The St Canute's Guild was established in the 13th century. The guild encompassed a number of associations of finer craftsman, mostly Germans by origin. The guild granted its members mutual support and spiritual welfare, it also controlled the practice of specific crafts (each organised in its own trade guild, 'zunft' or 'amt') in the town. Since 1698, after the St Olaf's Guild of 'simpler crafts' had been dissolved, it included all craftsmen in Tallinn. The guild's hall was located at Pikk Street 20.
The annual general meetings or the quarterlies took place four times a year (at New Year, Easter, Midsummer and Michaelmas). The fellow or master exams of a specific craft were conducted in front of an open chest. The alderman or the head of the guild held a sceptre and knocked on the table, calling for silence in front of the open chest.
The turned wooden handle of the sceptre has colourful silk ribbons tied onto it. The profiled edges of the sceptre were used to pull along the table-top. The sound quieted the loud room.
When the newly-made master had drunk and shared the wine, the meeting protocol was read, the chest was closed and the pipes were lit. The tobacco plate was situated in the middle of the room.
Text engraved on the bottom "Das ist der Knopfmacher Gesellen ihr Tabaksteller" attests that this is the tobacco plate of the fellows of the Button-makers’ Guild.
A short-pendulum table clock mechanism, made by the Tallinn watchmaker Gottfried Daniel Schmidt, sits inside a wooden box designed in a Neo-Classical style. The dial of the watch sees the craftsman’s name written on it: Gottfr. Daniel Schmidt/A. Reval. The watchmaker was active in Tallinn/Reval between 1779 and 1823.
This exhibit is compiled by Ene Heimvell and Karel Zova.
Photos by Martin Vuks.