M: Now... is that all, Miss Broghammer?
F: Let me check, Mr Meyer ... Yes, I believe that’s it.
M: The invitations to the trade fair in Hanover...
F: ... have been mailed out.
M: Train tickets?
F: Have been booked. As have the hotel rooms.
M: The trade fair gifts?
F: Yes, the pretty little china brooches made for us by Wedgewood have arrived from England in time. They’ve already been packed up.
M: Well then, we’re ready to go...
F: Julie Broghammer and Peter Meyer, CEO of the Schramberg stoneware factory, discussing the final preparations for the 1957 trade fair in Hanover.
M: As far as our audio guide is concerned, their discussion is entirely professional. But if you take a little more time to look at the photograph, you’ll notice that "Fräulein Broghammer" and "Herr Meyer" do seem very much at ease with one another. No wonder, since the pair were well on their way to the altar. In 1957 …
…they stayed in two separate hotel rooms, but by the following year, they were sharing a double.
F: But let’s get back to the trade fairs. Alongside Frankfurt and Leipzig, the Hanover Fair was one of the most important events of the year, and attendance was mandatory. Anyone who was anybody exhibited there. And that included the Schramberg stoneware factory.
M: The trade fairs were especially important for marketing. You could attract new customers and sign initial contracts. At the same time, you could gather impressions and ideas, follow new trends and, of course, find out what the competition was up to.
F: For the staff, trade fairs were the highlights of the year. They travelled to the big city, stayed in hotels or guest houses, had dinner in restaurants and generally had a good time.
M: But it was also stressful, of course. When the Frankfurt trade fair was under way, some members of staff commuted to Schramberg every day to replenish the materials.
F: In the 19th century, on the other hand, the major trade fairs hadn’t yet come into their own. Back then, anyone who wanted to showcase their business attended industrial exhibitions. They were less about selling goods and more about competing with other exhibitors. Businesses drew comparisons in categories such as quality, innovation and creativity. And ultimately, they might win the odd award.
M: In the 19th century, peddlers operated as an important distribution channel. They went from house to house with an assortment of goods. In the 20th century, peddlers were replaced by travelling salesmen, sometimes called commercial travellers. They had cars and would turn up at retail premises with several suitcases to promote their wares. Early catalogues showed drawings of the merchandise with price lists, later ones included photographs. From the very early days, Schramberg products were advertised in print media such as magazines and newspapers.
Foto: © Stadtmuseum Schramberg