of the Otava river had been deviating water into several water-powered mechanisms in Baunov (Braunau in German), which later became a part of Dlouhá Ves, since the 18th century. Today, a part of the damaged wooden weir is replaced by an inflatable sack. The weir is almost impassable for canoers, as the old wooden crown has nails sticking out of it which can cause damage to passing boats.
The earliest depiction of the flume comes from the first military mapping project (1764–1768). Here it powers a water wheel of the local hammer mill (no. 44). In 1788, the mill was owned by Andreas Hatzinger. A point of interest is a hill southeast of the hammer mill, named Einsiedlerey, depicted with a chapel and a house, which could potentially be a former hermitage. The cadastral map (1824–1843) depicts the flume powering the hammer mill as well as two other mills (house numbers 45 and 46). In those days, the village also boasted a sawmill and five lordly houses.
In 1882, the old hammer mill is purchased by Johannes Schell, originally from the German Hanau am Main, and is rebuilt into a workshop to produce long thin wooden pieces called wooden wire. In 1885, together with his nephew Theodor Schell, Johannes begins to build a match factory, eventually selling his products under the name Schell & Neffe, Langendorf (Dlouhá Ves). They sometimes take advantage of the popularity of their competitor matches from Sušice by calling them Schüttenhofen (Sušice). At first, the factory employed only 25 workers servicing four basic machines. The first matches were round with a sulphur head, coming in round packages usually decorated with either fairy-tale or carnival motifs. They were also exported into exotic countries, which might be why other common motifs included foreign birds or insects. Unfortunately, the match factory burned down almost completely in 1888 and had to be rebuilt. To make matters worse, Johannes Schell suffered a fatal injury only two years later, leaving his nephew to take over the company by himself. Theodor expands the production to include blinds, sausage skewers and toothpicks. Home manufacturing also included thin folded strips of paper used for lighting pipes. Theodor’s brother Louis began producing colourful matches. The wood used for the matches was floated in via the old canal. Local match manufacturing came to an end in 1897. After 1900 the place was used to make tinfoil tops for wine and sparkling wine bottles. Theodor dies in 1919, aged 58 years. His successor, a son also named Theodor, dies only a year later due to injuries sustained during a hunt, and the company is taken over by another son, electrical engineer Karl Schell (born December 19, 1892 in Old Dlouhá Ves, died there June 2, 1945). Karl modernises the factory and restarts its match production in 1922. Given the growing use of electricity, he also begins to modernise the power plant. Around 70 workers spend several years building a new flume and changing the turbine. After the modernisation was completed, the plant also supplied power to the village.
In 1934, Karl Schell marries the daughter of a former glassworks owner from Annín, Betty Novotná, and ends up buying the glassworks. As he has plenty of electrical power, he decided to use it to melt raw glass. Despite that, he adds another turbine to the power plant and invites glassmakers from northern Bohemia to assist him with the furnace. The glass melted here is then transported to Annín for final adjustments. At the time it was only the second electric furnace in Czechoslovakia. Schell received several awards for it, including a diploma from the Chamber of Commerce in Prague and a golden medal from the Brussels exhibition of 1936.
By the second half of the 1930s, his property is said to include a modern match factory with its own workshop, a new electric glass-melting furnace, a sawmill and a power plant with an output of 486,5 horsepower (=362,8 kilowatts); plus an agricultural enterprise with 10 to 12 farm animals and about 30 hectares of argricultural land.
In 1938 the Schell & Neffe company had 220 employees, for whom Karl even provided cultural and caring programmes. He managed all this within 20 years, at a time when the end of logging caused a sharp rise in unemployment.
Life in Dlouhá Ves was fairly vibrant at that time. Apart from the mayor’s office, a church and a graveyard, there was an eight-year elementary school, a post office, a forestry office, a police station and even a Raiffeisenbank. New builds included homes, grocery shops, bakeries, butchers’, garden centres, and other businesses. Between the wars, the village had 4 butchers, 3 bakers, 7 pubs and one garden centre. There were also a number of shoemakers and tailors, 4 carpenters and one tinsmith. Jaroslav Hrabě’s old mill (no. 46) is still running, while the local brickyard and the Schwarzenberg brewery have both closed. The brewery was leased by Sibyl Pauli and had an output of 36 hectolitres. Karl Schell supported the social and cultural life in the village both materially and financially. He founded a firefighting department which, with the most modern equipment and a strong hose, was considered to be the best in the region. The department’s brass band, whose instruments were largely supplied by the Schell company, was known far and wide. The first silent film in Schell’s hall was showed as early as 1929 and was followed by a sound one two years later. The theatre company, beloved by Schell, was provided free set design, costumes, and practice spaces. Their practices were very popular with the company’s workers who were able to relax while listening to them without losing the company any profit. There was also a fitness club called Jahn, a folk song and dance group, and a tourist club. A large portion of the population took part in religious events, pilgrimages to the Chapel of Saint Guardian Angels in Sušice were particularly popular, as were the journeys to Svatá hora by Příbram, Srní, or Kašperské Hory to Our Lady of the Snows.
When asked to give over his company to the state on June 2, 1945, he committed suicide by poison. A part of his family was moved to Germany. His sister Martha married a forest manager for the Schwarzenbergs, Emil Augustus van den Abeele, and they both stayed in Český Krumlov where they are buried. The factory was nationalised and in 1950 subsumed under the national company SOLO Sušice. After that it focused on window frame or toilet seat production, as well as stepladders later on.

A bit further against the current, a large-capacity lumber storage and raft tying station of almost 9 hectares was built after the land was purchased by the Schwarzenbergs in 1800. Here, two-meter logs which were floated in via the water were pulled out and stacked into long rows and high stacks. However, the wood had to be debarked before that. The peeled off bark was usually taken by the workers’ wives who carried it home to use as fire fuel. Then the wood was left to dry out and subsequently put onto rafts made in the local tying station. The water flow by the tying station could be regulated using a drainage canal. The logs were floated to the storage station via two flumes, which began under the weir bridge. Wood of lesser quality was sold here. During the winter months, when farmers did not tend to their fields, the majority of the logs were transported to Sušice on a horse-drawn sleigh and put onto wagons. Three sleighs were even provided by the Schwarzenberg estate. The wood was usually transported to Spira’s paper mill by Český Krumlov, though not exclusively.

Only a fraction of the yearly output was cut too short and simply tossed into water to be used as fuel. A much larger portion was delivered to local sawmills (Čeňkova Pila, Myší domky, Annín) or transported on horse-drawn sleigh to the Paulina louka (Paula’s meadow) raft tying station between Rejštejn and Čeňkova Pila. Here, the long logs were tied into rafts as large as 120 m2. To this end, they used a strong rafting rope made out of flexible branches or thin spruce poles (regular rope was still either fairly unknown or too expensive). In order to easily float through small mountain rivers, it was necessary to wait for foods caused by snow melts or heavy rainfall. Good steering of the raft, particularly on thin meandering mountain rivers, required plenty of experience, skills, and physical strength. A long procession of rafts could easily get stuck in a shallow spot or on a high rock, causing the logs to crash into each other, driven by a strong current. It took almost superhuman effort for the four-men crew to free themselves from the sticky situation. The men often had to face the strong freezing current head on and work with their poles. Once the obstruction was overcome, there was no time to change into dry clothes, as the steering was difficult and required all men to participate. There tended to be a temporary layover at the weir bridge nearby New Dlouhá Ves, where a lot of rafts would wait for better conditions and higher water levels. The final station for the Šumavian crew was a mooring about 45 kilometers down the river, by Strakonice, where Czech rafters took over and continued guiding the raft down the Otava river to the confluence with Vltava, potentially even to Prague, depending on the orders. A significant customer was the Möller company from Prague. It’s head of operations was Franz Hofmann from Paulina louka. He was tasked with organising work at the tying station, as well as with the delivery of wood to customers.